Since introduction of Arthur Flake’s formula for building Sunday School classes (1922), many Christians have memorized and implemented his five steps toward the organization and expansion of small groups brought together for Bible study.
While his concepts originally provided a way to engage with people who had little or no direct contact with the Bible, it was never his idea that the class was simply to be nothing more than a weekly assembly. Over time, however, the Sunday School class came to be viewed by many as a static entity unto itself with a limited impact on those outside the group. “Mark 10:45 does not say that Jesus came and sat in a chair and took notes,” stated Bob Mayfield, Sunday School/adult discipleship specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “This verse says the Son of Man came to serve and give His life a ransom for many.”
Yet, Mayfield’s research shows that the critical factor toward a renewed vibrancy of Sunday School across generations centers on the vision of the teacher of the class who is committed to seeing the group as something more than a weekly information session.
“Sunday School classes can be a place of 24/7 ministry where one class can go out into the community and be the hands and feet of Jesus to others,” Mayfield said.
The teacher, however, must be trained to both teach the Bible and engage those in the class to view themselves “as missional agents of Jesus that do great things for God.”
To train and encourage Sunday School teachers and leaders to live as missionaries to their own communities, the One Day Initiative has been created to mobilize the resources and energies of a church’s entire Sunday School ministry toward a unified mission focus across Oklahoma. During the 10 days of Aug. 18-27, local churches are encouraged to participate in a one-day seminar with resources which can be downloaded and viewed by church leaders for use in their particular context. Following the seminar, each small group and class will design and participate in a class mission project during the months of September and October.
“Our desire is to de-centralize training and resource the local church to do what they and they alone can and should do,” Mayfield said. “People know their own communities in a way like no one else, and our hope is that One Day will result in a widespread awareness throughout the state of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
More than a standalone initiative, Mayfield designed One Day as a way to integrate Bible teaching and mission outreach in ways that would encourage classes to constantly think of ways to expand their focus and increase their passion for starting new Bible study groups. The One Day training material includes studies for all age groups complete with theological foundations and modules such as “WWPS: What Would Paul Say?” and Bible studies to encourage local mission projects as visible expressions of the Gospel. Mayfield is quick to state that he does not believe the Bible is a self-help manual, but a revelation of the salvation of God complete with commands to all believers to fully obey as faithful servants of Jesus Christ.
“For too long we have rebelled against the authority of God as revealed in the Bible when we refuse to go and engage our communities with the Gospel,” Mayfield said. “One Day is a tool for local churches to take charge of their own ministry and join other believers across the state in a display of God’s grace as His people faithfully seek to live out the Gospel in their communities.”
For more information about One Day, or to register your church, visit http://www.bgco.org/oneday.