Origin of SDA Sabbath School: “Not until 1870, and the years following, did a single organization develop, with a superintendent and teachers for various classes according to age. In 1877 the State Sabbath School Association was formed. This organization brought together all the Sabbath Schools within the state. The General Conference session of 1878 recognized the value of such an organization and thereby formed the General Conference Sabbath School Association”
1. The object of Sabbath school
Ellen White (1827-1915): “The object of Sabbath school work should be the ingathering of souls… the teacher should labor tenderly and earnestly for the conversion of his scholars” (2Testimony Treasures, p. 557).
Ellen White: “… salvation of souls. This should be the great end of Sabbath-school work” (Sabbath-School Worker, February I, 1892).
William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “The great object of all religious instruction whether from the pulpit, or in the family or the Sabbath school, is the holiness of those whom we instruct; or in other words, the conversion and sanctification … the ultimate object I mean – should be to effect the conversion of his pupils, and to lead them onward in the path towards heaven” (The Sabbath School As It Should Be, pp. 33, 34, 1841).
2. The goal of Sabbath school
Ellen White (1827-1915): “We must patiently educate the children and youth to feel that they are required of God to be missionaries,… Young men and women are to come forth from our Sabbath-schools and colleges to become missionaries for God… The most important of all missionary work is to train workers to go into the field to preach the gospel to every creature” (Sabbath-School Worker, January 1, 1889).
William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “… to say nothing of the tendency of the Sabbath school to raise up a host of young men who will ultimately become ministers, – in the largest sense of the term – of the everlasting gospel itself” (The Sabbath school As It Should Be, pp. 54, 55, 1841).
3. Parents to study the lesson with their children
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Parents, set apart a little time each day for the study of the Sabbath school lesson with your children. Give up the social visit if need be, rather than sacrifice the hour devoted to the precious lessons of sacred history. Parents, as well as children, will receive benefit from this study. Let the more important passages of Scripture connected with the lesson be committed to memory, not as a task, but as a privilege” (2Testimony Treasures, p. 559).
William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “There is hardly a parent found among us who would not be as much benefited by a thorough knowledge of the lessons assigned to his children as the children themselves… Now I maintain it to be the duty of every parent, even if he does not study the lesson along with his children, to take an interest in it… They should assist their children in studying the lessons, or rather they should study with them… I think that when the lesson was short, say only few verses, and these connected, I would have it committed to memory by all the pupils…” (The Sabbath school As It Should Be, pp. 66, 67, 73, 1841).
4. Visiting Sabbath school pupils
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Show your scholars that you have confidence in them. Visit them at their homes, and invite them to your home. Let it be seen that you love them not only in word, but in deed and in truth” (Testimonies On Sabbath school Work, 80).
William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “Superintendents and teachers should be careful to visit their pupils at their respective homes… Such a visit would give a fine opportunity to cultivate the spirit of Christian love and union between the parents and children and the Sabbath school and its officers” (The Sabbath school As It Should Be, pp. 35, 37, 1841).
5. Sabbath School to be interesting
Ellen White (1827-1915): “Some efforts have been made to interest children in the cause, but not enough. Our Sabbath-schools should be made more interesting” (TSS, p. 84).
William A. Alcott (1798-1859): “(variety in exercises) This I deem exceedingly indispensible… Yet, whatever the plan may be, no plan can be executed happily without the most unremitting …efforts to make the school pleasant and the exercises interesting… There are a thousand ways of making Sabbath school interesting” (The Sabbath school As It Should Be, pp. 84, 92, 1841).