This is the level of ministry in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for youth between the ages of 10 to 15. It was founded in 1907 but was recognized by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in 1950. It oversees ministry to our youth previously referred to as Adventist Junior Youth or even before that Junior Missionary Volunteers (JMV).
Pathfinders conjure up images of marching, camping, curious hobbies and encounters with God’s creation in Nature. It is a church-centred, spiritual-recreational activity with an appeal for youth who are at the fast-growing physical stage of development.
‘Service to God and to humanity’ in a nutshell is the dual purpose of Pathfindering. Currently there are some 2,000,000 Pathfinders around the world. Any youth between the ages 10 to 15 who promises to abide by the Pathfinder Pledge and Law is accepted as a Pathfinder.
Pathfindering is built on an age-specific curriculum of six levels: Friend, Companion, Explorer, Ranger, Voyager, and Guide. n addition, there are approximately 250 specialized skill development topics involving arts and crafts, aquatics, nature, household arts, recreation, spiritual development, health and vocational training. These “honours” as they are called, often serve as a launching pad for lifetime careers and hobbies.
In Ontario we have six Pathfinder districts each overseen by a District Coordinator. Each district is further subdivided into areas monitored by Area Coordinators. An Executive Coordinator chairs the Ontario Conference Pathfinder Council (OCPC), and there is a Conference Pathfinder Specialist, (usually a pastor), who oversees the Pathfinder ministry across Ontario.
- To help Junior Youth understand that God and church members love, care about and appreciate them.
- To encourage Pathfinders to discover their own God-given potential and to utilize their gifts and abilities to fulfill God’s expectations for them in the plan of salvation.
- To make the personal salvation of each Pathfinder a number one priority.
- To inspire each Pathfinder to give personal expression of their love for God through service to humanity including evangelistic endeavours.
- To build a healthy appreciation and love for God’s creation by enjoying outdoor activity and taking care of their surroundings.
- To teach Pathfinders specific skills and hobbies that will make their lives more meaningful.
- To encourage pathfinders to keep physically fit. “Teach children to care for their body and establish good habits for future happiness and usefulness ( Edu. p. 195).
- To give opportunity for the development of teen leadership including an introduction to group dynamics.
To foster the harmonious development of the intellectual, physical, spiritual, social and emotional life of the Pathfinder.