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Awakening The Sabbath Morning Dinosaur

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1 Awakening The Sabbath Morning Dinosaur
Sabbath School Presentation by Pastor Buford Griffith, Jr. Southwestern Union Conference Burleson, Texas This seminar is a fresh approach to revitalizing the Sabbath School by making each Sabbath School class an Action Unit. The title: “Awakening the Sabbath Morning Dinosaur” is purposed to awaken the awareness of every church member to the vital importance of Sabbath School and its mission and purpose. The subtitle of this seminar is: “Sabbath School Action Units: Making Sabbath School Classes Totally Evangelistic. Enjoy and implement in your local church. Pastor Buford Griffith, Jr. Vice President for Ministries Southwestern Union Conference Burleson, Texas

2 Drifting From Bible Landmarks
“Many know so little about their Bibles that they are unsettled in the faith. They remove the old landmarks, and fallacies and winds of doctrine blow them hither and thither…and those who were once in the faith drift away from the Bible landmarks, and divorce themselves from God, while still claiming to be His children.” R&H, December 29, 1896

3 Is Sabbath School a Dinosaur in a Technological World?
Can the Sabbath School still function as a church growth tool in the 21st century? If so, why are so few Sabbath Schools growing? Has Sabbath School become a relic of the past, a dinosaur, as it were?

4 Sabbath School is the heartbeat of your church!!
If the Sabbath School throbs with the spirit of prayerful Bible study, harmony, and practical activity, the church will possess the same elements. “The influence growing out of Sabbath School work should improve and enlarge the church…” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 9

5 Interesting Facts To Ponder
The population in the U. S. is rapidly outpacing the evangelistic results of the church in North America. We might conclude that the Sabbath School as a growth tool has reflected the lack of evangelistic growth in the church at large. Why has a tool that once worked so well become seemingly unplugged?

6 The Sabbath School Must be Ministry-Driven!!
Four aspects needed to have a vibrant, growing Sabbath School: Fellowship (inreach/outreach) Community Outreach (outreach) Bible Study (inreach/outreach) Mission (outreach)

7 Exploring the Problem Areas
Problem 1: Loss of evangelistic focus. “The Sabbath School should be one of the greatest instrumentalities, and the most effectual, in bringing souls to Christ.” CSS 10 Problem 2: Loss of emphasis and commitment. “The Sabbath School work is important, and all who are interested in the truth should endeavor to make it prosperous.” CSS 9

8 Exploring the Problems -2-
Problem 3: Loss of vision for the total work of the Sabbath School. Study of the Word Fellowship Outreach Mission emphasis Problem 4: Lack of a clear purpose statement. Matt. 28:18-20, our statement of purpose. When the SS loses its emphasis on fulfilling the Great Commission, all programs start to flounder.

9 Exploring the Problems -3-
Problem 5: Fear of innovation. A new set of dynamics has changed the playing field for the church today. We must cling to the principles of SS work but be willing to change our methods.

10 Revitalizing the Sabbath School
Keep the Great Commission strategy balanced. More than just a Sabbath morning gathering for study. The real work begins outside the Sabbath School arena. Keep good records. Know who is present or absent. Each class appoint a Care Coordinator to direct the fellowship and nurture of class members.

11 Revitalizing the Sabbath School --2-
Schedule regular class fellowship gatherings. Planned Spontaneous

12 Revitalizing the Sabbath School --3-
Pay attention to the physical surroundings. A challenge for most of our churches but every effort should be made to create a classroom environment.

13 Revitalizing the Sabbath School --4-
Make sure guests are welcomed. Look at your Sabbath School class through the eyes of a newcomer. Overwhelm visitors with kindness and attention.

14 Revitalizing the Sabbath School --5-
Commit yourselves daily to the study of the Word of God and the Sabbath School lesson. Memorize the memory verse. Practice the principles you study.

15 Revitalizing the Sabbath School --6-
Keep the Sabbath School classes small enough to minister.

16 Sabbath School, not a relic of the past
“The object of the Sabbath School should not be lost sight of in mechanical arrangements…we should ever be guarded against forms and ceremonies which will eclipse the real object for which we are laboring…the Sabbath School should be a rest, a refreshment, and a blessing.” CSS151

17 Why Sabbath School Is the Growth Tool of the Future, Which is Now!
Reason #1: Sabbath School provides a centralized and simplified strategy As the church grows, the need to centralize and simplify will become more critical. Teaching, outreach and assimilation can be performed via the Sabbath School. You can’t do everything in Sabbath School, but you can organize to do much of your growth work through the Sabbath School. Reason #2: Sabbath School is familiar In a rapidly changing culture it is comforting to know that some things are stable. It is easier to get people involved both as participants and workers in an organization with which they are somewhat familiar. Reason #3: Sabbath School is a solid foundation for innovation Innovation is always built on the foundation of fundamental principles. Sabbath School serves as the foundation of the church. A strong Sabbath School is not a deterrent to innovation, it is the foundation for innovation.

18 Why Sabbath School Is the Growth Tool of the Future, Which is Now!
Reason #4: Sabbath School provides the small-group experience every Christian needs. Everyone who comes to your church asks two questions: Am I wanted? Am I needed? Involvement in a small group says, “You are wanted; you belong.” Opportunities for service made available through the small-group structure of the Sabbath School says, “You are needed.” Christians were never intended to live in isolation. Reason #5: Sabbath School is a natural companion to an exciting worship service.

19 Why Sabbath School Is the Growth Tool of the Future, Which is Now!
Reason #6: Sabbath School gets people involved in service. People who become involved in the church’s ministry will progress more quickly in their spiritual walk and will have a deeper commitment to the work of the Church. Reason #7: Sabbath School has a proven track record. Year in and year out, the Sabbath School structure, properly used, has given solid results. If we were to do away with Sabbath School, we would have to build something very much like it to replace it. Why not build innovative strategies on the proven historic principles of Sabbath School growth?

20 Awakening The Sabbath Morning Dinosaur Part II
“Building the Sabbath School Team”

21 Building the Sabbath School Team
Pastor Buford Griffith, Jr. Sabbath School Director Southwestern Union Conference Burleson, Texas

22 Basic Team Building Principles
1. The upper and lower division Sabbath School must see themselves as a team and not totally independent of each other. “Team” – working together as a unit; divided only by age grouping. Note: This implies that the upper and lower division of the Sabbath School is not an “us” vs. “them” attitudinal position.

23 Team Building Principles -2-
2. Share a common purpose. Commonly called “purpose” or “mission statement.” Broad based, not measurable but gives a general direction.

24 Team Building Principles -3-
Objectives Being specific about what it will take to achieve the purpose of the Sabbath School. It is the process of moving from general to specific concepts.

25 Team Building Principles -4-
Goals – “every goal needs a plan to make it work.” Calls for even more specific thinking. Each objective may have multiple goals.

26 Team Building Principles -5-
Implementation Answers the question of “how?” Write statements that can be evaluated by simple yes or no responses.

27 Tools for Effective Planning
Time People Communication Resources (literature, location, teaching aides, etc.)

28 Necessity of a Sabbath School Council
Sabbath School “think” tank. MUST meet on a regular basis for planning and implementation of ideas. Recommends strategies and solicits support of entire church. Should make a report to the Church Board monthly.

29 Sabbath School Council Makeup
Adult and Lower Division SS Supts. Pastor and/or Elder Church Ministries Dir. SS Secretary SS Teachers (upper and lower division) SHOULD MEET MONTHLY Getting the council together is a challenge within itself. Helpful hints: Sabbath Potluck or Sunday Brunch productive agenda timely meetings; no longer than 2 hours

30 Sabbath School Action Units How To Begin
Assign every member on the church membership roll to a Sabbath School class. Establish more classes with the purpose of keeping each class small. Or, utilize the present structure and add members to it. Assign a Care Coordinator to each class. Each class set goals for evangelism. Each class set goals for Mission giving and Investment involvement. Report progress regularly.

31 Role of the Care Coordinator
Reminds class of their plans and goals. Calls for witnessing experiences related to class plan. Leads in outreach promotion. Coordinates class fellowship.

32 “We Missed You At Sabbath School” cards & envelopes
Pacific Press Publishing Ask for Mr. Ryder The cards are available in Espanol No charge; order as many as you need.

33 Sabbath School Resources
1. Adventist Mission DVD’s Website: Sent to every church in NAD free of charge; paid by the NAD. Not yet in Spanish but will be available by 3rd or 4th quarter of 2008. Drawback to DVD is that it is not as strong in its promotion of Sabbath School offerings i.e. citing the projects to be sponsored. Alternative mission DVD is: “Project Sunlight.” A quarterly Mission DVD out of Collegedale, TN. This is a subscription DVD. 2. Other Helpful websites:

34 L.E.A.D. Leadership Education Advent Discipleship
A quarterly Sabbath School resource magazine. Can be included as a part of the standing order for Sabbath School materials through Review and Herald Publishing. Cost: $34.95 per year. Important feature: “Legacy of the SDA Church”

35 Awakening The Sabbath Morning Dinosaur Part III
“The Necessity of the Pastor’s Sabbath School Class”

36 The Pastor’s Sabbath School Class: the New Believer’s Class on Doctrine
A must for a growing church. Roots and grounds new members. Serves as a shield of protection for new members from spurious doctrines. New members should be retained in the pastor’s class for a minimum of one (1) year.

37 Pastor’s Sabbath School Class: A Necessity
New converts must be protected: From “strange” doctrines. From other church members who can give a distorted point of view of the gospel with their individual extremism and impatience with the growth of the “new babes” in the truth. Spirit of Prophecy quote: “Satan is no idler; he watches his chances, and takes advantage of every opportunity to win souls to his side. He constantly sows his tares in every heart that is not barricaded with the truth.” Home Missionary,

38 Which Lessons Study Guides Are To Be Utilized?
The study material will vary from the other classes within your church’s SS. Utilize prepared Bible studies such as: Discover Bible School lessons from the Voice of Prophecy. Amazing Facts

39 Creating Your Own Lesson Series (Pastor’s Class)
Advantages: Flexibility Encourages deeper study on the part of both members and pastor. Pastor is able to move at a pace that assures complete understanding of the “pillar” doctrines of the SDA Church. Engenders stronger bonds of brotherhood among the members of the class via study and fellowship.

40 Creating Your Own Lesson Series -2-
Encourages members to invite and bring family members and friends to class. Thus, the pastor’s class becomes evangelistic without being called a baptismal class, which can be intimidating to a non-member. Enables pastor to intercept spurious doctrines before they become a problem for the new member, as well as helping new members release their hold on teachings adopted from affiliation with their former faith.

41 Creating Your Own Lesson Series -3-
Challenges the pastor’s own creativeness in lesson preparation. Encourages attendance at the mid-week prayer service. Series started in the pastor’s SS can be continued at prayer meeting; thus, benefiting the entire church. The pastor is leading and encouraging by precept and example and the whole SS becomes revived.

42 Use of the Regular Sabbath School Quarterlies
Used at the discretion of the pastor as to relevance for class at the time of distribution. Even when not used as the primary lesson source, every member is issued a quarterly and encouraged to study daily to promote regular Bible study and be in harmony with the rest of the church.

43 Sample Course Outline: Adventism and the Sanctuary
The Earthly Sanctuary – Part I The Earthly Sanctuary – Part II The Sanctuary Services: Daily/Day of Atonement The 2300 Day Prophecy of Dan. 8:14 The Antitypical Day of Atonement/The Judgment Message The Sanctuary as it pertains to the 3 Angel’s Messages of Revelation 14.

44 Sample Course Outline: Adventism and the Sanctuary
The Sanctuary and the Sabbath Early Adventism and the Sanctuary: Part I – The Second Coming of Christ Early Adventism and the Sanctuary: Part II – Sabbath Discovery Early Adventism and the Sanctuary: Part III – The Sanctuary and the Sabbath Early Adventism and the Sanctuary: Part IV – Righteousness by Faith; Revisiting 1888

45 Sample Course Outline: Adventism and the Sanctuary
Early Adventism and the Sanctuary: Part V – The 1,000 period of Rev. 20 Early Adventism and the Sanctuary: Part VI – The Seven Last Plagues Adventism Today and the Sanctuary: Why am I a Seventh-day Adventist?

46 Expanding the Sabbath School: Emphasis on Biblical Doctrine
Establish a Sabbath afternoon class to study Bible doctrine: Once or twice per month. Open to all members of the church. Allows for more time to be spent studying and understanding bible doctrine. Survey members of class to ascertain the order of doctrines to be studied.

47 Awakening The Sabbath Morning Dinosaur Part IV
“Teaching Strategies for the Adult Sabbath School Class”

48 Teaching Strategies for the Adult Sabbath School Class
Questions: 1. What do you want your class to leave with at the end of the study? 2. How are you going to achieve this goal? 3. What methods will you use to achieve class participation? 4. How will you connect the study with every day life issues?

49 Instructional Objective Task Analysis
Identify the learning/objective *Memory Verse *Key Thought *Teachers Aims Teach to the objective *Lesson Outline *Summary/Commentary

50 Active Participation Definition: the consistent mental involvement of each person while the content is being presented. Four Elements Overt behavior (physical behavior) It is observable. a. Writing b. Speaking c. Performing

51 Active Participation - 2
2. Covert behavior: NOT observable - it is mental: “Imagine” “Think About” 3. All members should be involved or engaged simultaneously/consistently. 4. There needs to be a good mixture of covert and overt. Never be a lecturer!

52 Strategies for Increasing Active Participation
Always begin with prayer! How to set up questions: *open ended *then ask “why?” *ask the question, then wait *proceed with discussion Handle wrong answers: create a risk-free environment. Wait time: this gives people time to gather their thoughts.

53 Strategies for Increasing Active Participation - 2
Avoid a pattern. Periodically check for understanding. Move around in order to reach everyone – never involve just one area of the class. Remember that people learn in different ways – so do something differently each week.

54 Steps in Lesson Preparation
Prayer “ASK and it shall be given to you; SEEK, and you shall find; KNOCK and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) TR 2-21

55 Have a Teachable Attitude
“In searching the Scriptures, you are not to endeavor to interpret their utterances so as to agree with your preconceived ideas.” (CSW, p. 25) TR 2-22

56 Study the Bible texts for the week’s lesson
Say the Bible text over and over from different translations. Read the verses within the context so as to get the full intention of the writer. Let God speak to you. As truth is revealed, and the meaning comes to your mind, write down key points. TR 2-23

57 Study Other Resources on the Same Subject
Use a Concordance Look at a Bible Atlas Study Bible Commentaries Read the Spirit of Prophecy Use different Bible translations TR 2-24

58 Plan Your Lessons to Cover :
The goal of the lesson Three or four key points to be covered Application to life experience TR 2-25

59 Have a Checklist 1. A comprehensive knowledge of the lessons (much more than would be used) 2. Planned introduction 3. A planned track of discourse Find pivotal points Sequence of thought TR 2-26

60 Have a Checklist 4. A planned spiritual application made personal
5. Selected points for illustration and suitable illustrations 6. Carefully prepared questions 7. Carefully prepared timing 8. An appeal TR 2-26a

61 Points to Note When Preparing a Lesson:
Think for Yourself “Teachers should not be satisfied to take the product of the researchers of other minds, but they should investigate truth for themselves.” (CSW, p. 32) TR 2-27

62 Closure Connect the study with every day life issues. Each lesson is equipped with a section entitled “Apply!” Helping your class members to answer the question: “What can I do with what I have learned from this lesson?” Summarize the content of the lesson. Use the “Witnessing” section of the lesson. Always end the lesson with prayer.

63 Ellen White recognized that teachers need to continue their skill training
“The true teacher is not content with dull thoughts, and indolent mind, or a loose memory. He constantly seeks higher attainments and better methods. His/her life is one of continual growth.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 103.

64 Keep the Great Commission Strategy Balanced
The Sabbath School class is more than a teaching unit; it is a tool for outreach, assimilation (fellowship), mission, and teaching. The teacher or facilitator of the class is the key to the effective functioning of the class objectives. He/she should lead the class through prayer, coordination, and inspiration.

65 Keep the Great Commission Strategy Balanced
There should be regular evaluation to ensure that the work of the Sabbath School class is balanced. The teacher or facilitator must ask critical evaluative questions. Are members bringing unsaved friends? Has anyone been led to Christ through the ministry of the class? Are members being contacted regularly? Are care needs being missed? Are members attending regularly? Are members frequently lost from the class? Why? Does the teaching address the spiritual needs of the class? Do members prepare for the study of the lesson? Do they participate in class discussion?

66 Enlisting Teachers Pray to the Lord of the harvest.
Form a teacher recruitment committee. Personally enlist workers. Call for commitment. Exalt the work of the Sabbath School. Start with those gifted to teach. Ask teachers to enlist and train teachers.

67 Awakening The Sabbath Morning Dinosaur Part V
“Rediscovering Investment and Outside Projects for Sabbath School Classes”

68 Mission Projects for the Sabbath School Class
Adopt a senior member of the church. Do their yard work. Clean their home. Do their grocery shopping. Enjoy a leisurely visit. Hospital visitation to class members’ non-Adventist family members and friends.

69 Mission Projects -2- Visit the homeless shelters; spend a few hours with a homeless family. Visit the nursing homes where members of the church may be residents.

70 Sabbath School Investment: Developing a Partnership With God
Extension of mission offerings. Increases God’s storehouse to fund existing mission endeavors and new expansion projects. Teaches practical application of trusting God.

71 Awakening the Sabbath Morning Dinosaur
Part VI The Ministry of Assimilation

72 Sabbath School is a Soul Winning Ministry
“Entire consecration of soul must be maintained as much by the teachers and superintendents of our Sabbath Schools as by the ministers in our pulpits, for all alike are engaged in the work of bringing souls to Christ. Each in his place is to work, as did Christ, in the spirit of love, for the erring and impenitent. This is what Christ would see in the Sabbath School work…” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 157

73 The Ministry of Assimilation
The closest thing to Heaven, while living this side of the Kingdom of God, should be the fellowship of Christians living in community. Believers should be bearing burdens, sharing joys, and richly enjoying the good things of God with the hope that someday, maybe soon, joy will no longer be mixed with pain and suffering. But for now, “a grief shared is half a grief; a joy shared is a greater joy.” The Church in Ruins, p.45 William Crabb and Jeff Jernigan

74 Not All That We Claim to Be
The Church rarely offers the sort of biblical community it advertises and alone has the potential to provide. The book of Acts serves as the model for Christian community, all of which serves as the basis for the goals of an effective Sabbath School: Teaching (Study of the Word of God) Christian fellowship (Fellowship) Worship (Community Outreach) Prayer (Mission Emphasis)

75 Who’s Responsible for Ministry?
Without exception, rapid evangelistic advance and continuous church growth are the result of the work of the laity. Who are the laity? The term laos, the Greek root of our word laity, occurs in the Bible in its singular form only. In the scriptures, laos is one single, indivisible unit.

76 Who’s Responsible for Ministry? -2-
In the Bible, believers are never called “laymen.” The word laikos, where our term “layman” is derived, does not occur in Scripture at all; it is of a non-Biblical origin. The Bible uses only the term laos. It only knows of the laity as one single, indivisible unit, and individuals are referred to as members of that one body. (I Corinthians 12:4-13; Romans 12:3-5)

77 Who’s Responsible for Ministry? -3-
In the Bible, the term laity is never used in contrast to other groups or individuals in the church, such as pastors, leaders, etc. The entire church is the laity! Where Scripture speaks of special functions in the church, such as those of apostle or prophet or evangelist or pastor or teacher, these functions are defined in terms of the nature and calling of the laity. The major role of the pastor or administrator is to assist the laity in carrying out its calling and commission in the world. His role is really that of a facilitator or enabler, helping the members to develop and use their gifts for the task of ministry.

78 Who’s Responsible for Ministry? -4-
Laos means “a special people;” “God’s own people,” a people of His choosing. The laos are God’s chosen people, but that election is for a particular purpose. “The Church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the Gospel to the world…The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest…the final and full display of the love of God.” (Acts of the Apostles, page 9).

79 Who’s Responsible for Ministry? -5-
The call to join God’s people and to become a member of the laos, is in fact a call to the ministry. Who is responsible for ministry? We all are! Ministry, in the Scriptures, is not an “exalted office” of a few, but the calling of the whole people of God. It is not status within the church, but the function of every believer who has accepted the work of Christ.

80 Co-Laborers With Christ
“The Saviour’s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all the believers in Christ to the end of time….All to whom the heavenly inspiration has come are put in trust with the Gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be co-workers of Christ.” (The Desire of Ages, p.822)

81 Acts 1:8 The church is a community of power.
All of the members of the community are to share in this divine resource.

82 Sabbath School Must Be Ministry-Driven
Must not be program-driven. Fails to take into account changing circumstances and the needs of the people. Ministry addresses the needs of people and adjusts for those needs in the context of changing circumstances.

83 4 Key Components to Assimilation
#1: Keep people involved in small groups and build relationships. #2: Meet their needs. #3: Avoid making them mad and/or help them resolve their anger. #4: Overcome the perception that no one cares.

84 Membership Circle: Every member is within this circle
Fellowship Circle: Members who feel a sense of belonging and who feel fully accepted into the fellowship of that called-out community.

85 The Motto of Sabbath School
To Win To Hold To Train TR 1-5

86 Assimilation Design Utilize the Sabbath School
Churches with effective programs of assimilation utilize the standard age-graded Sabbath School. A. Creates both homogeneity (similar in nature) and receptivity. B. Keeps the small groups from becoming stagnant and thus calcifying. (Every study on small group dynamics indicates that the longer a particular group stays together, the harder it is for a newcomer to penetrate that group. The regular promotion of all Sabbath School classes will counteract the tendency toward fossilization).

87 Assimilation Design Use the Power of Personal Invitation
Statistically, between 79% and 86% of the people who join a local church do so because of the invitation of a friend or family member. Therefore, if someone invites a new member to join their Sabbath School class, the chances of involvement are greatly increased. The invitation must be personal, genuine, and immediate.

88 Conclusion Your Sabbath School can prove to be the unifying growth tool you need. You must keep the focus and purpose of the Sabbath School in mind as you develop and implement your program. Don’t be afraid to draw outside the lines. Remember, it is God who works through us to grow His Church. Be a faithful leader as you advance God’s kingdom through the Sabbath School.

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