Who is in Control?

Shocking. Stunning. Devastating. Incredible. Unimaginable. Tragic

These strong adjectives are parts of our daily news headlines. Seemingly overnight we have entered a time that a few years ago, was not thought possible. The fallout from these current worldwide events boils down to individual calamities on a very personal level. The unspoken question of many is “who is in control?”

As our members come out to Sabbath school during these times, many of them have been personally and adversely affected by the drastic downturn in our economy. Job loss, pension loss concerns and foreclosures are issues that our members are dealing with right now. They are asking “who is in control?” Continue reading

5 Cardinal Sins

I got up early that morning, excited to know that I would soon get the opportunity to visit a new Sabbath school. I was out of town for the weekend and decided I would visit the main church of this anonymous city.

I arrived early before Sabbath school started and waited until a few more cars arrived before I entered the church. The church was attractive and I looked forward to a learning experience during Sabbath school.

Shortly after the appointed time for Sabbath school to begin, the superintendent arrived to start the program. He looked hurried and perhaps he had an emergency that prevented him from being there before the service start time.

After the superintendents’ remarks and song service ended I counted approximately 12 people there. The superintendent welcomed back a missing member who had been away due to illness. She received a warm amen from the audience.

Strangely though to me, I, as a visitor, was never acknowledged. Although there were only a dozen of us there, there was no welcome extended to the visitor(s). Cardinal Sin #1 Continue reading

Make your sessions come alive with stories

There’s something about a good story that can make all the difference in a Sabbath school discussion. A good story can transport it’s hearers to another time and place and make the lessons come alive with relevance and freshness. Do you use stories in your sessions?

While the variety of stories is limitless, I have found that nothing is more impactful than reciting the stories of events found in the bible. Bringing to life the words of the bible with energy and enthusiasm will be very effective in making its principles relevant to modern day hearers.

Jesus, our best example, was a master storyteller. There are 57 different parables recorded in the New Testament that Jesus gave. They teach a wide range of lessons including charity, love, justice, vindication, mercy, humility, service and other vital points of spiritual life.

The hearers of His parables were spellbound and many times not even aware that they were the subject of the parable being given. I’m certain that His authenticity, choice of words, and demeanor all contributed to the impact of each story. Once heard, the Holy Spirit would enable the hearers to identify with the story and allow the seed of truth to take root and grow.

What makes a teacher a good storyteller? Continue reading

HIJACKED !

Sabbath Morning 9:30
Flight plan…check.
Instruments working…check.
Fuel…check.
Passengers seated…check.
Ready for takeoff…check.
And you’re off and on your way to another exciting Sabbath school discussion!

Everything is moving along fine and in the middle of your session someone who has a pet issue or grievance attempts to hijack the class and take over the direction of the lesson. It may be done in a subtle manner by someone asking a controversial question or making a controversial statement.

How you deal with this delicate situation can determine the future effectiveness of your class. Continue reading

You Can’t Give what You Don’t Have

To be a Sabbath School teacher, is to play one of the most vital roles today in the organized church. Every week men and women throughout this denomination stand before groups of people teaching the bible. Besides the pastor in the pulpit, Sabbath school teachers have more biblical involvement in the lives of the church members than any other group.

With this privilege comes a weighty responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. To know that we all will have to give an account of our words and actions one day should heighten our awareness of the seriousness of the role we play in this last day movement.

Whether we admit it or not, who we are the 6 other days of the week, will influence those we interact with on Sabbath during Sabbath School. One of the great principles of spiritual life is that we cannot give what we don’t have. Continue reading

How do you spell S-U-C-C-E-S-S?

Everyone wants to succeed. Some do…some don’t. Teachers may define success by the numbers of attendees, or by getting through the entire lesson, or by avoiding any glaring blunders. The definitions of success vary from teacher to teacher.

All of us spend some time in reflecting on how well we did or didn’t do. The unique thing about success is that it cannot always be judged by the immediate result. The path to success must travel on the road named “Process”.

Here’s a process of success that should be common to all Sabbath school teachers. Continue reading

Don’t let “campaign fever” kill your class

For the most part, it’s unavoidable. It’s topic A at the water cooler and the subject of endless emails. Pundits debate with passion the merits of their fancy and around the dinner table we hear the spirited defense of one’s political choice over another’s.

This has been labeled as one of the most interesting political seasons leading up to a presidential election that our country has ever had. It cannot be denied that history has been and will be made throughout the course of this election.

There is at least one place however where one’s passion for or against a political candidate should not appear; Continue reading

Are you a part of the solution or part of the problem?

Everyone has problems. It’s just a fact of life. Problems come in all sizes and shapes and affect all ages and races. Some problems are viewed as insurmountable and some problems may be viewed as simple annoyances. What they all have in common is that they present a challenge to those they involve.

Realizing this fact, as teachers we must ask ourselves, “Am I offering solutions to real problems?” We know the Word of God has answers to all of life’s problems. Are we conscious of the opportunity we have to make a difference in the lives of those who attend our sessions?

Some of the more common problems many of our class members face today involve: Continue reading

When Simplicity is Eloquence

“Never man spake like this Man” John 7:46

The greatest Teacher the world has ever known, was the most definite, simple, and practical in His instruction. GW 50

There is no higher example for a teacher to follow than the example given by the greatest teacher of all time, Jesus Christ. His method of communication can never be improved on and has lasted undiminished through the ages.
“The common people heard Him gladly.”
Mark 12:37

While we are many times mesmerized by the eloquence of the worlds great orators, our mission as teachers is to communicate eternal truths in a manner that is best suited for its reception; SIMPLICITY. Continue reading

In Search of Teaching Excellence

Ex”cel*lence\, n
The quality of being excellent; state of possessing good qualities in an eminent degree;
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary

I remember a sports shoe commercial many years ago that featured Michael Jordan and Spike Lee. In the commercial Spike Lee was trying to determine what made Michael Jordan so good at the game of basketball. The key phrase used throughout the spot was “Is it the shoes?” While Michael simply answered “no” to the questions, the implication was that it was more than the shoes. Through closer investigation we learned that Michael Jordan worked tirelessly at his craft and that success was not instantaneous, but rather a process that he was dedicated to.

Similarly, when we see Sabbath School teachers that excel, we are tempted to ask in our own way, “is it the shoes?” Just what makes a person a teacher of excellence? Is it genetic? Is it the setting? Is it the topic? Or is it fate? Like Michael Jordan, teachers that excel share some of the same attributes. Continue reading