2From Florida Conference Conrad Duncan – Director of Sabbath School and Community ServicesKim Johnson – Director of Curriculum Resources
3To view or download today’s PowerPoint go to: Click on“A Discipleship Model for Adult Sabbath School”
4The ultimate goal: To make adult Sabbath School such a dynamic, life-changing place that attendance is larger than at the Worship Service.
5We need to overcome the mental image of Sabbath School as the little sister to the Worship Service Organized properly, adult Sabbath School can be the most effective discipleship program of the local church!
6The problem is that nationally most adult Sabbath Schools are struggling. Increasing numbers of members only come to the Worship Service.Do not attract nearly enough members in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s.Adult Sabbath SchoolVery few non-SDA’s attend from the community.
9“The Sabbath School, when rightly managed, possesses marvelous power, and is adapted to doing a great work, but it is not now what it may and should be.” EGW, CSSW 9
10Ellen White issued a stirring call for us to create vibrant adult Sabbath Schools that are overflowing with people. Sadly, across N. America, they are only living up to a small fraction of their potential.What can be done?
11What business are you in? First, Adult Sabbath School needs to correctly answer the key question:What business are you in?Say that the SBB lessons talk about the Ministry Placement Process by first of all exploring the larger context of disciple-making.
14What business is your Church in? The church service business?The Sabbath School business?The Revelation Seminar business?The health seminar business?The Vacation Bible School business?
15Jesus said that our real business is: Making Disciples!“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Mt 28: 18-20)
16“Neither going, baptizing, nor teaching are ends in themselves; they are all means to the end of discipling. . . We hear a great deal about baptizing. We talk about teaching true Bible doctrines. Neither of these activities is an ultimate end of the gospel commission.”Cont’d
17“Jesus said the church’s business is making disciples “Jesus said the church’s business is making disciples. To make disciples, we need to go, we need to baptize, we need to teach. But these are not our primary business. If these become ends in themselves, if we ever concentrate on any of them rather than on making disciples, we’ll soon be out of business.”(Floyd Bresee, General Conference Ministerial Secretary, Ministry Magazine, April 1990)
19“Go into all the world and MAKE DISCIPLES” Like an Ethan Allen Furniture factory, Sabbath School is supposed to produce something.NewBelieversAdult Sabbath SchoolMaturing Disciples“Go into all the world and MAKE DISCIPLES”
20Russell Burrill commenting on Jesus’ Great Commission: “Jesus commanded the church to produce disciples, and that is what obedient churches should be doing.”Recovering an Adventist Approach to the Life & Mission of the Local Church, p. 26.
21Sabbath School is supposed to be a “People Garden Sabbath School is supposed to be a “People Garden.” All kinds of people growing in all kinds of ways to reflect the love of Christ.
22That means that our primary focus needs to be on PEOPLE. Not on methodsNot on teaching toolsNot on my particular preferencesNot on preserving the past
24Disciple-making requires that we target the whole person Disciple-making requires that we target the whole person. The focus needs to be not only on the spiritual, but on the mental, emotional, social, and physical as well. They are all linked together.
25What can be done?1. Know what business Sabbath School should be in – Making Disciples and growing people.
26What can be done?1. Know what business Sabbath School should be in – Making Disciples and growing people.2. We also need to recognize that society has changed dramatically over the last 80 years.
27There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born before 1940
28There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born before 1940
29There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born before 1940 –Loyalty to institutionsThe U.S. GovernmentOut of the Great DepressionWon World War IIGave them the New DealProsperity in the Suburbs
30There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born before 1940 –Loyalty to institutionsMy Dad“A Chevy man”Cape Cod Bank & Trust
31There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born before 1940 –Loyalty to institutionsThey come to Sabbath School because that is where they are supposed to be on Saturday morning, regardless of how irrelevant or boring the program may be. That is what the institution (the church) says they should be doing.
32There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born after WWIIThe Baby Boomer Generation ( )Generation X ( )Generation Y/Millennial (1981-present)
33There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born after WWII –Loyalty to valueThe U.S. GovernmentThe tragedy of VietnamWatergateHigh debt and wasteful spending
34There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born after WWII –Loyalty to valueMePurchase car with the best valueInvest in bank with the best interest
35There has been a dramatic shift in Generational Attitudes Born after WWII – Loyalty to valueThey only come to Sabbath School if they perceive it to be valuable. If it is not relevant and interesting, they will not waste their time, regardless of what the institution says.
36The Key Change In Perspective Adult Sabbath Schools that are stagnant or declining usually have leaders who identify only with the institutional loyalty mindset and refuse to adapt. These leaders say:“If people aren’t attending, it’s their problem. They ought to be here. They must not be committed, spiritual, etc.”
37The Key Change In Perspective Adult Sabbath Schools that are growing and vibrant have leaders who understand the dramatic generational changes that have occurred and adapt. These leaders say:“If people aren’t attending, it’s our problem. What we are doing isn’t relevant or interesting enough for them to feel it is valuable and worthwhile.”
38Your Sabbath School must choose If they are not attending Sabbath School:“Its’ THEIR problem”Your Sabbath School must choose“Its’ OUR problem”
39Born before 1940 – Loyalty to institutions Born after WWII – Loyalty to valueThe worse thing is for these two groups to fight against one another.The best thing we can do is to understand one another, put personal preference aside, and do what is needed to make Sabbath School a success.
40Like it or not, in today’s world the only choice the church has is to: “Change or die.”Not our doctrines, but our methods.
41Many people fear change and resist it. But our own comfort cannot dictate what we do. We must be governed by God’s will and purposes.
42The seven last words of the Church - “We never did it that way before.”“The no change” Church
43To revive Sabbath School we have to think outside the box!
44Change can be unsettling, but it can also be positive and beautiful.
46Healthy change honors the past, retains what is still working, and builds on that to get us to a better, more effective place.Also, remember that Jesus was the greatest Change Agent the world has ever seen!
47What can be done?1. Understand that Sabbath School is in the business of Making Disciples and growing people.2. We also need to recognize that society has changed dramatically over the last 80 years, and so must the church in order to be relevant and effective.
48What specific changes are needed? We are suggesting that your leadership carefully consider how many of the following eight items it is going to embrace in order to enhance Sabbath School.
49As you think about change, remember to start small and go slowly As you think about change, remember to start small and go slowly. From all that you will hear today, think in terms of finding one or two ideas that you can take home and implement. Don’t try to do everything at once.
50Also remember the change principle that it is better to add than to subtract. +GOOD-DANGEROUSBetter to add to Sabbath School than to subtract from what is already there.
51What specific changes are needed? Learning Environment
54Staring at the backs of heads. Trying to hear what the person in the pew in front of you saying.
55Quiet. Free from distraction. Easily accessible. A healthy learning environment is critical. It sends a very powerful message about how much or how little we actually value adult education and relationships. The learning environment needs to be:Quiet.Free from distraction.Easily accessible.
56Ways to create good adult learning environments Movable partitions in the Sanctuary.Movable dividers in the Fellowship Hall.Unused spaces – pastor’s study, kitchen, Mothers Room, etc.Use the Church School if you have one.Use a nearby building if it is closed on Saturday.Modular Units or eventual addition to building
57The bottom line is to treat the creation of effective adult learning environments as essential and not optional. It is as essential to learning as the Sanctuary is to worship.
59Teachers need to learn how to: Create excellent discussion questions.Keep the discussion focused.Deal with people who talk too muchInvolve more people in the discussion.Apply the lessons to everyday life.Build increased trust and openness.Get people to study more.
63Small groups have proven to be a great alternative. We’ve gotten so used to having adult Sabbath School in the Sanctuary, we think that looking at the backs of heads, not relating to one another, and having a hard time hearing each other is the only option.Small groups have proven to be a great alternative.
64In Small Groups people build both knowledge and relationships in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
65Russell Burrill comments: “It is God’s plan and Jesus’ desire that Christians grow in small groups. The purpose of small groups is not just meeting to study the Bible. The purpose of groups is to give Christians a place where they can grow together.”The Revolutionized Church of the 21st Century, p. 54
66Ellen White’s perspective on small groups: “To Ellen White, small groups were not just a program of the church, they were the major organizing principle of the work of the church. To have a church without small groups operating in it was anathema to Ellen White, for the church is to be built on small groups.”The Revolutionized Church of the 21st Century, p. 137
70Building relationships is vital The supreme test of discipleship:Not how much we knowNot how often we go to churchBuilding relationships is vitalNot how much we titheNot how active we are in the churchJesus said, its’ how much we love each other -“By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Jn 13:35
71Relationships are formed best in a small group setting Relationships are formed best in a small group setting. Sabbath School is a wonderful place for Adventists to experience small groups for the very first time.
72Meeting in small groups during Sabbath School Sabbath School also becomes the “springboard” for small groups that meet during the other days of the weekMeeting in small groups during Sabbath SchoolSun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
73Service Opportunities 1. Learning Environment2. Teacher Training3. Focus on Information and Relationships in Small GroupsService Opportunities
74Foreward to “Counsels on Sabbath School Work” written by the General Conference Sabbath School Department in 2002:“From [Ellen White’s] counsels four chief purposes have been developed for the world Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School system: (1) study of the Word, (2) fellowship, (3) community outreach, and (4) world mission emphasis.”
80The service projects are not done AFTER Sabbath School, but DURING Sabbath School. That way Sabbath School itself becomes mission oriented and you get a lot more people involved in outreach.
81Organized Service Opportunities 100Organized Service OpportunitiesMember Participation20105Sabbath MorningSabbath AfternoonMid-weekSunday
82Plan 1: Dedicate 15 minutes of Sabbath School time in the group each week to service. For example: Everyone bring their cell phone and call one shut-in or person in the hospital.Collect shaving supplies each week and give to Homeless Shelter at the end of the month. Create festive wrapping.Class members collect change in jars at home. Bring to class after a few weeks and use money to purchase a gift for a needy, hurting person.Have everyone bring in fresh fruit to make a fruit basket. The group decides who to give it to. It need not be a shut-in, but anyone who needs encouragement.
83Plan 1: Dedicate 15 minutes of Sabbath School time in the group each week to service. For example: (cont’d)Everyone bring a few fresh flowers that are picked or purchased to make a bouquet to bring to someone who could use some encouragement.Have each class member purchase a card for someone the group decided on the week before. Bring the cards to the class, write a short note of blessing and appreciation, and everyone sign each card. Mail them at the same time.Fill out postcard size “Encouragement Cards” or “Appreciation Cards” with the person’s name on the front. Give it to the church office to add the address and mail.
84Plan 2: Periodically devote all of the Sabbath School group time to service, staying within the building. For example:The class members practice a skit to be presented du ring the church service, children’s Sabbath School, or some other time. Choose skits that are designed to involve a dozen or more people. Skits can be purchased online from places such as:Get white poster board that is 3 feet on each side. With a pencil divide it into 12” by 12” squares. Decide on one overall scene and have members color in only the portion in their square with crayons. Cut out and send one square per day to the person you want to uplift so they can put it all together. Include a note that it is a puzzle.
85Plan 2: Periodically devote all of the Sabbath School group time to service, staying within the building. For example:Assemble kits for the Homeless – “Street Corner Care Kit”½ gallon freezer bagFoodDrinkSocksHand creamToothbrushetc
86Plan 3: Periodically devote one entire Sabbath morning to service out in the community using a van or bus. Make the theme Random Acts of Kindness. For example:Go online ahead of time and purchase balloons that you can have the company put a Christian message on. Take a rented helium tank to a downtown park, fill the balloons with helium, and give them away to families. If they ask why you are doing this just say, “To demonstrate God’s love.”Purchase cold soft drinks or water ahead of time and have the class give them away to cars that stop at red lights.
87Plan 3: Periodically devote one entire Sabbath morning to service out in the community using a van or bus. Make the theme Random Acts of Kindness. For example: (cont’d)Florida Hospital Church offered eleven service opportunities during regular Sabbath School. Sign up ahead of time. Both within the church and community.For other ideas see websites such as:Put “Random Acts of Kindness ideas” in a Google search.
88Plan 1: Dedicate 15 minutes of group time each week to service. Plan 2: Periodically devote all of the Sabbath School class time to service, staying within the building.Plan 3: Periodically devote one entire Sabbath morning to service out in the community using a van or bus.
89Service to Non-SDA’s during Sabbath School Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sabbath School becomes the “springboard” for ministries to occur during the other days of weekService to Non-SDA’s during Sabbath SchoolSun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
90Need-based Alternatives 1. Learning Environment2. Teacher Training3. Focus on Information and Relationships in Small Groups4. Service OpportunitiesNeed-based Alternatives
91The adult Sabbath School Quarterly has been a great blessing to many people over the years. We believe in using the Quarterly and we promote it. Those who teach it should certainly be honored.
92Strengths of the Quarterly Bible basedExtensive use of Spirit of ProphecyProvides many spiritual insightsContent comes from broad inputUsed throughout the denomination
93Problems that must be faced Classes that study the Quarterly are not well-suited for non-SDA’s
94The issue is that non-SDA’s are beginners among long-time Bible students. They also have a hard time relating to the “SDA lingo” from members.Ellen White in class
95Our usual approach is to isolate non-SDA visitors Our usual approach is to isolate non-SDA visitors. We say, “They need their own class because they’re not ready to study the Quarterly yet.”
96The best answer is to invite people from the community into a variety of alternative Sabbath School groups that are designed to meet them at the point of their need.The groups are made up of members and their non-SDA friends and acquaintances.
97Various Bible Study Topics Possibilities for Alternative Sabbath School ClassesVarious Bible Study TopicsMarriage & FamilySpiritual HealthPhysical HealthMental HealthEmotional HealthNature
98Court mandated attendance at an anger management classes. Social agency required classes on parenting.
99Curriculum for 3rd Quarter JULYAUGSEPTWHERE MEETSTOPIC# WksQuarterlySanctuary13QuarterlyRoom 10313Fellowship HallQuarterly13Fellowship HallSpiritual Gifts8Grief RecoveryMother’s Room7Pastor’s StudyOvercoming Stress5PrayerKitchen5Fellowship HallRaising Great Kids4
100Why Sabbath Morning for Non-SDA’s in small groups? 1. Convenience for them. Not tired after work.2. Able to mingle with many more SDA’s. “Why are all of these people here?”3. Free spiritual programs and activities for children.4. Easier to get them to come to the Worship Service.5. We reach the entire family.6. Highly relational setting instead of lectures.
101Why Sabbath Morning for Non-SDA’s small groups? 7. Much easier to get SDA volunteers.8. Benefits our own adults and children being around Non-SDA’s. Creates a mission mentality.9. Teachers become more evangelistic in attitude.10. Fulfills EGW’s dream of Sabbath School being a major soul winning agency.
102Sabbath Schools With Alternative Classes: Sabbath morning groups and classes attended by members and their friends from the community:“Forgive to Live” seminar. 85 in attendance with 65% from the community. 8 Sabbath mornings.
103Non-SDA’s in the community Sabbath SchoolService TasksAlternative ClassesNon-SDA’s in the community
104“The object of Sabbath School work should be the ingathering of souls “The object of Sabbath School work should be the ingathering of souls.” EGW, CSSW 61
105“The Sabbath school should be one of the greatest instrumentalities, and the most effectual, in bringing souls to Christ.” EGW, CSSW 10
106Problems that must be faced Many of our adults ages are not attracted to the Quarterly. We know they want value.They also want choice.
107We live in a world of choices and options. For example, when McDonald’s opened in the early 1960’s it offered only burgers, fries and milkshakes.
109Fruit and Maple Oatmeal Angus Wraps Steak and Eggs Filet-O-FishPancakesFruit and Walnut SaladCaesar SaladMcRibsSmoothiesHoney Mustard Snack WrapsLattesChipolte BBQ WrapsCapuccinnosChicken SaladBurritosSouthwest Salad
110We ignore that lesson at our peril. Why?Because they love us??Because they want to attract new business and be successful! They know that people demand options.We ignore that lesson at our peril.
111What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A mother with a critically ill son who wants to know more about prayer.
112What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A young lady who wants to know about the book of Revelation.
113What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A couple in their mid-30’s whose marriage has a lot of unresolved conflict.
114What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A single mom with two kids who just lost her job and wonders how she can make the mortgage payments.
115What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A wife whose husband just died in a tragic car crash.
116What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A man in his 40’s whose doctor told him he has to lower his stress level now in order to get his blood pressure under control.
117What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A couple in their early 20’s who are unable to control their two children. It is putting huge stress on their marriage.
118What does your adult Sabbath School curriculum provide for these people in your town or city? A lady who is struggling with depression and anxiety.
119Offer one or two alternative subjects then build from there as needed. Not everything you offer needs to last thirteen weeks.
120New name for alternative classes. 1. Learning Environment2. Teacher Training3. Focus on Information and Relationships in Small Groups4. Service Opportunities5. Need-based AlternativesNew name for alternative classes.
121SABBATH SCHOOLNon-SDA’s haven’t learned about Sabbath yet.School makes them picture homework, lectures, and tests.
122Traditional Sabbath School Life Enrichment Center
123LIFE ENRICHMENT CENTER You can keep the traditional Sabbath School and develop the Life Enrichment Center as an ongoing alternative.
124The name Life Enrichment Center should provide an excellent opportunity to invite non-SDA’s: “This group meeting is being held at the Life Enrichment Center in my church” vs “My church is offering this meeting.”
125Rethink Preliminaries 1. Learning Environment2. Teacher Training3. Focus on Information and Relationships in Small Groups4. Service Opportunities5. Need-based Alternatives6. New Name for alternative classesRethink Preliminaries
126Those who have put together programs over the years for the Sabbath School Preliminaries should be thanked and honored for their many hours of dedicated work.
127We do, however, need to recognize that members who consistently arrive late or at the end of the Preliminaries are “voting with their feet” that it is not relevant for them.
128The answer is to not expect everyone to attend the Preliminaries The answer is to not expect everyone to attend the Preliminaries. Make them available for those who want them or eliminate them altogether if there is a consensus to do so.Start some small groups at the same time as preliminaries for those who want to have more time.Everyone could still be invited to gather together periodically for Mission emphasis.
129Various lengths of time 1. Learning Environment2. Teacher Training3. Focus on Information and Relationships in Small Groups4. Service Opportunities5. Need-based Alternatives6. New Name for alternative classes7. Rethink PreliminariesVarious lengths of time
1321. Learning Environment2. Teacher Training3. Focus on Information and Relationships in Small Groups4. Service Opportunities5. Need-based Alternatives6. Life Enrichment Center7. Rethink Preliminaries8. Various lengths of time
133Don’t be overwhelmed. Don’t go home and try to change everything at once. Select one or two items that you feel have the best chance of success. Move slowly, get support from leadership, and build from there.Every journey begins with one step.
134With God’s special blessing and our willing hearts, adult Sabbath Schools can once again become vibrant, life-changing places!
135To view or download today’s PowerPoint go to: Click on“A Discipleship Model for Adult Sabbath School”