Promotion Sunday marks the day when many Christian churches promote children from one Sunday school class to the next, just as schools promote students from one grade to the next. Churches celebrate this milestone in different ways. Involve the whole church in this day and allow the congregation an opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the children's accomplishment.
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Begin the day's festivities with a church-wide breakfast prior to Sunday school or, depending on your church's worship schedule, between Sunday school and the worship service. Tailor the meal and the time to suit your congregation's needs. Serve a simple, light breakfast of fruit and biscuits with juice and milk and give the church a chance to enjoy fellowship. Hang a banner in the fellowship hall created by the children. Play a slide show during the meal featuring the children of the church taking part in church activities. Promote the event a few weeks in advance through announcements in the bulletin and newsletter.
Incorporate tradition from the children's secular school environment and conduct a graduation ceremony, either on a small scale in the classroom or on a large scale during the worship service. Create a graduation certificate for each child with a place for his name, the teacher's name, the year, the class he is moving from and the class he is moving to. Teachers can include a personal note detailing the child's growth in the class as well as encouragement for her as she moves into the next class. Prepare a small treat bag to present to each child with the certificate. If you plan a ceremony during the church service, ask the pastor or youth minister to give a short message pertaining to Promotion Sunday and help the ministry team select music appropriate for the occasion.
Leadership Commissioning Service
Don't forget the leaders and teachers of your church when planning the event. Set aside time during the service to recognise new and returning teachers. Ask a few teachers to share a short testimony about their experiences as a Sunday schoolteacher. Plan for the pastor or youth minister to lead the teachers in a brief ceremony of dedication and commitment to their task in the year ahead. End this portion of the service with a prayer for both the teachers and children of the church.
Some churches celebrate Promotion Sunday at the end of the secular school year in the spring, while others choose to observe the event at the beginning of the secular school year in the fall. After your church leadership chooses the time that works best for the congregation, turn your attention toward promoting the event. Create flyers to hang throughout the church that include information on the Promotion Sunday date and all the surrounding events. Mail a letter to church members and regular visitors detailing the event and the reason for it, especially if this marks the first Promotion Sunday your church will observe.
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