At this time of the year we find most people in a reflective mood. There’s something about the realization of another year passing that makes all of us take a closer look at our lives.
Many of those that go through this annual ritual will feel the need to grow spiritually in the coming year. Attending Sabbath School is a common resolution made this time of year. Some of the reasons for this resolution are:
1) To satisfy the need for spiritual growth through group bible study
2) To start or revive a positive family tradition
3) To connect more with the local church and its sense of family
4) To turn the page on a difficult year with the hope of personal revival
We must to be ready for this; personally and collectively. As teachers we must anticipate this sense of renewal and plan ways to capitalize on it. How will we greet our new or returning class members? What plans do we have in place to engage and assimilate these members? A warm sincere greeting should be the start, not the ending.
What hurts and not helps prospective and returning members is a class that:
1) Debates rather than discusses. Members do not want to be ringside judges of the fight of the week. The need of inclusion fueled by engaging discussions is more vital than the task of identifying the champion of doctrinal debates.
2) Lectures rather than teaches. Returning and new members will soon be turned off if the only person who discusses the lesson is the teacher. Teaching skills that aid in the discovery process will make a more lasting connection than the one-way style of a lecturer.
3) Greets but not embraces. Common manners will provide a greeting. Christian love will provide a connection. We must give of ourselves to others. Its part of what we do. Your personal interest can make all the difference in someone’s life.
4) Condemns rather than inspires. It’s far easier to point out what we shouldn’t do rather than give practical biblical guidance for doing what we long to do. A quality, positive class along with an outreach ministry will do more for discipleship than rehearsing the common failures of our time.
To get ready for this opportunity means new resolutions on our part as well.
“Let us enter upon the new year with our hearts cleansed from the defilement of selfishness and pride. Let us put away every sinful indulgence, and seek to become faithful, diligent learners in the school of Christ. A new year opens its unsullied pages before us. What shall we write upon them.” EGW Signs of the Times, January 5, 1882
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philipians. 3:13-14 NIV