Darrell Raney is a layman. But that has not stopped him from being on mission with God.

A member at Oklahoma City, Southern Hills for more than 20 years, Raney has taken on the role of church renewal coordinator, the lay person in charge of church renewal events, including Lay Renewal Weekends.

What exactly is a Lay Renewal Weekend? According to the North American Mission Board, it is “a lay-led, revival-type weekend that takes the church on a biblical-based, spiritual journey to becoming on mission with God.”

In September 2011, at Moore, First, Raney helped plan a lay-renewal weekend.

“The weekends are focused on prayer and hearing from God,” he said.

“Nearly 40 years ago, (Moore, First, Pastor) Kevin Clarkson went to a lay renewal weekend at Edmond, First, and it changed his life,” added Raney.

The weekends typically conclude with a Sunday evening service, which feature testimonies from weekend participants.

“You get to see the fruit during the Sunday night service. There is no preaching. You put a microphone at the front of the church and ask people to share about the weekend,” he said.

The service lasted three-and-a-half hours on Sunday evening.

The primary focus of Lay Renewal Weekends, according to Raney, is not evangelism. “But many times, there are people saved,” he said.

“The biggest part (is) about the people seeing, and being moved, about hearing what Christ has done in others’ lives,” he said. “One man was an ex-convict who shared about how God saved him.”

Another pastor in the Moore area, Keith Jacobs, pastor of Moore, Regency Park, stands by the idea.

“I have never been involved in anything that touched and moved the church body as a whole, to a greater commitment to Christ than our Lay Renewal Weekend,” said Jacobs. “It was through our Lay Renewal Weekend that our congregation gained a better understanding of the power and the importance of prayer.”

“In all of the many Lay Renewal Weekends I have been part of, I have seen firsthand how God heard the cry of the church,” concluded Raney. “If they really want fellowship, God hears.”

For more information on lay renewal, call 405/942-3000, ext. 4336.