The Rapid City Adventist Church in South Dakota recently completed a pilot of the new Alive in Jesus Sabbath School Curriculum.  According to their website: “The Alive in Jesus Bible curriculum seeks to equip and empower parents, caregivers, Sabbath School teachers, Sabbath School leaders, and others to model and foster a thriving relationship with Jesus and the children and youth in their spheres of influence” (2023).

This curriculum covers the entire lower division Sabbath school classes, from Beginner to Youth, and will be released in 2025. As part of the curriculum pilot, Rapid City represented not only the Dakota Conference, but the entire Mid-America Union, as 80 churches encompassing 20 different languages participated in this global pilot.

The Sabbath school teachers attended training through the North American Division and eagerly decorated their classrooms with the provided backdrops and posters. Families were provided preliminary surveys and kids waited excitedly, knowing something new was coming to Sabbath school. The church held a special prayer of dedication lifting up the teachers, families and children, while asking the Spirit to make us all alive in Jesus.

Throughout the quarter-long pilot, teachers made notes such as, “Kids loved this activity,” “This craft was too complex for my age group,” or “I wasn’t able to adequately cover this lesson because a lot of kids arrived late.” Families completed secondary surveys where they shared feedback such as, “Student quarterlies were excellent with beautiful illustrations and creative ideas. It was a little tricky to cover all of the lessons when you have kids in both Kindergarten and Primary.”

If you ask any of the kids what they were learning about in Sabbath school, be prepared to be blown away by the depth of their retention and comprehension. Teachers commented on how engaged the kids were with the lesson activities and illustrations. Families noted that their kids would often bring up questions or comments from the Sabbath school lesson at home, and this led to further study and discussion during their family worship time.

There was a shared sentiment of sadness as the pilot came to a close, but overall participants expressed appreciation for the experience. Near the end of the pilot, Gerry Lopez, associate director of children’s ministry for the NAD, flew out with a videographer to film the kids participating in Sabbath school, conduct interviews, and collect feedback. He loved seeing how excited the kids were and shared that at every pilot church he visited, he truly saw this next generation alive in Jesus.

Learn more about the Alive in Jesus Sabbath School curriculum at

Kelli Wasemiller is the Dakota Conference elementary education superintendent and children’s ministry coordinator. She is a member of the Rapid City Adventist Church in South Dakota.