Statistics shared during the Sabbath School Workshop, hosted by the Central SDA Church on St. Croix, highlighted the pivotal role of an active Sabbath School ministry in membership retention. And, the pastoral team of District #2, Pastor Ammaran Williams and Sister Margaret Peters, are committed to nurturing the growth of the Sabbath School. Pastor Williams welcomed the Sabbath School Director of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC), Henry Peters, as the foremost authority on Sabbath School ministry in the NCC.
Pastor Williams underscored: “An understanding of the power and mission of the church necessitates that it recaptures and refocuses on the real purpose of the Sabbath School. Thus, the Central SDA Church is giving the entire day, Sabbath, February 3, 2018, to reset and become faithful to the need for organized ministry as stated by Ellen White in Christ Object Lessons.”
Peters indicated that the Sabbath School membership is less than 50% of the general membership of the World Church. He further shared that more members attend the weekly Sabbath Worship/Divine Service than the weekly Sabbath School Service and urged attendees to seek ways for improving attendance: “Undoubtedly, recent findings are against us. Sabbath School attendance has dropped to an all-time 40% of the church membership in the last 30 years. A healthy Sabbath School is what we need. Not just for the Central SDA Church but throughout the NCC. The of having the Sabbath School attendance mirror that of the church membership should motivate us. Every church member is a Sabbath School member.”
The engaging workshop revealed some reasons for poor Sabbath School attendance and explored methods for improving attendance during such an important part of the Sabbath worship experience. “The Sabbath School is not what it should be. The order of things must be changed as we seek to move toward the preferred future,” said Peters.
With 90% of churches in the NCC facilitating the small group concept, a transformation of the Sabbath School has already begun. The intentionality and commitment of all stakeholders is key to the growth of this ministry. Peters stated: “Every unit leader must become part of the solution team. The issues cannot be solved by the pastor and the leaders. The solution must employ participation and suggestion from all members of the respective classes who will assist in developing the Sabbath School into a model institution in the Church. Take time to study and fellowship while engaging friends and family in effective ministry. There must be community outreach and focus on . When this is done it awakens in members a love God and His Word.”
The pastoral staff embraced the workshop as an opportunity to highlight the tri-fold strategic initiative for the congregation: Spiritual revival through prayer; requisite pastoral care; and, total membership involvement in the community. Pastor Williams emphasized: “The church is not a social club. We are challenging you toward a prayer-ministry focus; it’s not an event but a lifestyle. The reason for this focus on building the spiritual life of the church is that moral transformation must be in tandem with a spiritual change.” The collective response of the church was, “Lord make us doers of the word, not hearers only.”
The Central SDA Church actively ministers to the surrounding community and a large youth population. As the congregation seeks to meet felt needs, the workshop positioned the Sabbath School as an essential ministry tool for members with the reminder that, “one who cannot err has advised its formation.”