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The New Believer’s Sabbath School Class — 9 Comments

  1. William, I am very glad that your church has some vision, at least enough to see that new people need to have something different. Incidentally Ellen White also saw campmeeting as a time for evangelism but not strictly so.

    I think attitude has a lot to do with it but I think there other circumstances that make doing what you are doing a lot more difficult. First of all you do not belong to a small church. Of course it isn't the size of some of the churches that have upwards of 4000 members but having over 500 members and essentially three pastors gives you some advantages that very small churches just don't have.

    Basically, I think we as a people need to be more conscious of our mission and that all that we do while at church should be to disciple people including ourselves. As I see it the difficulty with small churches is a matter of making one size fit all, how do we serve the needs of everyone coming to church without excluding anyone?

    • Tyler, it's true that if there are only 8 people attending a small church, then it's probably unrealistic to have more than one Sabbath School class.

      But if there are 12 persons attending, there can easily be two classes, with the ideal class size being between 8 and 12 members. Then one class could be New Believer's class. It doesn't require a church of 300 members or 3 pastors.

      Have you ever noticed how only a few people really speak up in a Sabbath School class? And it's usually about the same number of people - whether the class has 12 or 120 members. In a class of 12, it is much more likely that everyone will be engaged. And engaging everyone in an interactive manner should be the goal of every Sabbath School teacher. By engaging everyone, we don't leave anyone out.

      If we could all get used to the idea that a Sabbath School is supposed to be interactive and evangelistic, I believe our churches would be transformed, and they would no longer fit the description of Laodicea.

      I tend to think that small churches have some real advantages in being able to foster an intimate family atmosphere.

      We attend two small churches - with the "larger" one having an average attendance of about 75 nowadays. The smaller church, where we go to help out, has anywhere from 12 - 40 people attending. But it doesn't fall short on a warm atmosphere, and I believe that with commitment and dedication, any small group of believers can create a welcoming atmosphere that will draw in anyone who comes in the door.

      • Good thoughtful discussion Tyler and Inge. I agree with what has been said and would add, if you don't have enough people for a main Sabbath School and New Believer's Sabbath School then if you have to choose one or the other, choose an evangelistic Sabbath School. Like I said in my post, even a small church can have their Sabbath school in a circle instead of like so many do, just having it the in the sanctuary where it is more of a dry lecture instead of a Bible study. I don't mean to harp about it, but I really do feel Sabbath Schools would draw more people and be more interesting if they were not in the sanctuary.

  2. Hi William, you are doing a fantastic work with your class, not only with providing the right level of Bible study but just as importantly with giving them a social circle.

    It is interesting to hear that in your area the sermon is for believers. I have found in my area that the sermons are milk and the SS class is meat. In my area we have SS program 9:30-10:00, SS lesson 10:00-10:45, divine service 11:00-12:00 of which the sermon is only 25 min.
    Depending on the size of the church there are a varity of SS classes from those who like to listen to those who like to participate.
    I wonder in other areas do people still have the "program" before the lesson study?
    Our program consists of songs, mission story, short talk.

    • Thank you Shirley, I am glad people are getting the "meat" one way or the other in your area, whether it is service time or Sabbath School. My church, Tampa First SDA Church has had the "program" mission focus and spotlight and all right after first service and before Sabbath School class. But most churches that have one service just go to the class with no program.

  3. Christians are human. And humans enjoy beauty, nature, recreation and are almost unfailingly bored by monotony. I speak for many - I humbly assume - when I say Christian folk are stereotyped to be boring (with good reason?).

    Without running the abhorrent risk of trivializing the life saving gospel, I loudly applaud your efforts William at injecting the 'interest' factor into Bible study. The thing I find most powerful about what you are doing is how it implodes the concept of Christianity being far removed from everyday life (in the eyes of non-Christians) and shows them them if anything the gospel is RELEVANT to everyday life.

    Coming from an advertising background where understanding your target audience is key: I have enjoyed the privilege of seeing the eyes of a class light up when the lesson is introduced using poignant examples the audience resonate with. I strongly believe the approach you adopt William can and ought to be encouraged as widely as applicable because it simply works.

    When Chirst uttered a parable, He entrenched the meaning and impact of it by referencing and associating it with the familiar. The result ? 'We have never heard a man speak/teach like this!' (Without relegating the importance of the Holy Spirit to the back seat).

    • William, what I detect from yours and others opinions, is that however well a program works for some, does not always work well for others. Sometimes due to facility limitations or other differences. As the SS Coordinator for our church, we have a rotation of 8 plus 4 substitute, teachers for two classes in the main sanctuary, that gives the members an opportunity to appreciate a variety of ideas. We also had a circular seating class in another area that was taught by the pastor. We are just now welcoming a new pastor. The one thing that I stress to all the teachers, is class member participation. Leave preaching for the after service. We have long ago discontinued preliminaries. We start at 9:30 and try to stop at 10:30. Any SS program that accomplishes it's purpose, is a good program. Yours is an excellent example.


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