All year long, Oklahoma Baptists have been exposed to the Connect>1 Evangelism Campaign. This summer, Bob Mayfield, Sunday School and adult discipleship specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), led 16 Connect>1 clinics across the state, along with other church-related clinics, that drew 3,843 church leaders who learned how to apply evangelism through the church’s small groups or Sunday School.
“The connection of evangelism through Sunday School has everybody excited,” said Mayfield who mentioned the geographic goal of the Connect>1 clinics was to have them placed so that every Oklahoma Baptist Church would be within an hour’s drive to at least one clinic.
Mayfield also shared he and those who serve on the Connect>1 task force passed out 250,000 Gospel tracts and 90,000 pamphlets that present the 3151 Challenge—asking church members to pray for three people who are unbelievers, learn one Gospel presentation, invite five people to visit their small group and share the Gospel with one person.
“We are looking to have 100,000 Oklahoma Baptists engaged in this,” he said.
With the purpose of engaging the community through the Sunday School/small group program, Connect>1 has already seen positive results from churches who applied the 3151 Challenge earlier this year.
Mayfield said Altus, Martha Road started the 3151 Challenge in January, and by the end of the year’s first quarter, the church baptized as many people in those three months as they did the entire previous year.
Rosedale, First observed the challenge for a month and experienced 20 first-time guests and five professions of faith. Frederick, First is involved in the 3151 Challenge, and started a new Sunday School class on Labor Day weekend. Mayfield said the church reported the new class already has 10 new people attending and is looking to grow its Sunday School by 20-30 people this year.
What has been a major boost for the Connect>1 campaign involves LifeWay Christian Resources. LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life Sunday School curriculum features six lessons for the fall quarter written by Edmond, First Pastor Blake Gideon which emphasize an evangelistic challenge based on the Connect>1 approach.
“LifeWay volunteered to let us write the six-week unit for Bible Studies for Life,” said Mayfield. “This saved us a quarter of a million dollars of (Cooperative Program) money right there. With no extra cost to the churches, since they buy the literature anyway, and no extra cost to the (BGCO), we got six quality Bible studies written by Blake Gideon.”
So not only will Connect>1 influence Oklahoma Baptists, but the evangelistic campaign also will be presented to 1.2 million people in approximately 14 states.
Many churches are involved in the Connect>1 campaign getting equipped through Bible Studies for Life. In October, the churches will be engaged in the 3151 Challenge. Mayfield said the feedback he received from across the state is positive.
“Almost every meeting I’ve done, it is common to hear people say, ‘I wish our (SBC) convention worked this way all the time,’” said Mayfield. “A state convention that wants to help its associations in providing resources to its churches, working in partnership with the national entity (LifeWay) to produce something that is essentially free of charge to the local church and leveraging the largest organization of the church (Sunday School small groups) to carry out the mission of the church.”
For more information on Connect>1 visit www.reconnectss.com.