Just as the human body cannot live without a heart, neither can your local church live without heart, and that heart is the Sabbath School. Just as the healthy heart of the human body enables healthy oxygen-filled blood to flow to all the extremities of the body through the arterial/venial functions enabling those extremities to grow, perform and improve, the healthy Sabbath School heart of the church with its various functions keeps the church growing, performing its mission and improving. Without an effective operating Sabbath School the church will die. It is the faithful members of the Sabbath School that are the faithful members of the church because they are the church at study. But study of the word of God is not the only role of the Sabbath School. In the Sabbath School there is increased spirituality for its members, harmony among members, shared missionary spirit, training of workers and the Sabbath School promotes Christian growth.
The Sabbath School and Personal Ministry (SSPM) leaders of the Michigan Conference, Kameron DeVasher and Mark Howard provided these realities at the recent Sabbath School Workshop at Camp Au Sable. The weekend was a well-organized, finely executed, Holy Spirit-led time where the attendees became “thoroughly equipped” (2 Tim 3:16) to do the expressed work of the Sabbath School departments in the churches within the Michigan Conference. These attendees were Sabbath School teachers, superintendents and secretaries of many churches in the Conference. We gathered information about the many resources that the SSPM has available to help us further the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church which is to win souls for Jesus by strengthening that Heart of the church, the Sabbath School (SS). These resources can be found on the MichiganSSPM.org web site where there are links for ordering SS supplies, to Mission Spotlight and local testimonies videos, and to the GROW Michigan initiative. Furthermore, there are folders full of sermon notes, videos, and Power Point slides that Pastors DeVasher and Howard presented this weekend, as well as a registration form to receive the new monthly newsletter, The MICHionary. The pastors also demonstrated the newly updated General Conference SS App that helps enhance the study of the weekly lesson for all divisions of the Sabbath School.
We learned how to teach as Jesus taught with authority, looking for conviction, and as was Jesus’ purpose, to transform people into firm believers. The only way we can teach like Jesus is to be filled and led by the Holy Spirit as He was.
We have to rejuvenate this heart of the Church by reviving our missionary emphasis. The Pastors provided outlines on how the SS program should be presented so that the global missionary focus may be illuminated and to demonstrate the Church’s global footprint. We are to re-emphasize the importance of the Mission offering and describe how those monies work to win souls globally. Teachers and superintendents should explain what the thirteenth Sabbath offering does as well as describe the work accomplished by Birthday Thank and Investment offerings. But missionary work does not have to be only foreign because we are to also reach our neighbor. This emphasis can be accomplished by sharing local and personal testimonies during the SS Program. We also should not forget our own church members who are sick and in need. Assign visitations. Every SS class, adult and children, should have a mission project be it global, local or personal—anything from supporting a foreign missionary to providing a meal for a sick member. Then classes should report on the progress of these projects during the weekly SS program.
These are just some of the discussions, demonstrations and ideas that were taught, described and emphasized during the weekend. The whole purpose of this training was equipping with tools to share Christ with others as we become stronger Sabbath School missionaries with a stronger more exercised Heart. All this was masterfully packed into one short weekend. Plan to attend next year. You will be blessed, invigorated, instructed, stimulated, and refocused for the charge of the church, winning souls.
Joy Hyde is an Adult Sabbath School Teacher of the Lakes Area Company.
Audio files of some of the weekend’s presentations are available here.