Nine Essentials for an Effective Sabbath School

1. Conduct “felt-need” programming. Study the needs of your church family and plan programs to address those needs. Make sure to keep the programming short, no longer than 10-15 minutes.

2. Foster fellowship among Sabbath School members. Allow time for members to share experiences from the past week with one another. Meet outside the church setting and for times of fellowship and further study, e.g., potlucks, brunches, etc.

3. Encourage memorization of scriptures. Sabbath School is a time for spiritual strength-building. Learning the week’s “memory verse” fortifies the soul with spiritual ammunition to help meet the challenges of life.

4. Avoid the day-by-day lesson presentation format.
There is value in extracting the main points of the lesson for class discussion, but remember that the weekly lesson is divided into days only to encourage daily study of the Bible.

5. Reduce the size of each Sabbath School class.
Large classes discourage meaningful input from class members. The ideal class size is 8-10 members.

6. Affirm Sabbath School members. Celebrate their presence. Acknowledge their absence by sending a card or making a phone call.

7. Plan to expand!
Build up the Sabbath School, and thus the church, by seeking to make every church member a Sabbath School member. Be sure that every member on the church list is part of a Sabbath School class.

8. Focus on building God’s kingdom through outreach. Encourage each Sabbath School member to actively share their faith and to invite family members, friends, and work associates to Sabbath School and Sabbath School-related functions, such as class potlucks.

9. Promote Sabbath School outside of Sabbath School time. As they say, “What gets promoted gets supported!”

At the time this article was written, Buford Griffith, Jr., was the Southwestern Union Sabbath School director. This article was reprinted with permission from the Southwestern Union Record.

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