New members, nonmembers, and interests from evangelistic meetings should be enrolled in a class especially designed for them. Why?
“When the arguments for present truth are presented for the first time, it is difficult to fasten the points upon the mind. And although some may see sufficiently to decide, yet for all this, there is need of going all over the very same ground again, and giving another course of lectures” (Evangelism, p. 334).
The primary function of this class is to provide a safe place for new members and nonmembers to grow and mature spiritually, to introduce participants to the teachings of the church, and to support them as they experiment with Adventism.
Churches are enabling additional times and sites. Wednesday has been suggested by some people as the day for a second class session if one is desired.
Make sure that the Bible is the textbook for whichever curriculum you choose. There are a number of useful resources that I suggest to use until these scholars graduate into standard adult classes and use the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.
Keepers of the Flame is a four-tape video series that shows the progression of truth from the Reformation to the present day. The series stresses the prophetic origin of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Purchase this series through your local Adventist Book Center (1-800-765-6955).
The Search is a 20-lesson video series with 20 lesson guides. The series presents the Adventist beliefs in a contemporary setting, and it is also available through AdventSource (1-800-328-0525) and the Adventist Book Center.
“Come Alive” is seven lessons about basic principles. “Stay Alive” is a set of 15 Bible study lessons that cover specific Bible truths. This doctrinal set is also available through the Adventist Book Center.
Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . is a hardcover book that presents the doctrines of our church. The book is available through the Adventist Book Center, and a study guide is available from AdventSource.
In His Steps presents the doctrines in a question-and-answer form. This paperback is sold by Seminars Unlimited (1-800-982-3344). Seminars on Daniel and Revelation are also produced and distributed by Seminars Unlimited.
Steps to Christ is a classic book by Ellen G. White. It is available online and at Adventist Book Centers.
“The Voice of Prophecy Discover Bible Lessons” provides excellent information.
Hart Research Center produces three videos that are good choices: Discover Jesus, Fulfilling the Gospel Commission, and Making Friends for God (1-800-487-4278).
A course on spiritual gifts is also a productive choice for this class.
Instruct greeters to direct all guests to the pastor’s class rather than to another class or to the general program. Spiritual guardians should accompany class members to this class.
Give the class an appealing name such as Truth Seekers. Lead the class to choose a service project.
The Key to Success
Although commonly called “the pastor’s class,” the teacher may be a local elder, a Sabbath School teacher, or anyone who has demonstrated the ability to relate well to non-Adventists.
New believers are often eager to share their faith. A “pastor’s class” provides them with an excellent opportunity to invite their friends to a class that focuses on creating a learning environment for people who have questions and misconceptions.
The teacher is key to the success of the class. So provide ongoing training in the small group process and learning styles. Train teachers to create a safe climate for discussion and asking questions. Help teachers understand the importance of allowing time for participants to share about their life’s journey. Stress the usefulness of participants sitting in a circle and of everyone using the same Bible version so that teachers can refer to texts by page number.
Imperatives for Teachers
Never put anyone on the spot during the discussion.
Make Christ the center of the discussion.
Plan fellowship outside the class session.
Include social events in the class agenda.
Periodically teach class members how to use a concordance.
Include a season of earnest prayer in every session.
Celebrate baptisms. Transfer members to a regular class after one year. Plan a graduation program.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists