Would you like to see more people come on time for Sabbath School? Do you enjoy young people gaining experience leading up front? Are you looking for a church that feels like a family? We, at the Belleville Seventh-day Adventist Church, wanted to experience these benefits, and that led us to look closely at our Sabbath School program. We decided to make a few changes that could help develop community in our church.
If you were to visit on a Sabbath morning, you would find us all fellowshipping together in the sanctuary as we begin the Sabbath School portion. Our entire church family comes together and enjoys the larger number of voices singing praises and the time spent learning more about mission and the worldwide church. You would see youth and children leading in a rousing song service with selections from He is our Song and the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal. Occasionally, you may find yourself standing up to participate in a motion song, and you’ll surely enjoy watching some of the smallest children pressing in around the microphone to let their voices be heard. What a blessing it is to sing together with more people than to struggle to make a beautiful noise with just a few!
Immediately following the song service, time is spent in learning how we belong to a worldwide remnant church. Here is where our adults and teens take turns reading the mission story and teaching the love of Jesus and how it is spread around the world. Some Sabbaths we have props, such as a country’s flag, cultural costumes, and pictures to share. Other weeks we enjoy watching the Mission Spotlight together and thinking of how we, as a church family, can better serve in our own community.
This simple change to the beginning of our Sabbath School time has provided more of a family friendly environment. It’s like starting your program with family worship, before you divide into your individual classes.
We want to do all we can to build up our Sabbath School program, encourage families to come on time, and give the youth the chance to participate in our church. We believe that Sabbath School is very important because it is the time dedicated to studying the Bible together as a church family and to learn our doctrines better so we can more easily share them with others.
Another way the Belleville church tries to grow our Sabbath School program is to use our Vacation Bible School as a feeder. Our VBS begins each day at 10 a.m., the same time our church regularly begins Sabbath School. When we advertise our VBS event, we make sure to include Saturday on our flyer. The daily schedule goes from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., the exact hours our church holds their worship services. When Saturday arrives, we make sure to include that extra invitation for families to join us in our closing program during Sabbath School and Church. Our guests are used to coming at that time during the week, so it is an easy transition.
At the conclusion of the VBS week, we invite our guests to continue coming out on Saturday mornings to enjoy similar programming to what they’ve experienced all week: Bible stories, games, object lessons, and so much more. Over the years, we have seen several families join our church because of our excellent Vacation Bible School program. In fact, even now we have a non-Adventist family that brings their small children to participate, who originally came because of VBS. It’s important for us to have strong, meaningful programs for our young people, because many times the children are the ones encouraging their parents to bring them to church and Sabbath School. Our goal is to make sure we do our best in planning and executing our programs so that neither child nor parent will want to miss out on a single minute of Sabbath School.
As we prepare for our Vacation Bible School this year, it is our prayer that our evangelistic efforts at VBS will encourage many to continue to come to our Sabbath Schools, children’s ministry events, church socials, cooking classes, and evangelistic series. We’d love for you to come and join us at Vacation Bible School on July 11-16 and see the importance we place on our children and their role in the church family.