Kevin Wilfley (email@example.com), Pastor, Spokane Linwood Seventh-day Adventist Church, Spokane, WA (UC Conf.)
“New believers just beginning to keep the Sabbath and long-time members often have the same question of their pastors: “What should I do on the Sabbath?” The following is a suggested checklist that may help pastors guide church members into a more enjoyable Sabbath experience.
(1) Determine to preach a Bible message. Several surveys including one done by the Billy Graham School of Evangelism (see Thom Rainer’s book, “Surprising Insights from the Unchurched”), indicate that most people go to church to hear a doctrinal sermon presented in a relevant and interesting manner. Put together a group of Bible texts on the subject the Holy Spirit has led you to present that makes Bible truth clear and leads people to love Jesus.
(2) Arrive early to church and welcome people as they arrive. Another recent survey indicates that the highest satisfaction rating among church attenders is reported by members who say their pastor knows their name (see “Creating a Culture of Connectivity in your Church” by Tom & Joani Schultz. Get a free syllabus and PowerPoint CD at: www.group.com/giveback ).
(3) Plan Sabbath activities such as a church hike, bike ride, concert, vespers, or numerous other activities that will allow members to invite their non-SDA friends to attend. This will create purpose and interest.
(4) Encourage members to make the Sabbath day a delight (Isaiah 58:13). Tell them to make the Sabbath a day of “do’s”, not “don’ts”. Let them know that it’s okay to make mistakes in this regard. Jesus would rather see us make a mistake trying to do positive and interesting things on the Sabbath than to make a mistake by making the Sabbath a day of boring inactivity. Remind them that you won’t judge or criticize them for they way the keep the Sabbath.
(5) Organize a Sabbath afternoon activity center. Church members will enjoy putting together care packages for the mission field, or local people who need a visit. Then send everyone out to visit and return to a time of praise and fellowship.
I have personally experienced the joy of the Sabbath and I still look forward to it each week. The above checklist has been a blessing to me. I hope it will be a blessing to you.