Gracelink, the children’s Sabbath School curriculum developed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its children’s ministries worldwide, is being replaced. In April, the General Conference Administrative Committee voted to make substantive changes, and Adventist Review almost immediately posted a story about the vote, complete with a photo of a new logo. The new curricula will be called “My Bible Guides.”
The Adventist Review article stated that the curriculum change was intended “to place a greater emphasis on distinct Adventist teachings” without losing the importance of grace for salvation.
A notice on the Gracelink web page now suggests that actual curriculum changes may take a while. “Due to recent changes in our editorial office, and other factors that determine the curriculum the changes that were scheduled to appear in these guides in 2016 have been delayed, “ the notice reads. “We will inform you of the release date at least two quarters ahead of time. We apologize for any inconvenience. Visit gracelink.net for all updates.”
Recently, a survey was added to the web page. The nine-question survey begins by asking whether or not churches are using the materials produced by the General Conference for children and youth, how their children’s classes are structured, and the number of students in each of the classes before the last three questions which focus on the content of materials produced by the GC:
*“What do students like most about the Sabbath School lesson or any component of the Sabbath School study hour?
*How do you find the various components of the Sabbath School materials beneficial to your students?
*How could the various components of the Sabbath School materials be improved?”
This is the first public request for input to inform preparation of the new Sabbath School materials. Divisions have complained to the General Conference about the lack of consultation with the world field regarding the proposed changes, in sharp contrast to the extensive consultation that was done in the preparation of Gracelink, when it was created twenty years ago. One division wrote to the SS Department requesting information on the research basis or reasons for the change from Gracelink, a curriculum that was developed by educational experts based upon research on how children learn.
Once news of the survey was posted on Facebook, responses to it grew dramatically and the survey will stay on the web site for a while longer. However, with no questions about the demographics of the respondents such as the country in which the person lives, the age of who is responding, this single survey gives a very limited picture of Sabbath School.
For a longer history of Gracelink, see the current issue of Spectrum. If you are not a current Spectrum recipient, you can receive the journal quarterly by becoming a member of Adventist Forum. You can also request a free trial issue of the journal.
*Editor's Note: The story has been edited to remove a comment by Linda Koh. We apologize for not getting her permission to use a statement that was written to a group of children's ministries directors.
Bonnie Dwyer is Editor of Spectrum Magazine.
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