Engage Your Sabbath School!

The Background

Few areas of the Lord’s work have the benefit of such a comprehensive Spirit of Prophecy discussion of its place, plan, and purpose as does the Sabbath School. Ellen White devoted hundreds of pages of her writings to this all-important entity. Picture, if you will, her young, talented, visionary husband pouring over his Bible and concordance, transforming a dream into reality as he prepared the first lessons to be printed in the Youth’s Instructor. The Sabbath School was born right in the White household! And James and Ellen were watchful “parents” of this special “child” of theirs for the rest of their lives.

In the Lord’s work, departments have come into existence on the basis of need. Gradually it became apparent that the nurture and outreach of the Advent people had to be approached in a systematic way. Ultimately this led to the creation of several departments, including the Sabbath School Department. Each became an entity with a specific task to meet a specific need.

A hundred years and more have slipped into eternity since those first compelling words on the Sabbath School came from the pens of James and Ellen. And it is possible that in those intervening years we have lost a little of the vision and enthusiasm that originally surrounded the Sabbath School.

Counsels on Sabbath School Work was prepared in 1938. This book contains snippets of advice, encouragement, burden, instruction, and straight testimony drawn from Ellen’s lifelong devotion to this cause. And the counsels are as clear and compelling as the day they were written. The place and purpose of the Sabbath School have never changed. The questions are: Have we read these words recently? Are we steering the ship to the right harbor? Time inevitably dims memory, and reminders of inspired counsel are never out of place.

The Sabbath School is not just a reformed Sunday School rooted in Robert Raikes’s plan to get the children off the streets and to teach them stories from God’s Word. The Sabbath School came early in our history to meet three preeminent needs:

  1. The nurture of the members, providing them with a plan of systematic study of the Word.
  2. A regular meeting to which those not of the Advent faith could come and join in study and find the Lord and His truth for time’s last hours. 
  3. An organization in which the needs of those in countries around the world could constantly be brought to the attention of the Lord’s people, helping them to be sensitive and generous, and to aid in the accomplishment of the Great Commission in all the world.  

The Plan

Following a well-accepted procedure, you can chain-reference a number of selected passages and in this way assemble from Counsels on Sabbath School Work those segments that speak on a common theme. As in Bible study, complete chains of references speak to us in a way in which a single, isolated sentence may not.

The Index

Use the index printed on the next page. Paste it to the back flyleaf of your personal copy of Counsels on Sabbath School Work. The page numbers given indicate the pages in Counsels on Sabbath School Work where study begins.

How to Chain-reference

There are 20 separate outlines to be marked. We will take you through 13 outlines. Each series has a code letter. The first series is coded “A,” the second “B,” etc. The complete list of the 12 outlines is to be found in the boxed list on page 5. 

Note that after each code is the title of the individual topic (for example, “A. The Importance of Study” and “B. Attitudes to Study”).

At the end of each series, write the code letter in the margin alongside the underlined words. Then draw a small square beside the code letter to indicate the end of the study guide series.

Taken from Roy Naden, Make Your Sabbath School Come Alive, pp. 5-9.

You can take the studies at your own pace, alone or with others from your Sabbath School. To receive your certificate when you have completed the series, send a copy of the completed form on this page to the office of J. Alfred Johnson, Adult Ministries, North American Division, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600.



Sabbath School Leadership
Study Guide Series for
Counsels on Sabbath School Work



Church Name:



Mail to:
J. Alfred Johnson
Adult Ministries
North American Division
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600

Study Guides
Counsels on Sabbath School Work

SG 1. Spotlight Focused on the Bible
A. The Importance of Study
B. Attitudes to Study

SG 2. Always Reaching Out
E. Reaching the Hearts of Your Sabbath School Members
F. Reaching Out to the Community

SG 3. Getting It Together at the Top
G. Leadership of the Sabbath School
H. Approach in the Sabbath School
I. The Youth Sabbath School

SG 4. Better Do Your Homework
J. Getting Things Together at Home

SG 5. Running on the Right Track
L. Following the Divine Model

SG 6. Sabbath School’s Most Important Person
M. Spiritually Prepared for the Work
O. The Most Wanted and Unwanted Teachers

SG 7. Making the Lesson Come Alive
P. Preparing the Lesson

SG 8. Giving Means Living
S. Attitudes Toward Giving

© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists