Marketing for Adventist School Leaders


"Marketing" is not just advertising. "Marketing" is choosing who we want to be and then becoming that so authentically that engaged consumers will be our most effective advocates.


Your Church. Your School. Your Future. 
Grow My School is a newsletter for leaders of Seventh-day Adventist schools

Your school exists to help your supporting congregations experience success.

It's easy to get so involved
in daily operations of the school that you forget your dependence on the congregation members who are the school's most important support. "Sometimes," one principal told me, "we run the school as if we're an island, saving children all by ourselves. That's when everything begins to fall apart!"

Most church members realize that the future of their congregation requires a vibrant school where their children can experience, understand, accept, live, and share the essential beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Their dream is your opportunity.
You have six major assets that will help this happen:

    1.    Teachers who model the dream.
    2.    A curriculum designed to fulfill the dream.
    3.    The congregation’s support.
    4.    The pastor’s leadership.
    5.    A board and parents who are engaged for success.
    6.    Your awareness and ability to build essential relationships.

If any of the six are broken the devil will sneak in through the cracks.
Your awareness …  and action … is the “Super Glue” that cares for the breaks before the devil can get in. Here’s how you can do a Purpose Review today:

  • Review all 6 assets with your pastor or pastors. Ask:
    Q1 What do you want the school to do so that the church will be more successful?
    Q2 How can we do that better?

  • Hold a Sabbath Retreat with your pastor and all of your school staff. Clarify expectations and discuss “what we need to do” to match the dream. Be honest and open. Make firm commitments.

  • Share your commitments with the congregation as part of a Sabbath worship service. The service should include:

1  Pastor, staff, parents, and board member descriptions of the dream and commitments.
2 Student music, readings, skits, and testimonies.
3 A community-wide dedication to meet the dream together.

If you did a Purpose Review like this during your Summer Planning Retreat, it’s time to review and renew. If you haven’t done it, this is the perfect time, and the success of your year depends on your leadership!

Remember, “Marketing is about relationships. It is choosing who we want to be and then becoming that so authentically that engaged customers will be our most effective advocates.”

Till next week!

Dick Duerksen, Editor Grow My School

To ask questions or comment on anything in the GROW MY SCHOOL NEWSLETTER, or for more information on Marketing Adventist Schools, please send an e-mail to Dick Duerksen at

GROW MY SCHOOL is a service of the NAD Office of Education.



Issue Oct 25, 2009

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About the Author

Dick Duerksen is Assistant to the President of Maranatha Volunteeers International where he serves as Storyteller. He is also Creative Consultant to the NAD Office of Education. Dick has worked within the Seventh-day Adventist church as a pastor, administrator, editor, planner and consultant for creative ministry.


1 World Series Time

Watch the World Series with students and parents. Many won’t care anything about Major League Baseball, but some will, and would love to share the games with you. If you go to a student’s home – take chips. If you invite them to your place – provide pizza. This is not a “talk with the parents time.” Just baseball, snacks, and shouting. Together. The conversations will come later.


2 Refrigerator Prayers

Watch Gale Crosby, principal at Portland Adventist Academy, describe their Prayer Cards, a simple device for increasing support from your local congregations. Gale’s is an effective approach to “praying for and being prayed for,” one that will keep the spiritual needs of your students “on the refrigerator doors” of members through the year. To watch the video please click here


3 Donors Must Read

Choose three of your older church members who are school donors and supporters. Personally invite each to do three readings of their favorite children’s books in the school library. Schedule the readings so different ages of kids can come, listen, and ask questions. Have students do a public Thank You at church next Sabbath.


4 Service Supporters

November is a perfect month for Community Service, and the last week of October has been granted to you as Planning Time! Distribute (and collect) the Community Service Planning Page at church Sabbath and have your Junior High students sort the responses and set up a list of needs. NOTE: the CSPP is a service-focused planning page asking members to suggest neighbors and friends who could use some student assistance. To access the Community Service Planning Page please click here: CSPP


5 Take Back Halloween

Use the Psalm 23 Reading as part of church service for “Halloween Weekend.” Take the time away from the devil and give it to the Shepherd. This will take a bit of planning. You’ll need to recruit the church worship leader, a teacher, several students, and provide a couple hours of practice. The congregation will love it! To access the reading please click on "23rd Psalm" in the Resources Box below: