I love Sabbath School. Whether it's in Spokane or Walla Walla, Sao Paulo or Manila. Being warmly welcomed by the saints, studying the lesson with an open Bible and the inspiring mission stories from the Northwest and around the world.
But wait a minute. Can you believe it? We have some Adventist churches who have actually, by default, or poor planning, allowed the mission emphasis to be done away with! The mission story is as important as the music is to the worship service or as Special K roast is to the potluck!
Seriously, I'd go so far as to say it almost shouldn't be called Sabbath School if one of the three main reasons for having Sabbath School is eliminated (the other two are Bible study and fellowship).
Our founders knew what they were doing when they imbedded missions in the very heart of Sabbath School. Otherwise, we become self-centered navel-gazing vegetarians with the potential of becoming a national church, not a world church with a global message.
Ellen G. White told us a long time ago the best way to strengthen the home field is to invest in foreign missions. Yet our mission giving has not kept up with our overall giving. And that's understandable if we don't even have a regular mission emphasis.
There is really no excuse not to have a mission emphasis weekly or at a minimum monthly. The NW Spotlight on Mission DVD provided by the North Pacific Union Conference is mailed to every head elder and every Sabbath School superintendent free. The exciting new Adventist Mission DVDs, produced by the General Conference, are free and mailed quarterly to every church. By going online to www.adventistmission.org anyone can find mission news, mission stories, and even mission blogs. And, of course, here in the Northwest we have hundreds of short-term missionaries from our academies, Walla Walla University and many churches returning regularly from around the world. They'd love to give their first-person accounts.
I was so pleased when my own pastor announced a few weeks ago that the Meadow Glade Church would be beginning a new mission emphasis right before the church service begins so the children and young adults could be present. It will feature community outreach, Northwest stories and overseas missions binding our local church with the worldwide family of believers as we share the exciting miracles of a growing church.
So if your church has inadvertently slipped into the unacceptable habit of de-emphasizing missions, it's time to rekindle the flame. Call your pastor or Sabbath School superintendent and ask for a regular mission emphasis to be reinstituted and don't eliminate Sabbath School and the reason for its existence in your church.
"It almost shouldn't be called Sabbath School if one of the three main reasons for having Sabbath School is eliminated."