Some Sabbath Schools are using Sabbath School time once or twice a month to lead members into the neighborhoods to witness. When Denise Johnson, the personal ministries leader for the New Joy Fellowship church in Hagerstown, Maryland, decided to lead members during the lesson discussion time to distribute women’s devotionals to neighbors they had contacted after church the Sabbath before, many members insisted on going along. Teacher for the juniors, Debra Banks, exclaimed, “This goes along with the lesson they’ve been studying all week!” She took her entire class. Denise’s daughter volunteered to stay with the cradle roll-kindergarten class, so their teacher could walk the pavement, too.
When members returned, Andrea Wiley, superintendent, had already had her husband put away the equipment for showing a filmed missionary effort and arranged chairs in the front of the sanctuary so that returning witnesses could sit up front to share their experiences. “We are going to have a live mission story today,” she told the returning group.
Sometimes members need to be nudged; sometimes they need to be led. Sabbath morning evangelism is a welcomed approach by many who otherwise would never be engaged with church neighbors or their community at large. Going with the Sabbath School once a week also can involve those who haven’t been attending Sabbath School and encourage them to stay for 11:00 worship—that they may not have been attending either.
Time Is Short; the Unprepared Are Many
Questions start the brain pumping as we try to give honest, forthright answers. So, do people in your corner of the ministry vineyard know that you exist—a church full of Seventh-day Adventists committed to your own growth and to theirs? Do you keep yourselves on their minds?
Having a choice church location is a big plus that can reap a harvest only when people are continually informed about what’s going on inside the building, why, when, and specifically for whom. Radio, television, and Internet connections are a blessed part of our Sabbath School evangelism, but they’re not the whole show.
Get eye level. You’ll need to be sure to get down to eye level with the immediate community. Do you have:
- Large, attractive, regularly updated signage that promotes specific features of Sabbath School?
- Flyers placed in stores and businesses, laundromats, dry cleaners, beauty shops, barber shops, etc.—weekly—to give a close-up snapshot of your programs?
- Free community services announcements on radio and television—monthly?
Are your members on their agenda? The world is abuzz on Sabbath morning with men, women, and children going many more places than to Sabbath School. The community is out and about making appointments or meeting appointments—on time.
Where are your neighbors going that Sabbath School members can join them to put life to Mark 3:4 during one Sabbath School session each month?
Brainstorm about this. Your Sabbath School Council and your members will share ideas specific to your community to get members into small but regular doses of Sabbath morning evangelism. And who knows, like the members of New Joy Fellowship, monthly forays into the community could become habit forming. And who knows, “Seventh-day Adventist” could become a household name in your community.
Faith Johnson Crumbly
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists