An assessment of the impact of sabbath school lesson study programme on Seventh Day Adventist church adherents: A case study of Homa-bay District, Kenya
Despite various documented works on Seventh-Day Adventists, there has been no specific study conducted on the impact of Sabbath school lesson study programme on Seventh-Day Adventist Church adherents yet lesson study motif is and continues to be a pillar in the be". Seventh Day Adventist Church. Without the lesson study, the SDA Church would" more vulnerable to criticisms by non Seventh Day Adventists and would be pushed to the periphery by other denominations. The Seventh-DayAdventist Church has been in Kenya since 1906 yet it is a movement that many people have not understood its tenets, organization and practices. Sabbath school motif in particular, has been misunderstood by many due to misrepresentation and misinterpretation by both Adventists and non-Adventists, as they do not know what it entails. Some critics have argued that Sabbath school lesson study programme is just a brain storming session or interaction of ideas of people and as a result, it has no spiritual consequence and does not stir or arouse f.a.. ith and strong conviction. The lesson study programme influences lives of Seventh - Day Adventist church members from childhood, youth and adulthood. By reading this work, the reader will be able LO see the fruits of Sabbath school lesson study proqrarnme and therefore find a reason as to why the programme is crucial in the SDA church. On the ensuing above, it is worth commenting that an unreasonable faith or beiief does not stand the test of time, bec?use in the event of new discoveries old beliefs are abandoned altogether in favour of the new discoveries and this renders belief systems or churches volatile. Sabbath school lesson study programme being a well thought out programme caters for spiritual development of SDA church adherents. .. 11 It makes Bible study possible and in fact easier for all classes viz children youth and adults. Through memory verses, bible stories and general discussion on the Word of God Biblical knowledge is imparted to SDA church adherent. Lessons booklets used during lesson study programme systemizes bible study making it easier for the students to study the Bible. The work comprises the background to the study, founding of the S D A church in America, origin and development of the Sabbath school lesson study programme, its influences on the Luo of Homa-bay, its impact on children, youth and adults and finally, conclusions and recommendations. The thesis is a result of both secondary and primary data. The secondary data was collected from Jomo Kenyatta memorial library, Maxwell S D A Church Library (Nairobi) and seventh day Adventist East - African union headquarters (Nairobi). The primary data was collected mainly through administration of questionnaires, direct personal interviews as well as group discussions. Informants comprised, Pastors, Sabbath schoolteachers, superintendents, elders and other informed S D A members. .... The research findings confirmed that the S D A Church its Sabbath School lesson study programme has played a significant r.ole in the disintegration of Luo cultural practices by condemning such customary aspects as initiation, widow inheritance, polygamy, dietary prohibitions and practice of magic. The study has highlighted that it is the Sabbath school lesson study programme which makes Seventh-Day Adventist Church service peculiar, unique, sober, stable and organized compared to other Church services. It is hoped that this thesis is going to open doors to a better understanding of Seventh-Day Adventist Sabbath School lesson study programme. This study among other things shows how the lesson study programme has been used to inculcate moral values to children, youth and adults. The study concludes that Sabbath school lesson study programme is the most popular programme in the SDA church and SDA church members should devote more time to it because it holds the church together as a medium of instruction for the children, youth and adults. It makes Adventist church members become good Bible students who are equipped with scriptural arguments to face any adversaries.