Church leaders, both pastors and lay-leaders, from across Oklahoma and other states came to Oklahoma City, Quail Springs to attend the Transform Conference on Sat., March 29 with more than 600 in attendance. The conference featured speakers from Lifeway Christian Resources who led age-specific groups of Bible study teachers and other Sunday School or small group leaders, training them to “have a life-changing impact” at their churches.
“Anytime we can provide training, especially training that focuses on transforming people through Bible knowledge and application, we need to be offering it,” said Bob Mayfield, Sunday School and adult discipleship specialist at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. “I think that’s the thing about the Transform Conference is it is well named. It’s not just about biblical information. The Pharisees had a ton of biblical information. It’s the transformation that we are looking for.”
Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, was the rally speaker for the Transform Conference and offered great emphasis on the importance of Sunday School. He spoke from Num. 10:11-18 about how the people of Israel were organized in the way they set up camp in the wilderness and how they traveled together. Dilbeck used this passage to emphasize how to mobilize God’s people for their mission and organize them for their work.
“The local church organized for a mission to reach and teach and care is Sunday School,” said Dilbeck. “If your business is more organized than your Sunday School class then your priorities aren’t straight. Isn’t this important work? What is more important—reaching, teaching, caring for people in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ or your business, your school? We organize every other aspect of our lives. Why won’t we give attention to this when it comes to our Sunday School responsibilities?”
Mayfield said Dilbeck “hit it out of the park” as the keynote speaker, and he praised the different speakers who led the sessions. “We had national-caliber speakers, and they were fantastic.”
The Transform Conference also featured an emphasis of the ReConnect Sunday School initiative. “ReConnect is made up of four connectors which are connecting people to Jesus, His truth, His community and His mission,” said Mayfield. “One of the important ones is connecting people to His truth which is Bible study. This conference perfectly fits what we are trying to accomplish in that we want to make sure when we connect people to Jesus we also get them into a good Bible study group where they can learn God’s Word and apply God’s Word to their lives.”
Mayfield said the Transform Conference also was a good representation of Southern Baptist partnership, involving leaders at national, state, associational and local church levels who came together to help train Sunday School leaders.
Next year, the Transform Conference will be in the Tulsa area, with plans to meet March 28, 2015. The location is still to be determined.