Kurt Berg Named Teacher of the Year

Kurt Berg Named Teacher of the Year

by Andrew Camenga


Kurt Berg is the 2013 Sabbath School Teacher of the Year. A member of the Riverside, Calif., Seventh Day Baptist Church, Kurt has served for more than 20 years as a Sabbath School teacher for adults.

Each year the Board of Christian Education seeks nominees whose outstanding teaching skills have contributed to the Christian nurture of Seventh Day Baptists. Because we choose only one person as the Crystal Apple recipient each year, there are many teachers worthy of recognition who are not identified and honored. Nevertheless, we seek to honor one teacher on behalf of the many who have shared Christ and His teachings.

One of Kurt’s students stated that “to be a truly effective teacher of the Word of God, you must not only master the Word, but be mastered by it.” Kurt’s life and teaching demonstrate that reality. This student was impressed by his teaching style. “There are no special tricks, no gimmickry, no special programs or systems. There is just the Word and Kurt’s love for the Word, week after week, month after month, and year after year.”

Simply showing up for Sabbath School class—having read the Scripture and completing the needed research—isn’t enough to be a great Sabbath School teacher. You have to love those God has brought to your class. Kurt shows this love.

“All are really dear to Kurt,” and his “is a class of acceptance and collaboration, a place where all are valued and none are shunned.” One student, having observed Kurt’s teaching for quite some time summarized the way he loves his students as “unconditional.”

One city advertises itself with the slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” While there might be times in life where we wish a statement like that could be true, Sabbath School class is not one of them. Teachers and students should grow in grace and knowledge, and this should be seen in all of life. We want to be able to say, “What happens in Sabbath School, sticks with you forever.”

If this is going to be true, it has to start with the teacher. Kurt doesn’t just talk. “He is no ‘Saturday only’ believer, but a 24 hours a day, seven days a week Christian.”

Knowing the Word, loving the students, and living God’s call are three important ingredients in being a great Sabbath School teacher. A fourth is encouraging and inspiring students to do the same things. This characteristic showed in the testimony that accompanied Kurt’s nomination. His service as a teacher was said to have “changed lives” and to help keep people anchored to the Lord and His Word. Kurt’s desire to know and follow God’s Word was called “infectious” (in a good way).

We thank Kurt for his years of faithful service to the Riverside, Calif., SDB Church.

As this calendar year ends, consider your Sabbath School teachers. Some of them provide excellent lessons week after week and demonstrate a commitment to His calling year after year. Let them know that you appreciate their hard work. Let them know that their effort is helping produce the fruit a teacher longs to see: lives changed for God’s glory.

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