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ALIVE - Part 1

Kameron DeVasher


Kameron DeVasher

Director of Sabbath School & Personal Ministries, Michigan Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church




  • June 17, 2019
    1:00 PM
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Thank you so much for this day thank you for keeping us safe through the night giving us life at all and now giving us the opportunity discuss the important work of Sabbath school Lord and many of our churches Sabbath school is failing if not dying but it is our prayer through our diligent effort and your miraculous power that you would make Sabbath school alive for pray this in Jesus' name amen. Before we get started I want to make sure that I give you these 2 resources digital resources you notice I don't have any handouts we don't have a Powerpoint thing but all of those materials are coming there just not to the finished product I can put in your hand today but I'm going to show you where you can get good material starting right now Ok the 1st one as I mentioned is the general conferences Sabbath school person ministries page especially when it comes to the Sabbath school alive initiative the website for that is a Live dot Adventist dot au argy Ok put it on the board here a live dot Adventist and it's not case sensitive so I just put it in capitals so you can see it clearly this as I said is the g c The general conferences s s p in the Sabbath school page Ok now s s p m anybody got to guess Sabbath school personal ministries they go now I know we know one of the things we're saddled with is the world's longest departmental title the Sabbath school and personal ministry said it so it's not how do you even come up with a website and then we have to say Michigan conference happens cool person and people like I quit they want to type so what we've done in our department. Is for our website we've done this just the word Michigan. And the abbreviation s s p m. O r g Ok so this is the Michigan conference Well I'd say it's a mission conference at but it's in the name so you can see it already but it's these are the 2 websites I'm going to be encouraging you to visit Ok much of the material we discuss is going to be found in fact all of the notes from this image are will be posted on this website Ok Michigan s.s.p. we know that not there now but they will be Ok the much of the material we're going to discuss already if you had a little computer right now or smartphone you go to a Live dot admin is dot org And you would get a lot of information were discussed Ok just to let you know that this is not just going to be stuck in the room here and by the way I need to pass this around as my have I been instructed by those over me please just sign in real quick and pass it on throughout the room. Yes So a Live dot admin is org and Michigan s s p m dot org This is the general conference when this is the local one Mark Howard and I have exclusive control over this once we get to put up what we want and make it what we want to be this when we partner with the General Conference now of course the person who runs this one is Jim Howard so Mark Howard and Jim Howard have a connection so they're going to see some striking similarities like looks like these guys are in cahoots Yes we are and that's a blessing and all seriousness though this really is a blessing because. One of the you know obviously Mark and Gemini and different people who are we work together here in Michigan and so when you it it's not like taking away both of us view this is adding to the help it's a help for Michigan conference because for instance when we went to do you'll find on the a lot about admins dot org And another one if you like personal ministries It's grow dot administers org but you'll find all these and also on our website we have the same videos posted but there's these training videos that we got to make Well the good thing is we got to put together the video material and then go to the hope channel studios and use their studios and they produced it and everything like that because it's from the General Conference Barber but instead of hiring other employees Jim gets to work with us here as basically a research and development lab and we get to use their toys and tools over there and it's a good symbiotic relationship so basically what the world church stuff gets to put together Michigan gets to help develop and be on the tip of the spear so it's a really helpful relationship so the Lord has blessed in that way so I would encourage both of those sites alive dot advocates dot org And Michigan s s him dot org But let's talk a little bit today the burden of our time together today to see you know is not to fix Sabbath school now that's the burden of our time this week but today we want to just do a little diagnosis right and try to get an understanding of where we are and how we get a little bit Ok I want to start with this counsels on Sabbath school work page 115. The abbreviation for that if you're ever looking up in the l. a white after the CD-Rom is c s w 115 and I'll make a little plug right here for that resource that is a tremendous compilation if you've never read calluses on Sabbath school work you are derelict in your duty your negligent already I'm doing this needs to be a prerequisite of anyone who works in Sabbath schools a pick up a copy of that and go through it good good material and we find this on this page 115 sat the Sabbath school come a if rightly conducted comma is one of God's great instrumentalities to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth. One of God's great instrumentalities to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth but it does not say that the Sabbath school is that thing it says the Sabbath school and then it qualifies as saying the Sabbath school if what was the phrase rightly conducted which implies any time you have an adjective rightly or if there is a true something that means there is also the pencil of a false something right if there is a rightly that means there could be a wrongly so it does not mean just if you have Sabbath school. Welcome to come in if you want to close the door for it sailed come on in that any old Sabbath schools is going to be great no is not. I think that we are living in a time when we see some Sabbath school that are poorly or wrongly conducted but the goal is to have status quo rightly conducted is one of God's great instrumentalities to bring souls to a knowledge of the truth now currently in the Arctic day today in many parts of the world field. Now a pause right here when I say the world field and I don't want to talk down anyone but I'm I'm always a little bit flummoxed at how many laypeople don't conceive of the structure of the 7th Day Adventist Church. So for instance you understand that the local church is the most basic close to the ground a constituent body right now that has a relationship to other churches called a sisterhood of churches and a conference Yes Ok and then those conferences like for instance everyone here has a local church in Michigan except for our you know are Alaskans in Ohio and Virginia but you have local churches there too but here in the Michigan converts all the streets where the Michigan conference of 7 Davus which i'm always have to say was the 1st conference in the world church you know that but we have to say it every year Ok. But the event having a general conference like look at that Michigan conference might have other states had conferences and all those joined together to make a general conference who had a folk right. But as it currently stands you have a local church then you have the local conference and then a group of conferences together is a union right and all the unions together make up a division is incorrect. They make up the General Conference divisions are not their own constituent bodies we do not elect division presidents we do not have division constituency meetings there is no division constitution and bylaws did you know what is it thank you let's think it through what's implied in the word. It's a division of what of the General Conference it is simply a geographic zone of the General Conference. True story so for instance all division presidents are vice presidents of the General Conference and they're appointed and they're elected at the General Conference session to be the supervisors of that territory of the General Conference so that the constituency bodies are general conference then the union and then the local comes just little things like that I was really going somewhere with that because we're Thomas have a school. You know where we go yes the World Church Oh yes thank you yes now in the North American division our membership represents what percentage of the world church anybody know in red rough terms 1012 the other guesses. $36.00 are will stop the bidding at $36.00. The correct answer is 6. Now that means that well over 90 percent of the 7th Avenue in the world do not live in North America. One out of every 370 having us listen Africa the countries that go back and forth for raw numbers of 7 Davenant in one nation you may want to guess the top 2 there are always jostling for 1st place that would be Brazil and India fascinating let's be clear u.s. Canada from all of North America is about 6 percent of the world church Ok now now we're not getting into the now the demographics and politics of it all that kind of stuff there are all kinds of different variables that go into that yes because the dollar is a very strong in the world field and so on American dollar goes a lot farther than whatever that's fair and there are all kinds of contours and historical balances but the reality is we oftentimes think that man this is where it's happening is right here that's right and so we might say oh savvy schools is dying across no it's not. Is dying here let me tell you something there are places in the world field where Sabbath school is thriving there are many parts of the world field where Sabbath school is better attended than the worship service today in many parts of the world attendance and participation in Sabbath school exceeds that of every other church function including the Sabbath worship service in such areas Sabbath school is regarded as an ideal opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to learn the truth of God's word and experience the love of a United Church family unfortunately we don't live in the as the world field this is our field this is our distinct challenge. That's no longer the norm for much of the developed world in the western world and I say develop what Western world and that usually includes North America Europe and Australia sometimes referred to as the global north sometimes the 1st world or the whatever you want to call it right but you add all of those territories up and it shakes out to about 1012 percent of the world church but in those places and Michigan faithful good ole Michigan is not immune from this trend Ok is that Sabbath school is dwindling and I believe we need to breathe new life into the local to search Sabbath school program reviving this vital ministry into the soul winning agency the Lord intended it to be it's our goal to help make 7 lives right now to be clear that wasn't always the case even in North America perhaps in the lifetime some people in this room Sabbath school used to be a thing. Remember that it was it was it was at least the size of war service I mean you would get when you came to church it implied you would come to Sabbath school and church right that the do the Sabbath day our corporate convocation right started at $930.00 or $915.00 or whatever and it went till after the sermon it wasn't seen as their sabs And then there's the worship service right I have some pet theories about them all explore them a little bit today I could be wrong even though I don't like the thought of that. But I believe that there are some reasons why we're seeing that happen and one of the keys to pulling us out of this ditch is for lay people to recognize the very role in leading their local churches Ok we'll get into that little bit there's a reason the Sabbath school and personal ministries go together but let's go a little history lesson how we got here just real quickly in 852 the very 1st Sabbath school lessons were written by anybody got no. James White is the correct answer and published in a new periodical dedicated to teaching and training in young people but you know the net title of that little magazine they use instructor one of the very 1st publications of the 7 demist church was a magazine for young people write quote in speaking about this quote in a little article from the review Herald called a paper for children and July 852 James White explained we design publishing a small monthly paper containing matter for the benefit of the youth the children should have a paper of their own one that will interest and instruct him we feel more on this subject than we could express May God wake up his people to a sense of their duty to those young minds intrusted to their care to guide in the channel of virtue and holiness All right while those 1st lessons were intended quote for the benefit of the youth since there were no lessons at that time for adults the youths instructor became that regarded as the general Sabbath school curriculum for all ages right those lessons that he was writing everybody started studying them the following year 853 James and Ellen White form the 1st step is to class and their Rochester New York home so I started writing lessons started basically inventing Now clearly they came from churches I had Sunday schools right but this is before the nomination of 7th Day Adventists existed so these are just the advent believe Sabbath keepers and they said you know what we need some auxilary more than just the worship service they are typically having so over the next 10 years many Sabbath school classes were started among this admittedly VORs using the lessons provided in the use instructors It was the defacto quarterly if you will of the time these early 7 had only 2 divisions there was the Children's Division and the one called for they don't call the Bible class and $863.00 the 1st series of Sabbath school lessons adapted specifically for children were prepared so not just the use instructor articles but they made lessons just for Sabbath school for children. And the same year the 1st adult lessons written by your ra a Smith now appeared in the review and herald so that there started to be more of a curriculum for it and not just the thing you picked up in the youth instructor but now there was the Sabbath school lessons and there was the adult Sabbath school lessons and it was still right there at the beginning opening year of the denomination $863.00 so as long as there has been 7th Day Adventists officially we've had Sabbath school as part of it it wasn't until a few years later 969 that the Sabbath school program itself was given more specific focus and direction a brother by the name of good low Harper Bell Goodloe Harper Bell a pioneer teacher in Battle Creek Michigan became editor of the youth instructor and through that he developed a plan of organization providing for a staff of officers and regular reports of attendance so this was a curriculum minded man he liked structure and organization he said Sabbath school it's nice that you have these lessons but the hope program every local church is a little bit willy nilly you know we need some structure we need to count how many people there start at the right time and have all these you know kind of structures there in 885 Bell began the Sabbath school work or a periodical devoted to supporting and guiding local Sabbath school leaders in teachers in their work there's a whole publication just for Sabbath school teachers and 880 s. under Bell's direction the number of active status calls multiply greatly in the 7th heaven is church growing to more than 800 representing well over 20000 South was cool members by the end were almost done with down history lesson but here's what we got by the end of the 19th century the 7th heaven church was growing both numerically and geographically and the scope of Sabbath school expanded to it was just to review the things we knew from the Bible lessons but what could we do with this tool of Sabbath school people started to kind of expand that vision. Thus Ellen White could write in $892.00 how quote the object of Sabbath school work should be the in gathering of souls right so it is not just a helpful reminder to the believers we already have of stuff we already know it was intended to be a mechanism for bringing in new souls to this message right but a lot of times I think we've kind of lost focus on that for instance and will come to this if you miss but I will jump ahead I don't know well I don't know how to ask it or say it but. It sounds wrong to say stop inviting people to church of course you want to buy people to church but if you did invite someone to church you'd say hey once you come to church and they said Great what time does it start most we would say 11 o'clock we have developed and I'm going to go into why I think that is a mindset that the real thing is church and Sabbath school is the parsley on the plate it's the side dish it's an optional other thing for a few people who show up early you know I'm not saying stop inviting people to church obviously what I'm saying is start inviting people to Sabbath school and expect them to stay for church right but a lot of times as we have it now we do it it does seem across our mind to invite people to have a school it's just not even on the radar screen of our thinking so my question is what happened to our minds yes ma'am Ok so is it the fault of the people for not inviting of all the Sabbath school for not being inviting what we're going to get we can get into the lesson curriculum kind of stuff like that but I would say that you can teach any lesson in such a way that anybody walking up the street can be blessed by the Sabbath school come a if rightly conducted you know got to keep that in my brother you have a comment or question. Ok now let's go ahead finish your thought. Or. That's certainly an option they make beginner's Quarterly's basically for you know for the New Believers class type of thing that's an option. But let's continue on with the thought right because we're going to get into some of these practical ideas but let's set the philosophical mindset 1st Ok we finish our history lesson with this thought looking back over more than a century of service the General Conference Sabbath school department reviewed its history and purpose in 1974 affirming that quote the Sabbath school was developed to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ responded in response to the command of Jesus and in the setting of the 3 angels messages in harmony with his original purpose Sabbath school continues to communicate the good news with the objective to win hold and train for Jesus Christ men and women youth boys and girls and all the world now I like those 3 objectives there to win what was the 2nd one hold and I'm going to have to use a different marker because these do not work at all when there we go when hold and train. When them to the truth hold them in the truth and train them to give the truth so there is a more active something in Sabbath school a richer broader purpose than merely reviewing things we already know Ok now I'm I don't know if any of you've ever. Heard my diatribe about settled pastors anybody heard me go off on that I want to go off it's not just I believe it's a biblical concept not just opinion but but essentially in a nutshell. 2 I think fascinating parallel trends have occurred and I think they're interrelated when 7 Devon's church began we have statement after statement from pioneers who would say things like we have no settled pastors. Ok for the 1st probably 3040 at least maybe 50 years of 70 Mr Church basically no settled pastors now we had pastors for sure but their job was to work primarily the Vangelis a new field and to train up the Sabbath I mean to train up the local people to handle their own churches and they would go off right on the biblical model right Paul would go preach a place raise up believers set up elders and get the deacons in order and then leave and then he'd come back on a visit he'd write a letter that kind of thing but the local churches kind of attended to themselves and the 7 starts that's what the period of our biggest growth in explosive you know expansion was when we had the fewest pastors and even now I would challenge you with this I've never had anyone I don't know of a being on done it but never heard anybody contradict it and that is go to the admin is research statistics page I don't know the exact But if you google administers to sticks it will take you to the right website and you can look at any 2 fields conference versus conference union vs Union whatever Ok and just look at one variable see how many churches each pastor has. So look at the ratio of churches to pastors right and every single time the territories that have to share pastors more are growing faster even today and $2900.00 regardless of geography or socio economic whatever. Language does no one fairy ball is that now let me be clear I am a pastor I love pastors I work with pastors I think there's a clear role for pastors but I believe what has happened. Is We've seen a trend toward pastor dependency in the 7 Devastator church and if I can say this carefully we've begun to imbibe just a little drop or 2 methodologically of the wine a battle and. Now I know we think of the what a babbling like oh we're selling off if I'm not saying that what I'm saying is nothing to logically and how we operate the church we've drifted a little towards Catholicism in the sense that in many places they wouldn't say this but the pastor is regarded as the priest. How many people are sick in the hospital he could have an elder 2 deacons in the Pathfinders come and visit and pray with you and sing for you and they're still going to like I didn't get a visit because what they meant is the pastor didn't come right we think of an anointing service as a last rites it's not we're praying for healing not a safe transition to the next where you know you know to say this is not what we're doing. Now let's go back to that room of the attendance thing why don't people show up at 11 but they will be at 113-5114 you I'm 45 what happens at that point and get past those preliminaries were come back to that dirty word I don't like that word but yes but that's when the pastor gets up and preaches and in many cases the sermon has become a sacrament what the way for is on the tongue the sermon is on the ear right and as long as I am in the room and I hear some sermon I got church. I can miss a song serves the testimony the baptism Bible study all the other things if I get some sermon and I was just right for a few minutes and I got church and then we started thinking about evangelism it's not my job to go in souls you got a pastor for that I pay good tie dollars for that right my job is to pray for and pay for his ministry become very pastor dependent and interesting Lee. I would love to do a really really tight study of this but the trend of increased pastor dependency has mirrored I'm going to guess to the year day week month you know the decline in Sabbath school participation Now why is that again I have some theories but in most churches pastor doesn't own Sabbath school a lot of churches pastors not even there for Sabbath school and I'm not thrown under the bus he might have 234 churches or more right he's not supposed to be a Sabbath school who supposedly downs out. Lay people right but he was a real thing pastors it. Is only real church and he's there and when he speak we need not just a revival of spiritual life which we do but we need a reformation in how we operate the functions of the local church and that's again why I love this part because it's Sabbath school and person ministries are primarily if not exclusively Lay led initiatives in the local church so let's go through this a little bit. By the way the same decline is happening prayer meaning Well you notice that because I talked about that in this diagnostic You might have 350 on the books but 150 in the pew and then it satisfies all might be you know 7080 a night and then it prayer me might be 10 to 1520 something like that right you see but I have noticed something interesting we want the benefits of those programs without the participation and attendance in them personally so what happens is we get to go around all kinds of fun churches and everything around the conference now it was interesting when your local pastor people like what happened in that church I don't know anything about the church I know the one church I'm in that's it or the 2 church that's everything but now you can go around and see if they all fascinate this is how people do in church and sometimes it's awesome in a lot of. Well sometimes it's awesome let's just say that. But what I've noticed is for instance. They'll be the they'll have praise and prayer requests right and it's not just it used to be the pastoral prayer we've mentioned someone has particular 6 templates all kneel for prayer and someone would pray the elder or the pastor right but now we take requests do you have any prayer ques you have any praise you have any this and we pass the microphone a recipe or have a garden prayer people in front people and there's I'm not put in print but you know we have an entire meeting each week devoted to prayer. Right. It is a good point isn't enough. But we're laughing at that because we know nobody comes to prayer meeting but we want the benefits of prayer meetings where he put it in the worship service the one thing people show up to we put it in the worship service. It's a real thing. Also all the announcements have to be in the worship service now because we don't want to say something sad is cool because nobody will be there hear it any person ministers training any special testimonies any special features any bad has any special things or anything we want people actually here put in the worship service and hopefully later in the worst of it if you can get it right and then else what right before the breach is all that's going to hit everybody. Because we know that's the only thing people show up to write we have to get away from this thinking that the worship service is the grand one stop shop of everything when church is supposed to be a life of the members right you look at the early church in Acts chapter 2 it didn't say those new converts met weekly it said continuing daily in the temple right and breaking bread from house to house they were there was small group there was accountability there was prayer there was outreach there was bible study and the idea of like oh only going to go and who's preaching it by the way his wife has a very strong comma She said our church members should not expect a sermon every Sabbath and already I can promise you some in this room are already thinking like what if we didn't have a sermon what's the point. Was the point to even get out of saying that we have come to think about it that's our Eucharist we have to have it or it's not even sure. Trust me system or come into it but yes we have to think like what church be like if the house were there any were preaching a sermon what friends there are some unique distinctive features especially in the Sabbath school and yes in the prayer many a new worship that if you miss any one of them you missed something right the worship service is now considered to be by many to be a one stop shop for all church functions instead of attending prayer meeting we have extended prayer times in the worship service Similarly all announcements testimonies baptism to set her and our place in the worship service because that's the only thing people come to I'd love to see an experiment some time do about tism in the Sabbath school if you say hey did you see the baptism like oh you want to say Tibet. 1st by the way that's my 1st tangible recommendation is we need to change our attitude and posture towards apps cool. Put the good stuff where it belongs and let people miss out if they miss it pastors are regarded as priest sermons or sacraments etc So we guess we need to change our posture about satisfy we need to recognise that Sabbath school is half of the entire church experience each week. Typically the schedule goes something like this right you have and it's obviously it's different for all. I can just move this. Victim of the screen I run this place little screen. Thanks Aereo typically And clearly you have different church districts and different you know constraints or whatnot but typically Sabbath school starts around 930 and goes to roughly let's say 11 and the worship service goes from 11 to roughly 1230 that generally true Ok I pretty much write our sites 915 goes if Ok but you see what I'm saying then in general terms the morning is made up from 9 to 12 there is roughly a 3 hour block and exactly half of it Sabbath school. And we have savvy school and we have a worship service these need to be seen as 2 distinct functions but one harmonious whole Ok or 2 sides of a single coin right but often times seen as this is required and this one is optional. It must not be viewed that way even by the Sabbath school leadership it must be assumed that this is what we're about here it's going to be part of our discussion of the board we're going to make this a priority we're going to put the good stuff there we're not going to play this game of trying to chase people let them chase us a little bit way just for that he's. Ok. Yes I mean. What is the other thing in this is not something so I was almost always uses I missed my free. And I was. Cameron's mercy yes yes to be clear very pro Catholic individuals just the structure of Catholicism in a mindset is not a Biblical framework right that we need to make sure we're based on the scripture for everything that we do but you're right you you miss something and that's the thing Francis if you know I kind of made the thing about baptism but I'm kind of half joking when I say but I'd love to see a church sometimes do an experiment and like. When the morning bell or the opening prayer or the opening song or whatever song the start of Sabbath school begins that everyone who's there gets a $100.00 bill don't change anything else about your program just give one $100.00 bill what would happen what will happen but really I thought people were too tired. Not for money. You think they'd mention it do you think people like mention like did you see or seen as sad as what happened. 100 of Benjamin's happen today you know this is great and they're like whoa that's well you should have been a misanthrope. What's sad is that if you put in terms of money everybody gets we value money right but if you made it about a testimony or person ministers training or baptism or anything other thing. But. I use that illustration because I've used that illustration too when it comes to like giving Bible studies because the person mysteries we challenge every member to be giving Bible studies and one of the excuses you hear a lot is I don't have time for that my schedule so busy I don't Ok but let's say that it takes you 2 hours a week an hour to prepare and execute and come back to our block of time every week to give a Bible study you say Oscar Night Life is crazy busy Ok but if you had that same neighbor instead of giving them Bible studies they were very wealthy and had a palatial home and they had to be away each week for a couple hours but they don't want their house to be an attendant at all they're very particular about this and they come to you as a good neighbor and say Would you be willing to house it for us for 2 hours a week and we'll give you $500.00 an hour so as an a $1000.00 a week for that same block of time what would happen your schedule like Moses before the Red Sea Why. It's so weird all of the free because we value that now right. We have to start speaking in real terms the reason people are late to stuff is because they don't care enough about it to be there. They don't value it enough to make it worth their time to make an alarm clock or take their shower that their get their breakfast regular whatever the robber arrangements need to do to make that a priority it's not there now I think that's in part their fault because I don't care if it's a sloppy mess you should go. On the other hand we have a responsibility to have school leaders to make it valuable right to incentivize it not through tricks and games and payoffs and stuff but through a deep abiding spiritual. This is what calls it intensely interesting. Let me let me read you statement about this. She's this is found in Christian service ph to 11. She is right our meetings should be made intensely interesting they should be pervaded with the very atmosphere of heaven let there be no long dry speeches and formal prayers merely for the sake of occupying a time we'll come back to that but does that others tell you I've been in some Sabbath school. Where in all honesty I can see why people wouldn't go long drive formal speech the superintendent from and I love superintendents I think they should say some things but just get up and read in a scripted Chicken Soup for the soul type of thing people don't want to hear that they don't care that's not worth coming to right and just and why are we doing it oh it's my turn but we're just going through the realms of hollow ceremony we're just filling out the form we're serving time we're just getting through it right that's not good enough now to be clear she never says you should be highly entertaining she never advocates for church or any religious meeting to be intervening but she always says It's me intensely interesting now there's a distinction there that I think we need to maintain anyway she said all should be ready to act their part with promptness and when their duty is done the meeting should be closed get up have something fascinating if they move on have a pace to it make it interesting and then be done thus the interest will be kept up to the last this is offering to God acceptable worship his service should be made interesting and attractive and not be allowed to generate into a dry for now so I think as we look at this kind of diagnostic and will I promise we'll leave a little time for comment I meant to do that but the there's plenty of fault to go around should church members value Sabbath school enough to get there yes. Should the Sabbath school leaders value it enough to make it good yes of course there is the program itself should we look at the curriculum and structure yes we should look at that is it a spiritual thing of course that it is so there's multiple areas that we can and each of your Sabbath schools might suffer from a different thing they may be ailing in a different way maybe you do have super narcs of the dole maybe don't have at all a need to revive a mission program and have something to talk about by the way when you talk about mission but did you know that there are let me close with this the Sabbath school has 3 distinctive features that are unique to the Sabbath school program that are found basically nowhere else in the life of the church Ok 1st of all it's foundation put a little or literal in with this foundation is Bible study and prayer the largest chunk. Of your time in the Sabbath school program is in the lesson study or the Bible study classes right that's the largest time element right and that's the foundation the study of God's word that's what James White was starting to write those that we want people to be grounded in the Word of God I happen to think that one of the reasons people to the Bible study and prayer is because well I'm going to get a sermon during church and they'll study the Bible for me to tell me what I think but this is not like this is there's a difference between listening to someone else preach about something they studied and having interactive discussion about the things that you have studied right there is a unique component to the Sabbath school that you don't find in the rest of the church service and if you skip it you've missed something right so the foundation is always going to be bible study and prayer but however more than that we have to have a focus on mission. Did you read realize that the Sabbath school offering the Sabbath school mission offering is the one collection of funds in the whole 7th Avenue Church that goes exclusively toward Mission I'll give you some startling statistics about mission giving in our last century but let me tell you something you probably know it's down and not up and not just like trending down it is cavernous precipitous Lee like bottom of the earth low I don't have it I'll share it with you later on but I want to give away too much but in a way mission giving also hearing mission reports or do you ever remember like church this mission spotlight right I remember as a little boy I would listen to those stories and watch those little films and hear about the of the miracle truck that God kept working after run out of gasoline or the or the person who was sick and they got better or the bad as all the mission pilots and all this kind of stuff young and old all members of the church need to have that missionary mindset we need to be encouraged by amazing reports and in this day and age it's not just we get you real the real thing sent to us every quarter something there are every single week the General Conference gives us a nice like 4 minute mission spotlight video that you can show in your church you can have a fresh weekly mission report in every local church I'm saying there's good stuff we're here to share but that should be a part of it by the way mission is not just global. One of my big concerns was the of the faraway tribes of the islands of the sea or the deep dark jungles of somewhere right now they all that's what a missionary is when the reality is there's mission work to do here and we need to hear local testimonies of how God is working even here I don't want you to think that well God's working over there somewhere my only job is to pay for and pray for them no our work is to do work here right so we need to hear conference why testimonies of what it looks like in our territory. And finally the mission also includes personal ministry we need to be training people to be effective soul winners in their own hometown in their own lives and own context right all of those 3 mission elements are only found in the Sabbath school program reports and funding for global mission reports of what's happening in our local territory and training for personal ministry is supposed to happen in the Sabbath school time. Oh yeah global local and personal Ok We're going to go through this I'm just giving you an overview we're going to dive into each of those elements we're going to spend a day on coming up Ok but for right now I want you to realize that the 3 distinct components of status quo is its foundation Bible study prayer its focus and mission and the unsung hero of the group its format which is small groups that small group dynamic has a power that is untapped and many of our churches say how come it is that we can have 350 members on the book and only 150 attend that means there's 200 people that are listed as members of our church and we don't know where they are. In some case we don't know who they are last churches that we we literally printed names in the bulletin say Hey is anybody even heard of these people. And I'm not trying to clean the books and get rid of people I'm just saying look if they've died or moved away or or have apostatized we need to know that we but there's so little accountability We'll get into this a little later too because of like I said we're going to go through each of these 3 distinctive features in our upcoming 3 days to Margaret How about Bible study and prayer how to make that portion of it very good and why it's so important that a look at Mission and on another look but I'll tell you the small group thing. Of the save save for the the Met when you move on all right these are the 3 distinctive features that are found you don't have that small group dynamic in the worship service you don't have that mission focused in the worship service and you don't have that time for the interactive Bible study and deep you know personal connection with the Word of God Now there's other things you do in the worship so you don't do this have a school right there's a lot more collective singing you have collective prayer time you do have a sermon or to you have other distinctive things in the worship service but a lot of times our Sabbath schools if they do a full service it's like a miniature watered down worship service is just like an off brand it's not really that good it's lost its distinctive flavor and I cannot blame people saying why do we even have a preliminary Why do we even have a plenary program why do you have this is a let's just go straight to the Bible classes right a lot of church you walk in and just and they've gotten rid of the mission gotten rid of the bibles gotten rid of the mission focus altogether and just go to the Bible study so we're missing some things right I think we need to repair it and make it what it's supposed to be the way we have 4 minutes left and I don't want to talk a whole time but give me some thoughts for me feedback any questions comments or concerned you might have just. What's striking you so far yes ma'am. I am aware that. You're Ok so you're thrilled along. I don't know anything how do you see I have one Yeah Ok nowhere in particular just nobody. Ok so you're looking for practical What's it going to look like when we go back and put this into play and play Ok thank you and. And you know. She's been although not by the way the nominating committee must've thought you were a little something I'm nobody I mean a little more than nobody you know it's like if you told us like Are you sure I'm nobody I got No Dave I'm going to they might have reconsidered maybe. I don't know what to say know me as. Well as it was a tough nomic you know it's a tough nomic I mean when they're looking around the room is like I don't know how about you want to you know I'm just going that's not how the word but. But yes how many of you are in the position like all right I am the leader of a Sabbath school either class or the whole superintend of the Sabbath school program but let me play with how many Sabbath school superintendents like the over the whole program All right you've come to the right place that's good how many her here just because they're savvy school teacher excellent So you're specially going to all of it has practical application for all of you Ok that's what we're looking at good good good good good all right thank you for the company of the comments questions. Hopefully we've been interesting enough that you'll come back tomorrow and we'll start putting some flesh on some of these philosophies right because right now we're just talking history what's out of should be what it used to be and what we'd like it to be but the next thing is how do we start moving the needle to get there right so tomorrow we're going to come back we're going to look at that biggest chunk of a Sabbath school program which is the Bible study and prayer why it's so important what it can do for people how we can do it well other than that I think our time is wrapping up its own about henceforward a prayer will be done Heavenly Father thank you so much for this day thank you for this opportunity to discuss the work of the Sabbath school please bless these superintendents these teachers these local lay leaders that they can go back to their own congregations and start to stir up love and good works Lord we would ask that you do a mighty miracle we know that in many places the Sabbath school has been languishing for quite some time but we read in the Bible that you can raise even the dead to new life so we ask for the out point of your Holy Spirit take our humble effort and do for us what we could never do for ourselves we ask it in Jesus and. 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