Can children and unbaptized people participate in the divine service?

Questions & Answers April 29, 2016

Q: I need some clarity regarding the participation of children and unbaptized people during the divine service on Sabbath morning. Are they authorized to preach or to collect offerings? Where do they fit in? — Vusi

A: Everyone is welcome to attend services at any Seventh-day Adventist church and to participate in a number of ways such as congregational singing, prayer, and returning of tithes and offerings. Many churches encourage children and young people to participate in the divine service in several ways, such as collecting the offering, reading Scripture, and leading out in song service. Our children and young people are a very important part of our church family and should be encouraged to participate in the service.

The Sabbath morning worship service is a very important time because, as explained in the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, “It is here where members gather weekly to unite in worshipping God in a spirit of praise and thanksgiving, to hear the Word of God, to gather strength and grace to fight the battles of life, and to learn God’s will for them in soul-winning service. …

“In view of these considerations, it is evident that the pulpit must be reserved for the preaching of the truths of the divine word and the presentation of denominational plans and policies for the advancement of the work of God, not personal views and opinions.

“Under no circumstances should a pastor, elder, or other officer invite strangers or any unauthorized persons to conduct services. Individuals who have been removed from the ministry or who have been removed from membership in other places, or designing persons who have no authority from the church, should not be given access to the pulpit.

“Those worthy of confidence will be able to identify themselves by producing proper credentials.

“At times it is acceptable for government officials or civic leaders to address a congregation, but all others should be excluded from the pulpit unless permission is granted by the conference. Every pastor, elder, and conference president must enforce this rule” (pp. 116, 117).

To learn why Seventh-day Adventists have a church manual and to download a free copy of the 2010 Church Manual (the 2015 Church Manual isn’t yet available online), visit