The Sabbath School Leader as an Organizer

Organization is a key to success. The Sabbath School leader (SSL) knows that the Sabbath School must be organized to help it have maximum effectiveness. The SSL remembers Paul’s words: “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).

Organizational Skills

There are three critical areas for the SSL to practice organization to make the Sabbath School effective. Your personal style, the tools that you use to assist you, and the way you follow up may be different, but if these are not present, the Sabbath School will falter. Every Christian leader works to be a success in these areas. God’s grace helps us when we have challenges. Let’s review these key areas.

1. Taking personal time alone with God

You spend time with God. Is it on an emergency basis? Help! Sabbath School starts in an hour! Or is it a daily walk that includes the importance of listening to God speak through His Word, nature, and the Sabbath School lesson. (Yes, it is vital that you drink at the same well you are asking the teachers and members to visit.)

2. Communicating effectively

You communicate with others every day all the time. Is there a plan to your communication? Is your communication primarily a response to others, or do you initiate communication to outline the direction that you are going and want the Sabbath School to go? Do phone calls, letters, and e-mails get your response in an organized way? Do you communicate on a schedule that meets your plan?

3. Keeping a balance in your personal life

The balance between the urgent and the important is a key to personal organization. The SSL who does the important things each day will have a successful Sabbath School. Taking time to pray, eat, sleep, exercise, enjoy healthy relationships, and have joy each day will put the SSL on the path to success.

Organizing the Sabbath School Leader*

The Sabbath School will be no more organized than its leader. You may wisely not do it all, but you must organize and follow up on those who help you. Here are a couple of simple techniques that can help you as SSL:

Group or bunch all your Sabbath School communications, then set aside a time after praying over the list to call, write, or e-mail. This may be daily, weekly, or on your schedule. The key is to do it deliberately.

Use an alarm, such as a special alarm that allows for daily and/or multiple alarms (found on electronic clocks, cell phones, or computers). Cell phones are ideal because they are usually nearby and allow for daily repeatable alarms. Set up an alarm for prayer, for devotion, and for such other things as exercise or calling SS teachers. Do this for two weeks, and you will have a new habit!

Organizing the Sabbath School

The primary tool for organizing the Sabbath School is systematic, predictable communication. If there are times your assistants and teachers do not know who is doing what and where, then these are a couple of ideas that can help.

  • Send a message each week with who, what, where, and why of the upcoming Sabbath School. Lists or tables can be helpful. This can be done by a short weekly letter (expensive in time and cost), a longer e-mail (expensive in time), or an e-mail/phone call to the head of your Sabbath School prayer chain. You choose how much time you have and how much you can give to someone else. You may want to start and then share the responsibility when it becomes part of your Sabbath School culture. When your team knows that they can expect communication from you, they will depend on it and raise the level of the Sabbath School to expect success.
  • A regular time for the SSL to be available can meet many communication and relationship needs for the Sabbath School. This can be done by letting your team know that you are available for ideas and questions about the Sabbath School. It might be setting aside a time after Sabbath School teachers’ meeting once a month, an hour for phone calls once a week, or a Sabbath School Facebook page that you monitor. Just choose one way that you communicate the best and do it regularly.

The Sabbath School will function smoothly if all individuals know what they are expected to do, they are trained in preparation for doing it, and the results are reviewed by everyone involved.

Jerrell Gilkeson
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists