The purpose of the Sabbath School is to make disciples for Christ. It includes the nurture of spiritual growth in members and prospective members, as well as the unchurched who come to join in the fellowship, study, sharing and service. The Sabbath School exists not only to minister to its members, but to train those members to minister to others. The Sabbath School is a school of Christian living, not just an event on Sabbath mornings. It can include Bible study groups that meet at other times also. Its purpose is evangelistic, not ritualistic.
Every Christian believer is called to ministry, gifted by the Holy Spirit, and in baptism ordained for ministry (Eph. 4:11-12). In Acts 2:42-47 the Bible gives us a blueprint for the Sabbath School. Verse 42 outlines the goals of the Sabbath School as “teaching and fellowship,” and “breaking bread and prayer.” Verses 43-45 illustrate the strong sense of togetherness, caring and support that must be present in the Sabbath School in order to create a proper atmosphere for learning and growth. Verse 46 indicates that this can happen both in church buildings and in home Bible study groups, or what Adventists have called “Branch Sabbath Schools” and verse 47 demonstrates how this is essential to a growing church.
The Sabbath School is a lay ministry. It is run, staffed and funded by church members, not the clergy. God calls every member of the church into ministry, and the Sabbath School is the place of preparation, support and empowerment for ministry. It is, therefore, essential to have lay involvement and leadership in its operation.
Duties of the Sabbath School Coordinator
The ministry to which a person is called when he or she becomes general coordinator of the Sabbath School can be described in the following ways:
- Developing leadership. You will supervise all the leaders of the Sabbath School and encourage them to evaluate the effectiveness of their division/ class in meeting the goals of the church. You should make arrangements for them to get the training, support, and resources they need.
- Chairing the Sabbath School committee. This group includes the superintendent, assistant superintendents, secretary, assistant secretaries, division leaders, Investment secretary, adult class leaders and an elder (In some churches the personal ministries leader and youth leader are included). The committee should meet monthly to build teamwork.
- Building a strong evangelistic agency. Help your team develop a growing, caring fellowship and an excellent learning environment.
- Recruiting volunteers. There is a constant need to find helpers for every aspect of the Sabbath School. You are the person who must take the initiative to identify potential helpers, personally invite them to get involved, and assist them in getting started.
- Planning ahead. It will be your responsibility to help your Sabbath School leaders plan ahead and to participate in the total planning process of the church board and/or church ministries council. You will want to be familiar with the policies and plans of the North American Division of the General Conference, and your local conference church ministries department.
Responsibilities in the Local Church. North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists. Copyright © 1997, Revised 2017. Permission to copy for local church use.