Feed Them to Capacity

Sabbath School Bible study can be fascinating and enjoyable when the leader plans facilitation with the overall objective of fostering the spiritual growth of class members. Class facilitators must ask themselves key questions, including these:

  • What knowledge do I want the class members to take away? (cognitive)
  • How do I want them to feel about this knowledge? (affective/faith)
  • What do I want them to do with what they have just learned? (psychomotor/action)

Since these key questions correspond to the general components of biblical faith, the facilitators’ role includes:

  • Motivating class strategists to use their own interests and experiences to help them focus on the lesson topics.
  • Motivating strategists to share lesson principles within the context of their interests and experiences.
  • Coaching strategists in their applications and sharing.

Your efficiency as class facilitator is improved in proportion to your commitment to learning and applying new methods. Teachers having difficulty in presenting a subject in an interesting, meaningful way usually find it useful to learn the spiritual and outreach needs of the people in their classes and plan how to meet these.

Since the Bible is meant to be studied, reflected on, and integrated into life, productive class facilitators avoid these common pitfalls:

  • Preaching
  • Just telling stories that are marginally related to the Bible study in question
  • Allowing the discussion to turn into a “rap” session

Seventh-day Adventists have distinctive Bible-based messages that must be focused on and presented according to the church’s fundamental beliefs. So class facilitators must see that each student in their class is fed and feed others to capacity to meet the spiritual needs. Facilitators must make the class vibrant and alive. Try these suggestions:

1. Raise questions relevant to the study topic. The daily news provides effective icebreakers.
2. Guide the discussions so that attendees have the larger portion of speaking time to share how they have used the lesson principles for their own spiritual growth and in sharing these principles with other people.
3. Connect the Bible answers in the lesson to issues of daily life in a manner that stimulates interest in Bible study and encourages active participation—not just in class but in the daily routine of the other six days of the week.
4. Connect activities, facts, and ideas that apply to the lesson in a focus on the Bible that meets the needs of imaginative, analytical, commonsense, and dynamic learners.
5. Model interpreting the Bible in relation to the historical context in which it was written and applied to the needs of Christians today.

Let’s review Ellen White’s counsel in Education, page 189, as it relates to this dichotomy:

“In daily study the verse-by-verse method is often most helpful. Let the student take one verse, and concentrate the mind on ascertaining the thought that God has put into that verse for him, and then dwell upon the thought until it becomes his own. One passage thus studied until its significance is clear is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained.”

Tony Philip Oreso
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists