Imagine a way by which 300,000 saints could impact eternity on every single continent, in every single country on Earth. Imagine bringing the Gospel to more than 2 billion people who are living in places that have yet to be penetrated by the good news of Jesus Christ. Picture 20,000 Sunday School classes united in prayer for these unreached groups of people every Sunday! Now, imagine this happening, not years into the future, but right now!
In 2011, Oklahoma Baptists are daring to go where no one has ever trod before. For the first time that we are aware of, a concerted, full-court press is being launched to pray evangelistically for all of the world’s 6,426 unreached people groups in a thorough, organized manner that will impact lostness on every continent on the planet!
Our Sunday School and small groups ministries, working alongside the International Mission Board (IMB), have developed The 6426 Project. The goal of this project is to have Sunday School classes and small groups across Oklahoma adopt an unreached people group. Over the course of a year, the class will not only pray for their group on Sunday, but also research their group so that they can pray more accurately and effectively for the needs of their adopted people. The IMB has even said that classes can send their research to them so that they can better prepare future missionaries for the field.
This is a great challenge for our convention, but it is a challenge that I believe we are ready to take. The question is: how can we pull off such an ambitious undertaking? Not by creating another organization, but by engaging each church at its most basic level—its Sunday School or small group structure. As we move forward into the 21st Century, it is imperative that we get more people involved in mission. Most churches already have an organization in which almost all of their members belong, a Sunday School class. Most classes I know would love to be integrally involved in helping the church carry out its mission to its community and world.
We need to reconsider the practicality of how we are carrying out the Great Commission. The phrase “all nations” in the Great Commission really means “all people groups.” The Great Commission does not say, “Sunday School classes make disciples at home, while missionaries make disciples of people who are overseas.” The commission is clear: make disciples of all peoples. Therefore, we are all missionaries. In essence, we are shortchanging our people with a shortsighted interpretation of the Great Commission. Most classes I know would love for their church to value them enough to put them on the frontlines of the church’s mission.
Oklahoma Baptists, we can do this! We are simply asking 6,426 classes or groups from all over Oklahoma to adopt a people group for one year. Church size and location does not matter. The size or age of your group does not matter. What does matter is the willingness and commitment of each class to pray for its group and learn enough about them to pray specifically. We need to do this, not because it will make our classes stronger and grow up disciples in our groups. We need to do this because it is the right thing to do. We need to do this because, biblically, we are part of God’s mission to bring the Gospel to every lost soul on the planet. All of us, because we are all missionaries of the Gospel of Christ.
We have the names and locations of all 6,426 people groups on file in the Sunday School office at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. To participate and request a people group, contact the Sunday School office at 405/942-3800, ext. 4656, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastors and teachers can contact us to request a group. The information we need is the name of the class teacher, pastor’s name, church name and teacher’s e-mail address. People groups will not be duplicated, so if your class requests a group, that people group will not be assigned to another class. The BGCO can also be contacted for resources such as bookmarks, posters, bulletin inserts and suggestions of how your class can pray for its adopted people group.
Bob Mayfield is Sunday School/adult discipleship specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.