The Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 calls on every believer to make disciples of Jesus Christ: “The Saviour’s commission is given to all who believe in His name” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 110).

The power of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries is that they are designed to involve every church member in the great work of making disciples. Sabbath School aims to include every member in study, service, and fellowship and Personal Ministries aims to involve every member in active labor for souls.

The General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department has developed two initiatives to help local churches experience new life in these vital ministries:


The Sabbath School Alive! initiative emphasizes three primary elements to make disciples through Sabbath School: (1) Bible study and prayer, (2) fellowship, and (3) mission—both world mission and local community outreach.

1. Bible Study and Prayer—The foundation of Sabbath School is the study of God’s Word. This is what gives power to Sabbath School. Members of Sabbath School classes should be encouraged to dig deep to understand the Bible for themselves, and teachers should base their teaching and example on the Bible. And “Never should the Bible be studied without prayer” (Steps to Christ, p. 91).

2. Fellowship—The format of Sabbath School should promote fellowship. Sabbath School is for teaching, not preaching. Small group classes should be formed whenever possible and discussion encouraged. Classes form special bonds of fellowship when they meet together outside of class for social interaction and to engage in group outreach. The spirit of care and concern fostered in Sabbath School also results in classes that minister, through visitation and reclamation ministries, to those who are inactive or going through difficulties.

3. Mission—The focus of Sabbath School is the mission of making disciples of all people. Sabbath Schools around the world have always shown their sacrificial nature by giving both time and money to mission projects. Sabbath School Alive! recommends that churches conduct a vibrant 15-20 minute Mission Program, separate from the class study, for education and training. This brief program isn’t for a devotional talk or another sermon, but should include a world mission update, local outreach testimony or report, and personal ministries training. Each class is then encouraged to adopt a quarterly local mission project and to spend approximately 10-15 minutes of class time planning and organizing for service. 

Resources are currently under development to give local churches ideas and training for teaching and leading Sabbath Schools, incorporating mission projects into Sabbath School, and more. For the latest updates, go to


GROW Your Church is a personal ministries initiative that follows the agricultural model of making disciples taught by Jesus. It emphasizes the fact that evangelism is not an event, but a process. When local churches discover the secret of developing active ministries in every phase of the process, they reach their God-given purpose and potential for growth.

1. Prepare – If we run strong health and other community need-based ministries, we will prepare hearts in the community who might be made open to the truth by seeing someone who cares.

2. Plant – If we spread the truth through mass literature and media—like the “leaves of autumn” (see Christian Service, p. 147)—we will discover many people who are seeking for truth.

3. Cultivate – If we involve most or all of our members in offering, giving, or hosting Bible studies, multitudes of people will be rescued and changed by the power of our message.

4. Harvest – If we regularly make appeals through public evangelistic meetings, we will seize one of the best opportunities to lead those in the valley of decision to follow Christ in baptism.

5. Preserve – If we have an intentional plan to disciple and train new members into active workers for Christ, member retention will improve and our growth rates will multiply!

Resources are under development to aid local churches in every phase of the disciple-making process. For the latest updates or to create a customized GROW logo for your church, go to

This article is provided by the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department of the General Conference of Seventhday Adventists.