Sabbath School Potpourri

How do you study your Sabbath School lesson? Do you pour a hot drink and curl up on the sofa, or do you prefer to talk it over with your best friend? Do you doodle in the margins or fill in the blanks? Some adults learn best by hearing stories and sharing personal experiences. Other adults remember best what they see or touch.

A new class has begun at the church in Palmetto, Florida, for those who like to study by cutting and pasting or by literally drawing conclusions.

The class, which has chosen the name Creative Christians, is comprised mainly of church members ages 20-50, who either had not been attending Sabbath School at all or had attended sporadically. They are freethinkers who hold traditional values.

This class begins as all other classes do. The teacher or one of the members asks how each person is doing and what he or she wants the group to pray about. The leader calls each person’s name in prayer as he or she prays for each request. Then members plan how they will specifically contact each absentee.

The lesson study begins with each member taking responsibility for a main Scripture passage. As the class progresses, members share the verses in varying ways - a song or picture or statement about how the text relates to his or her life.

Next the leader presents a challenging assignment drawn from the lesson, such as representing the gifts of the Spirit on a color-coded human body, making a collage that illustrates the goals of Sabbath School outreach, or sculpting an illustration from plasticine clay.

Some challenges are assigned as group projects; others, individually or in pairs. The leader is responsible for facilitating the flow of conversation, keeping people honest and real without allowing members to feel threatened or in any way judged as a result of their sharing or preference not to be involved. The leader strives to maintain an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance while encouraging growth.

Students are served refreshments as part of the emphasis on inviting people to feel nurtured and at home. At first some of the hands-on activities worried a few church members who did not understand the mission of the class. Some church members feared that the class was straying from the sacred traditions of Sabbath School. But because class members also shared their concerns, they have had a growth in membership, and these members understand the goals of Sabbath School. The excitement the class has generated about having God in their midst is winning over most of the skeptics.

This new class is a direct answer to prayer. One of the most often heard expressions on Sabbath morning is “Praise God!”

Creative Christians
As class members labor together and share their creations, a number of things happen:

  • The lesson becomes meaningful at a new depth.
  • Spiritual truths become concrete realities.
  • Members expose their vulnerabilities and find affirmation.
  • Enthusiasm replaces boredom and alienation.
  • Sabbath School members begin to experience their true potential as creative children of the Creator.
  • Active learning predominates because the whole person is engaged with God!

Helene Hubbard
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists