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The Word: Online Facilitator's Meetings

The word is out. Most Sabbath Schools have “not” been conducting weekly meetings where class facilitators could be fed and affirmed for the awesome responsibility of being on the front lines of their church’s largest religious education program. No organized Sabbath School support was in place in most churches to:

  • Address class facilitators’ personal theological questions
  • Tune class facilitators into lifestyle issues beyond their experience but relevant to the studies at hand
  • Arm class facilitators to sift out popular opinion and subtle error from Bible facts about the topics presented.
  • To focus on class facilitators’ issues about Sabbath School disiciple-making and evangelism through the class study

But that has changed. The word is out that LEAD magazine is partnering with conference Sabbath School leaders to provide videos of facilitator’s meetings about the weekly lessons. A conference Sabbath School director is providing insights about each week’s lesson for an entire quarter. This support is acessible for each entire quarter at leadmagazine.org.

How This Came About
No facilitators’ meetings. Local Sabbath School leaders in large training groups were repeatedly reporting the inability to successfully conduct regular class facilitators’ meetings. The main hurdles reported:

  1. Consensus on a meeting time.
  2. Consensus on a meeting location.
  3. Qualified leadership.
  4. Committed long-term leadership.

Faith Crumbly took these reports to leaders in other conferences, and they affirmed almost verbatim what she had been hearing: “A few—and very few—Sabbath Schools—here and there—are holding regular facilitators’ meetings.” So Faith raised the issue for brainstorming by her team at the Review and Herald.

A number of innovative ideas were raised but did not initially pass the technical expertise of Kim Peckham and Nick Bejarano. When ageement of method finally passed muster, the biggie among hurdles faced planners: m-o-n-e-y.

Then Faith remembered a comment made by a participant in the LEAD Consumer Response Council. Several phone calls later brought J. Alfred Johnson into support of the idea. Then, finally, Clarence Wright accepted the invitation to do the first videotaping of online facilitators’ meetings in August 2008 for the first quarter 2009 Sabbath School lessons.

What Justifies the Time and Expense
Elder Clarence Wright is Sabbath School director for the Southeastern Conference and is the presenter for the Online Facilitators Meetings for first quarter 2009. Elder Wright addresses the need for this project:

"I'm taking time from my very busy schedule to provide this series of meetings, because there is a need for our church members to get as much information as they can as they study their Sabbath School lesson. We find the record in Hosea 4:6 that God’s people who do not get the knowledge they need will be destroyed because of that shortcoming. The more knowledge we can gain, the stronger we will be personally and spiritually.

“Class facilitators are in the forefront of our process for members learning to be credible witnesses. But so many facilitators have so much on their shoulders with family and job concerns that they sometimes do not put in as much time in study as they would like. So getting insight from another source is very helpful to them.

"As we continue to march rapidly toward the end of time, the devil is stepping up his assault. Church members must do the same, and leaders, like myself, are committed to helping them."

- by Faith Crumbly, editor for LEAD magazine and Clarence Wright, Sabbath School director for the Southeastern Conference.

The Quarterly Presentations
• January, February, March
Clarence Wright
Southeastern Conference
• April, May, June
Fred Earles
Michigan Conference
• July, August, September
• October, November, December
Charles Ferguson
Florida Conference

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