While the foundation of Sabbath School will always be Bible study and prayer, the focus of Sabbath School is mission. And just as Sabbath School itself is not merely a preliminary to the worship service, the Sabbath School Mission Program is not an optional preliminary to Sabbath School Bible study class time. Indeed, the mission program is a vital component that helps make Sabbath School Alive!
Whereas the Sabbath worship service is longer and includes a variety of elements, the Sabbath School mission program is much more succinct and focused exclusively on the work of soul-winning. Such a mission program will be inspiring and attractive even for the youth of the church: “Do not imagine that you can arouse the interest of the young by going to the missionary meeting and preaching a long sermon. Plan ways whereby a live interest may be aroused. From week to week the young should bring in their reports, telling what they have tried to do for the Saviour, and what success has been theirs. If the missionary meeting were made an occasion for bringing in such reports, it would not be dull, tedious, and uninteresting. It would be full of interest, and there would be no lack of attendance.” (Gospel Workers, p. 210, 211; Christian Service, p. 212)
Essential Elements of the Sabbath School Mission Program
Each week, the mission program should highlight three essential elements of evangelism:
Global Mission Report: Their Work
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a prophetic movement raised up in these last days to give the Three Angels’ Message “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). This worldwide evangelistic mandate should be reiterated every Sabbath in every local church. Even if we have not been called to a remote mission field, it is vital to support with our prayers and offerings the work of those who have.
- Foreign Missionary Testimony/Interview (live or video)
- Mission Spotlight Video Go to Mission Spotlight
Local Outreach Testimony: Our Work
For many, the term “missionary” has become synonymous with “foreign missionary.” To keep fresh in the minds of our people that evangelism is local as well as global, the Sabbath School mission program should include testimonies of soul-winning work from the home territory of every local congregation.
- Local Church Testimony/Interview (live or video)
- Individual soul-winning testimonies
- Local church ministry reports
- Outreach reports from Sabbath School classes
- Local Conference Testimony Video
- Individual soul-winning testimonies from around the conference
- Reports from various conference departments
- Conference-wide outreach and evangelism initiatives
Personal Ministries Training: My Work
“Let the missionary meeting be turned to account in teaching the people how to do missionary work” (Christian Service, p. 211). Like any good sermon, every mission program should close with a challenge for personal application. Having witnessed inspiring reports of soul-winning work around the word and close to home, the final element of the Sabbath School Mission Program is training for personal ministry.
- GROW Training Guides (live or with video)
- GROW Training Videos Go to GROW videos
- Other Soul-winning Training
Sample Mission Program Outline
We are told in no uncertain terms: “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 the time. All should be ready to act their part with promptness, and when their duty is done, the meeting should be closed. 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 degenerate into a dry form” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 609; Christian Service, p. 211). The Sabbath School Mission Program should follow this counsel by moving efficiently with as few extemporaneous comments and unnecessary delays as possible. Open with an enthusiastic welcome to members and visitors, a triumphant congregational hymn, and a brief word of prayer. Immediately following prayer, move directly into the global mission report, local testimony, and personal ministries training features. For each element, only the simplest introductory and/or concluding remarks are necessary.
Sample Mission Program (9:30-9:50)
- Welcome, Opening Song, and Prayer (5 min)
- World Mission Report (5 min)
- Local Testimony or Ministry Highlight (5 min)
- Personal Ministries Training (5 min)