How to Start a New Believers Class

There are just two essential human-directed components that determine whether a new believers class will be successful:

  1. 1. A Facilitator. A member who loves people and wants to be involved in winning them to God’s kingdom.
  2. 2. Participants. People who want to learn how God’s Word can change their lives.

Choose Study Aids 

If the study is to focus on Seventh-day Adventist doctrine, choices of study material include Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, Christ’s Object Lessons, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, and Seventh-day Adventists Believe.

Or if the study is to focus on helping participants become familiar with the Bible, use books that have published study guides. Steps to Christ and The Desire of Ages are two possibilities. Other good choices, such as Patriarchs and Prophets, will require that you make your own study questions.

Promotion 

Announce the class for several weeks during the announcement segment of 11:00 worship and in the bulletin. The class facilitator must be enthusiastic and throw open the door to the church family by letting members know this class is a good opportunity for them to invite nonmember friends, family, work associates, etc., to Sabbath School.

The Right Location

You want a place where participants can sit facing one another, either by sitting in a circle or at a table. Using a table enables participants to spread out their study materials.

Format

Pray. Begin your class with prayer. Make a list of special prayer requests that you will pray about at the end of the class session. Also close the study time with prayer. Begin having the class take part in prayer as you see who is taking hold. Giving them the opportunity to participate in interceding for each other helps bind them together. The class will begin to be a core group and they will look forward to coming each week. This is important because many times their old relationships begin to drop off, and they need new friends who share their beliefs.

Share

Include a sharing period so participants can be affirmed for their witnessing efforts during the week. Sharing not only enables participants to learn new methods and material but also enables them to share their own successful approaches.

Study the Word

It is important to explore each question in the lesson. Don’t be surprised or concerned if it takes several weeks for new believers to get into a routine of Bible study. So make sure that all participants have the benefit of “class study” time. And don’t worry if it takes two weeks to go through one lesson. Remember that the goal is to build a solid foundation in a new relationship with Jesus.

Other Helpful Hints

  • Facilitators must get into participants’ comfort zones. It is important that new believers begin handling the Word by participating in class discussion. You will have to learn what will draw each person into conversation. The atmosphere of the class should be such that all participants feel comfortable asking questions. Sometimes it just takes one or two of their class members to lead the way.
  • Facilitators model openness. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest and tell them you don’t know. Research it and bring an answer back the next week. But be sure you follow up on this!
  • Facilitators help class members bond with the pastor. Invite your pastor to the class as often as they want to be there. Class members will look forward to five or 10 minutes of interaction with the pastor each week. This gives the class time to get to know their pastor, and often they will ask the pastor questions they won’t ask facilitators.

Teachers Stretch 

“Those who profess to love the truth must put to the stretch their powers, that they may comprehend the deep things of the Word, that God may be glorified and His people may be blessed and enlightened” (Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 25).


Patti Cohn
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists