The Sabbath School, the primary religious education program of the Church, has four purposes: study of the Scripture, fellowship, community outreach, and world mission emphasis. The General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department distributes the Sabbath School Bible study guide for all age levels, provides designs for Sabbath School programming within the context of the various world division cultures, provides resources and training systems for Sabbath School teachers, and promotes world mission Sabbath School offerings.
The church elects Sabbath School officers and members of the Sabbath School council. Officers include the superintendent, assistant superintendents, secretary and assistant secretaries, a leader for each division, children’s ministries coordinator and/or Vacation Bible School director, and Investment secretary. The officers, teachers, and all Sabbath School members cooperate with other departments in all outreach (missionary) work, as well as carrying on Sabbath School evangelism by means of regular Sabbath School classes and such activities as Decision Days, pastors’ Bible classes, Community Guest Days, Vacation Bible Schools, and branch Sabbath Schools, including Neighborhood Bible Clubs and Story Hours.
The Sabbath School council is the administrative body of the Sabbath School. It consists of the superintendent (who serves as chairperson), assistant superintendents, secretary and assistant secretaries, division leaders, Investment secretary, personal ministries leader, children’s ministries coordinator and/or Vacation Bible School director, an elder (appointed by the board or by the board of elders), and the pastor.
The council appoints teachers whose names are submitted to the board for approval. All teachers are members of the church in regular standing. The council is responsible for the successful operation of the entire Sabbath School and ensures that program helps and materials, including the Sabbath School Bible study guide, are supplied in sufficient quantities.
The Investment secretary promotes the Investment plan for mission support in all Sabbath School divisions and keeps all members informed as the program progresses. The Vacation Bible School (VBS) director leads in organizing, promoting, and launching community evangelism through the annual VBS.
Realizing that “none but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict” (GC 593, 594), Sabbath School leaders strongly encourage regular systematic study of the Word. The Sabbath School Bible study guide is designed to encourage daily feasting on the Word, a practice that has done much to maintain unity throughout the Church.
The Sabbath School secretary accurately records Sabbath School offerings and pass them on to the treasurer as soon as possible. With the exception of that expense fund, all Sabbath School offerings are for the support of the mission fields and are passed on in their entirety by the treasurer to the conference. These funds include the regular weekly Sabbath School offering, the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering, Sabbath School Investment, and Birthday-Thank Offering. Mission funds are distributed according to policy.
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