Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education presents education as a progression in three levels: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Jim Kilmer applies this taxonomy to religious education, showing the three levels of each domain in terms of usability—ministering: cognitive (knowing), faith, and action.
1. Cognitive (Knowing)
2. Faith (Feeling)
3. Action (Doing)
Unfortunately, most Sabbath morning classes are stuck in the basement of level one, shuffling facts. The acclaimed member brings in new facts that no one else found. But the shuffle continues in the basement of level one, with no strategizing about using the principles of the Bible study at the end of the week of study, much less on a daily basis.
We must move upward to get to the doing: Imitation, practice, and finally, to habit: Fill yourself to the brim with “knowing,” level 1—Cognitive:
• Start on Sabbath afternoon by listening to the lesson for the entire week. Google “ssnet,” move to Study Guides, and then to the Podcast reading of the lesson for the entire week. If desired, follow along in your Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide lesson for each day. Replay the audio as often as needed or desired—about 40 minutes for the entire week’s lesson.
• On Sunday through Friday study each day’s written lesson (about 20 minutes) and/or listen to the audio lesson (40 min.). And—this is where the doing begins:
1. Connect the principle or principles for each day’s lesson with news items.
2. Write the connections in your lesson page or in a journal. Or record your findings on tape.
3. List with whom you can share this information. Based on some element of common ground, with whom could you interest in this information, e.g., a family member, neighbor, coworker, someone you meet on the commuter train each day, a stranger whom God may bring into your circle.
4. Choose the news item that would make a good conversation starter with which to bring in the Bible principle.
With daily practice, this little strategy session will take only about 60 minutes each day.
But the big payoff is that by the time you get to Sabbath School, you will not need any more facts (cognitive or knowing information). What you will want and need is to be affirmed for your efforts that week plus to affirm your fellow class members for their efforts, and that equals strategizing for ministry with the Sabbath School lesson.
In a word, movement from the basement of the bottom level in the taxonomy of Sabbath School education to the top level of doing (action) is a “we” process. This process can take off when supported by Sabbath morning class fellowship. This turns the tedious review by one or two members into the lively strategy session that improves class members’ witness. And that draws people to the Sabbath School class.
At the very beginning of my career as editor for the adult division Sabbath School journal, the General Conference Sabbath School director defined for me the four goals of Sabbath fellowship in a document I have called The Affirmation of Mission. Here is the section on Sabbath School fellowship (bold emphasis supplied and nomenclature updated):
- Fostering Christian fellowship in every aspect of the weekly Sabbath School program.
- Working together to develop and implement programs and projects for recruiting new members.
- Enlisting the help of all leaders, class facilitators, and regular members in helping to restore missing church members and absentee Sabbath School members to regular attendance and active participation in the life of the church.
- Carefully nurturing the spiritual interests of newly baptized members.
Faith Johnson Crumbly
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists