Saturday, February 22 2020 - 7:24 AM

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Southwest


The Value of a New Believer’s Class

Does your church have a New Member or Pastor’s Class on Sabbath mornings? Many believe this is an effective way to nurture interests and new members into the church. If you have such a class or plan to in the near future, the Pacific Union Conference would like to know what material you are using, or plan to use so we can share it around.

If you have developed your own study guides or syllabus, we would love to see it. Contact us by email, or by phone at: (805) 413-7372.

Here are some responses that we’ve gathered over the years from Seventh-day Adventist pastors, elders, and/or churches within the Pacific Union territory (they may be doing something different today). It provides a overview of what some churches and pastors have done, or are doing today.

28 Fundamentals – Sr. Pastor, Marvin Wray, led a class called Christianity 101. He was using the basic format of the 28 fundamental beliefs, putting it into his own personal experience and relationship with Christ. It functioned as a small group with time for sharing and prayer and then open discussion. Baptized members could attend if they had been a member for less than one year or if they brought a guest with them. Following this six month class participants were encouraged to join the class on SDA History. —Napa Valley Community SDA Church

Profiles of Faith – I had this class at the Spanish American Church a little while ago (and now I am going to the very same church), and the materials I used were Profiles of Faith. It is in English and I translated it into Spanish (and named it Perfiles de Fe). I am planning to use the same materials again and restart the class. Now I need your input – If you know where I can find those materials, I would truly appreciate the info. Thanks and Godspeed. —Elder Javier Elenes

Discover Lessons – We have a new members class on Sabbath mornings. We use the Discovery Series from Voice of Prophecy. This class is taught by our head elder, Isaac Evans. —Visalia SDA Church (Carron Kuns Children and Family Ministry)

Bible Marking Class – Re. a pastors Bible class I could share what worked well after our last evangelistic series. In a small church it hasn’t worked well to separate the new believers from the other members. Also, the new believers have trouble in finding the verses in the Bible.

What worked better was to do the pastor’s bible class in the sanctuary where the new people were used to being anyway. They weren’t sent off into another place by themselves. We called it a Bible marking class. We handed the lessons out for the next week ahead of time. We put the Bible verses on the screen using powerpoint, and went through the study that way. Now one is left behind because they can’t find the verses quickly in their own Bible. Some interests actually came for the Bible Study, but didn’t stay for church! This Study started at 9:45 a.m. and went an hour. We dispensed with the Sabbath School preliminaries.

We encouraged people to take the lessons home and mark the Bible verses in a chain in their own Bible. We encouraged the long time members to do the same thing as a tool to use in giving Bible studies. The “pastor’s” class actually came to an end when we finished the series of lessons, which took about 30 weeks.

For the first time in my six years here, lay members are actually giving sit down Bible studies. I can’t credit the Pastor’s Bible class alone for this dynamic, but it did become the springboard. I also try to promote members giving studies verbally and in my written communications with the church. —Larre Kostenko

A Holistic Small Group – Yes, I’ve tried to have a new believer’s class over the years at every church I’ve pastored. Here at Orangevale in Sacramento we have a class that has been reviewing the fundamental beliefs of the church for several months. The way I conduct this class is to treat it similar to a holistic small group. We spend the first few minutes talking about our week, take time for prayer requests and prayer, and then get right into the study. I prepare a handout that includes the doctrine (copy and paste from the GC website’s doctrines section) and a series of questions I make up based on the scriptural texts that are supplied with the doctrine. We look up the various texts and have them fill in the blanks. We always take time during the study to answer questions and make personal life applications of the doctrines. The class meets from 9:30 – 10:35.

We’re just completing the 28th fundamental belief this Sabbath and I’ll start all over with a new class. My plan is to have all baptismal candidates or interests shepherded through this class to receive the background they need in the scriptures. Even those who are baptized without having this biblical background will be required to receive this instruction before joining a regular SS class. I hope this information is of help. —Robert Clark, senior pastor

Amazing Facts Study Guides – In Lemoore CA, we are using the Amazing Facts study guides. In which we teach the first time but then the students teach it the second time. —Dennis Tello

Hawaii Study Guides – I developed these studies to fill the needs that I saw:

More emphasis on how to become a converted Christian and live the Christian life.
Concise presentation of our fundamental beliefs.
Defense of high moral standards.
Show the importance of becoming an active member of the local (SDA) church.

—Kurt Unglaub, Pastor, Hawaii Conference

“La fe de Jesús/The faith of Jesús” – At San Jose Hispanic church a congregation over 1,000 members we just started a recently baptized members class with 60 people who were baptized 3 wks ago, what we are using is the popular series of Bible lessons written in spanish entitled “La fe de Jesús/The faith of Jesús.” —Cesar De Leon, Senior Pastor

Paradise Adventist Church – Here at the PAC we have 2 types of new member classes. They are both a work in progress.

Living & Loving 101 – Written by Ben, these study guides are for those who have no Christian background and don’t really know about this man Jesus – from that perspective. We will complete it in 3 weeks.

New Beginnings – A class study from the book of John that shows participants how to study the Bible and cross reference etc – we are also working on that one – a work in progress (Glenna Eady (lay minister) and myself are teaching this.

Steps to Discipleship – Written by Ben, this is a 7 week DVD and study guide that shows how to walk with Jesus, how to integrate the Gospel into one’s everyday lifestyle. We are in the process of editing this, etc. We’ve done it 2 times here – first time—425 members took it – we now have a DVD promo and the study guide that I’m in the final stages of editing.

Membership Matters – This member orientation is for new members–whether they have joined by transfer, baptism or profession by faith. It is designed to integrate new members into the PAC church life. We’ve offered this 2 times.

—Mary Maxson, Paradise, California

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference

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