Churches today have so many choices available to them. But Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Sunday School/Adult Discipleship Specialist Bob Mayfield believes the foundational strategy of the local church is still connecting people to Jesus, His Truth, His community, and His mission through a small group strategy.
“The church’s mission given by Jesus Christ is to make disciples. Until Christ returns, the Great Commission will always be the mission of the local church,” Mayfield said. “As the church’s largest organization, connecting the Sunday School to the mission of the church is vital.”
Oklahoma’s ReConnect Sunday School Initiative is designed to help the local church use its small groups as the primary driver of the Great Commission.
Mayfield said, “Most church members already belong to a group. The next step for many churches is to connect their groups to the church’s mission. The church does not need to develop a new organization or place another meeting on the calendar. Instead, the church can leverage its Sunday School so it becomes the discipling arm of the church.”
To date, 396 Oklahoma churches have officially committed to Sunday School or small groups as their church’s primary strategy. These churches have also pledged to start 1,447 new groups and train 3,741 small group leaders. To assist churches and associations with their training needs, the BGCO sponsored eight Regional ReConnect Clinics this fall, with a total attendance of 2,247 leaders.
Two ReConnect Sunday School resources are receiving national attention. First is the online training website, www.training.reconnectss.com This training site has 144 training videos. To encourage Sunday School and small group leaders to continue their online training, 36 “badges” have been created that participants can earn by watching videos.
Mayfield said, “The ReConnect online training website is really a 21st Century version of the old ‘Church Study Course’ developed by the Baptist Sunday School Board. It is a great way for busy Sunday School leaders today to receive training so that they are growing in their ability to make disciples through their group. In addition, ReConnectss.com offers a certification course so Sunday School and small group leaders understand the concept of using Sunday School as the church’s primary discipleship strategy.”
Already, more than 1,800 people are registered for training at www.reconnectss.com.
A second resource receiving national attention is ReConnect’s weekly overview of LifeWay’s Explore the Bible curriculum, located online at training.reconnectss.com/explore. Each week, a professor from Oklahoma Baptist University provides an overview of the Bible study that includes doctrinal insights and some practical application.
“It is a common occurrence,” said Mayfield, “to hear from an out-of-state pastor or Sunday School director who wants to use this online resource to assist their teachers with Bible study preparation. One of the first things they ask is how much does it cost. I have the privilege of informing them that because of the commitment and participation of Oklahoma Baptists to the Cooperative Program, we are able to provide both of these resources free of charge to our churches, and we are happy to let them use the websites as well.”
For more information about the BGCO’s ReConnect Sunday School initiative, visit www.reconnectss.com or email [email protected].