Counsels on Sabbath School Work


Competitions and Prizes

On Sabbath morning [Marshalltown, Iowa, campground, August 16, 1884], a large company met for Sabbath school. Classes were soon arranged including all except a few who chose seats outside the tent. But these were not left to themselves; teachers were appointed, and two or three interesting classes formed. All were as busy as bees, and everywhere, in the tent and out of it, was heard the hum of voices. The school was well conducted and orderly, and to me the exercises were very interesting. [This paragraph from The Review and Herald, October 21, 1884, was omitted in TSS.] CSW 181.2

By request I spoke about thirty minutes, warning them against letting their Sabbath school degenerate into a mere mechanical routine. We should not seek to imitate Sunday schools, nor keep up the interest by offering prizes. The offering of rewards will create rivalry, envy, and jealousy; and some who are the most diligent and worthy will receive little credit. Scholars should not try to see how many verses they can learn and repeat; for this brings too great a strain upon the ambitious child, while the rest become discouraged. CSW 182.1

Try none of these methods in your Sabbath schools; but let superintendents and teachers make every effort to have life and interest in their schools. What a blessing it would be if all would teach as Jesus taught! He did not aim to attract attention by eloquence or by overwhelming grandeur of sentiment. On the contrary, His language was plain, and His thoughts were expressed with greatest simplicity; but He spoke with loving earnestness. In your teaching be as near like Him as possible. Make your exercises interesting. Let the teachers show that they have thoroughly learned the lesson, and are intensely interested in it. Let there be no frivolous or superficial interpretations of the Scriptures, but let each be prepared to go to the bottom of the subject presented.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 110, 111. CSW 182.2