Nearly 50 children’s ministry leaders from across the Mid-America Union territory gathered on April 13, 2024, at MAUC headquarters for a free “train the trainers” event focusing on the new Sabbath school curriculum titled Alive in Jesus being rolled out worldwide in January 2025. Coordinated by Tyrone Douglas, Mid-America Union church ministries director and his team, the event was offered in person by NAD contracted trainers in both Spanish and English.

To ensure our children’s ministry leaders are prepared for a seamless transition that replaces the aging GraceLink curriculum, the North American Division and Mid-America Union are currently providing training for the Baby Steps (birth-12 months) and Beginners (1-3 years) curricula. The Kindergarten and Primary trainings are planned for later in 2025, with Junior, Teen and Youth launching in 2026. 


Bible based curriculum

According to the Alive in Jesus web page, this curriculum seeks to equip and empower parents, caregivers, Sabbath school teachers, Sabbath school leaders, and others to model and foster a thriving relationship with Jesus and the children and youth in their spheres of influence. This curriculum also seeks to facilitate a growing love for Jesus and His mission through supporting families and individuals in their daily study of God’s Word. “The mission of the Alive in Jesus Sabbath School curriculum is to make disciples who make disciples. With the Bible as its foundation, the Alive in Jesus curriculum introduces children and youth to Jesus by bringing the wonderful stories and lessons of the Bible into our twenty-first century lives, including a clear Seventh-day Adventist worldview and the 28 fundamental beliefs.”

Utilizing multiple intelligences and accommodating special needs of children of all abilities, the Alive in Jesus curriculum focuses on the goals (pillars) with hands-on experiences in every lesson: grace, character development and mission.

Hands-on, engaging training

Children’s ministry leaders from around the nine-state territory of Mid-America Union stepped up to help train the trainers for each conference. The day began with group singing, led by children’s ministry director for the Minnesota Conference Darnisha Thomas.

Joseph’s Other Coat was the title of the opening devotional thought presented by Douglas, with Roberto Correa, MAUC multi-language director, translating. “Joseph’s other coat was the divine favor of his heavenly Father,” said Douglas. “No one can take the invisible coat of divine favor that is upon our children. We’re here today for the specific purpose of learning techniques and strategies so…when the tough times come children will choose to follow the God they learned about in their childhood. May we leave here inspired with the solemn responsibility of teaching our children.” 

Rocio Rojas, Alive in Jesus coordinator for the three contract training teams that offer workshops in Spanish, English and French introduced the programs and outlined the day’s schedule. Commenting on the quality of the curriculum, one of the children’s ministries training presenters, Phyllis Dyer, said, “I love it. It’s colorful,exciting, diverse and very engaging for children and their parents. It emphasizes the importance of parent/child relationships.” 

Pastor Samuel Nyarige from the Mount of Blessing Church in Minnesota has been a teacher for many years, but he is looking for new ideas and skills. Many pastors are disconnected with children’s ministries, says Nyarige, but he wants “to connect all the way up” with every age group.

This curriculum has been in development by a global team for the past five years. A number of churches, including some in Mid-America territory, have been involved with the pilot program. Mid-America is the sixth union in the NAD  to receive the training.

To view an introductory video and curriculum samples and download a more extensive brochure, including scope and sequence, features and foci, and teaching framework, visit:

Photo credit: Venus Douglas