The Wyoming, Michigan, Sabbath School has positively changed over the past two years. Let me share the actions we have taken and the results.
We made some changes in our organization. Our Sabbath School Council set regular meetings. We decided to meet quarterly and encourage all departments to attend because attendance had become lax and because some leaders had concluded that attendance was an optional part of their ministry rather than the essential component that it is.
We broadened the scope of leadership. We found that quarterly meetings did not manage the Sabbath-to-Sabbath operations well enough. So we enhanced the role of the coordinators-superintendents to include leadership of all Sabbath morning operations for children and adults. The leader for the adult program each Sabbath was the “go in” person to all divisions, visiting each division after the adult program. This review allows the coordinator-superintendent for the week to know the state of the whole Sabbath School.
Then all coordinators-superintendents meet each month to address issues for improvement and to prepare for the quarterly council meeting. In the new church officer training, we added a children’s ministry coordinator slot.
We increased local church training. Training is still an important part of our Sabbath School’s success. We sponsor workshops and post supporting resources on our church Web site.
Our Sabbath School organized a training seminar and invited the conference Sabbath School leaders to conduct training at our church. This was a major first step. We learned about resources that we were unaware of and have since added them to our program. We started this training weekend with a dedication service for Sabbath School leaders. We followed with expressing appreciation for them during the church service as well as during the training session on Sabbath afternoon.
Another local training event focused on youth. We invited the Michigan Conference youth director to conduct a seminar about intentionally leading people to Christ. Our summer camp program has had tremendous success in gaining spiritual decisions, and we wanted to learn how to apply the principles and practices to Sabbath School.
Our most recent local training focused on orientation for new facilitators-teachers and coordinators-superintendents.
We agreed to secure training by entities outside our church. Rather than wait to be informed about training, now we pursue getting training to meet our needs. Wyoming Sabbath School leaders have attended the Michigan Conference Youth Leadership Weekend at Camp AuSable, organized a regional Sabbath School training workshop for area churches with conference support, and attended seminars at camp meeting.
Our training is 24-7 in that we have created a Web site for our workers. We post and edit our quarterly adult program schedule as well as provide links to every Sabbath School Web site resource known to us. Our site is a one-stop source for missing student lessons, teachers’ helps, program ideas, crafts, mission stories, training certification, and social activities for all Sabbath School divisions.
We held one training seminar for both members and teachers.
When the lesson study was on Ephesians, we invited a Bible scholar and tour guide to conduct a Sabbath morning program and a slide show on Ephesian culture in the afternoon.
We increased our missions focus. At our seminars leaders learned why we need to focus on missions. Since then the superintendent downloads all versions of the Mission quarterly from the local wiki Web site link and distributes them to all divisions to present each week. We have put DVD players in place so that both divisions can view mission reports. And we made missions real by inviting a retired missionary couple to give mission presentations in both the adult and children’s divisions as well as at the 11:00 service.
The bottom line. A less exciting but vitally important secret to our success is the back-office operation planning and administration.
- We established budgets for each department beyond the Sabbath School study materials.
- We fund registration fees for off-campus training events.
- We budget for Sabbath School supplies so that workers don’t have to fund their own class material.
- We repaired one of the furnaces, because it was too noisy to conduct the earliteen class.
What is the secret to our success? We implement our desire to do God’s will through the Sabbath School by visioning and following through. Our Sabbath School members and our conference are recognizing our efforts.
Our secrets are out!
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists