June 15, 2022

In Australia, Summit Equips Leaders to Grow Missional Sabbath Schools

Initiative seeks to revitalize traditional Saturday morning Bible study at local churches.

Lorraine Atchia, Adventist Record
Sabbath School for Life Summit site in the Western Australia Conference. [Photo: Adventist Record]

More than 450 people attended the Sabbath School for Life Summit held at five venues across Australia and online on May 20 and 21, 2022. 

The summit was open to Sabbath School leaders, facilitators, and attendees in order to help inspire, equip, and encourage them to grow missional Sabbath Schools in local churches.

Guest speakers included evangelist Mark Finley, Sabbath School Coaching founder Curtis Hall, and South New South Wales Conference president Cristian Copaceanu. There was also a live panel from the Western Australian Conference that spoke about how they are nurturing Sabbath School in their local churches. 

“We were really pleased with the number of registrations and attendees we received for the event,” Lyndelle Peterson, director of Sabbath School at the Australian Union Conference (AUC) said. “Holding a hybrid online and in-person event meant that smaller rural churches could get the same training as the larger city churches. No one was left out, and people were able to meet as Sabbath School leaders in their church and have their own discussions while being trained and equipped,” he added. 

According to Peterson, the event ran smoothly and the organization of the Sabbath School directors across Australia proved to be successful, allowing the panel to join from Perth, Copaceanu from Sydney, and Curtis Hall from Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

The summit also allowed attendees to have discussions in groups, giving them time to provide key points to all the attendees. 

“It was a lot of fun, and people valued the presentations,” Peterson said. “Curtis spoke to us about how to prepare an engaging Sabbath School lesson, and Cristian encouraged us to prioritise prayer and use it as a key aspect to encourage people to join Sabbath school and reach out to the community.” 

The attendees were surveyed during the summit and asked what they thought an integral part of Sabbath School was, with a majority saying fellowship and nurturing. This comes as no surprise after the most recent AUC Attendance Survey showed there was an increase in Sabbath School attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a testament to Sabbath School leaders across Australia and shows their dedication and passion for this ministry.  

Feedback from the event was positive, with many hoping that this style of event will be adopted by other ministries at the AUC and South Pacific Division, as it allows everyone access to training and information, no matter where they live. 

“I am so proud to work with such an amazing team who was able to put this event together,” Peterson said. “We hope to create a network for all the attendees to help resource them and connect everyone together, from the union, the conferences, and the local church. This will allow us to encourage each other, advise each other, and help each other as we build missional Sabbath Schools.”

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.