A significant number of our readers lead a Sabbath School (SS) class or a small group, according to our surveys. This week Adventist Today introduces a new tool to help them. It is called “Sharing Scripture” and it will appear each week in the Features section of our website.
We know that a number of these readers use articles from the Commentary section for discussion-starters in their Sabbath School class. And there are those who get a supply of each magazine to hand out in their class. This new tool takes a different approach, and it is not meant to replace the other approaches but is just to provide an additional tool that meets different needs.
- It follows the Bible texts in the Adventist denomination’s adult Sabbath School lessons.
- It begins with a quick item from the secular world news of the week that relates to a spiritual need or principle. This can be read as an introductory thought for the group.
- It has four discussion questions or exercises that encourage sharing in the group and personal reflection on what can be learned from the Bible texts. These use a different pattern than any other such tool called a relational Bible study approach. They are designed so that no one in the group is expected to have studied the lesson in advance but everyone can get something out of it. They encourage creativity and meet the needs of a variety of personalities, as well as generate discussion.
This resource is tested and used not only by SS teachers. Pastors have used it to begin their sermons, and church newsletter editors have used it as featured content for their publications. Up to now, Sharing Scripture has primarily been circulated in North America, so it is with great pleasure that we are able to make it available internationally through Adventist Today.
Starting this week, and going forward, you will find Sharing Scripture available in our Features section of the website released early each week. That gives you time to use it for personal reflection most of the week, and if you want it as a teacher or a small group leader, you have it in plenty of time for your preparations.
In addition to the initial paragraphs with a story from the news, or what may be trending online, which connects with the theme and Bible texts of that week’s SS Adult Quarterly, the four questions then follow this cycle of learning:
Connecting: a question or two that moves you from personal experience into the Bible
Sharing: digging deeper into Scripture and understanding what it means
Applying: experimenting in fun and interactive ways, making the Biblical concepts work for you
Valuing: a call to action in your life as God is prompting you to respond
We hope you find Sharing Scripture insightful to your spiritual journey, and something you can talk about with others interested in deepening their faith as well. We hope that Adventist Today readers use this as a tool to reach out to others and bring together small groups where spiritual sharing and support can help people who seek to make Jesus central in their lives.
If you have suggestions for improvement or questions, please let me know.
Monte Sahlin – firstname.lastname@example.org