The largest organization in almost all Oklahoma Baptist churches is its Sunday School or small group equivalent (LifeGroup, Connection Group, etc.) The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s ReConnect Sunday School Initiative has a vision of connecting the church’s largest organization with the church’s most important task—fulfilling the Great Commission.
BGCO ReConnect Sunday School point person Bob Mayfield said, “It seems obvious that the largest organization of the church ought to be doing the mission of the church. However, many church members do not realize that the Sunday School is how their church is organized to carry out the Great Commission. It is essential for the leaders of the church’s small group Bible studies to understand the strategy behind Sunday School and work to involve every member of their group in helping the church project the Gospel into their community.”
To assist pastors and leaders of the church, the BGCO is partnering with Oklahoma associations and local churches to bring leadership and Bible study training to as many churches as possible. Rather than gather at a central location, ReConnect Sunday School Regional Clinics will be offered in 14 locations throughout the state of Oklahoma this August. (A list of clinic locations is located on this page and at www.reconnectss.com/clinics.)
A ReConnect Sunday School Regional Clinic is less than three hours in length. Each seminar begins with a 30-minute general session that involves all participants. Following the general session, participants move into seminars based on the age-group they lead in their church. Seminar and keynote speakers all serve in Oklahoma Baptist churches and are practitioners. Mayfield said, “The importance of using leaders in Oklahoma churches is vital. Those attending a ReConnect Regional Clinic are not just receiving theory. Our seminar leaders are all practitioners themselves and have experience in leading Great Commission Sunday School groups.”
ReConnect Sunday School Regional Clinics also offer seminars just for pastors. According to Mayfield, pastors have a critical role in leading the Sunday School.
“We have learned that for the Sunday School to be successful, the pastor must consistently and persistently champion the Sunday School organization to the entire church,” he said. “The Sunday School is an extension of the pastor’s ministry. The more involved the pastor is in setting direction, vision, and expectations; the more effective the Sunday School will become as the church’s leading strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission.”
To put a point on equipping Sunday School leaders, ReConnect Regional Clinics are targeting specific group leader skills. Mayfield shares “We offer specific training at our clinics that are targeted at the age-groups. Leaders of adult groups need different training than leaders of preschoolers. Each age-group seminar is focused on the needs of that particular group leader.”
Oklahoma churches are responding well to the partnership of the BGCO, association, and local churches. “Participation nationwide at most Sunday School training events of this type is 50-75 participants. Our average attendance in Oklahoma last year was 246 people per clinic with a high of just more than 400 in Ardmore and a low of 71 at the Panhandle clinic in Hooker, which happens to be our most sparsely populated region.”
Below is a list of what participants at a ReConnect Sunday School Regional Clinic will learn this August.
Pastor topics include: The Why and How of a Churchwide Sunday School/Small Group Campaign, Who Is Your “Make It So, Number One?” and Transitioning Sunday School from an Event to a Strategy. Pastors will also preview 2016’s Connect1 Emphasis on Sunday School and Evangelism, and dialogue about best practices of the pastor leading the Sunday School.
/// Sunday School Directors
Sunday School Directors will learn five specific ways that they can support their pastor’s vision of Sunday School. In addition, they will learn how to lead their Sunday School to organize for growth and five essential metrics the church needs to measure. Participants will learn how to implement a weekly outreach strategy. Also, Sunday School Directors will receive an overview of the principles taught in the adult breakout session.
/// Adult leaders
Adult leaders will learn the value of teaching doctrine in small group Bible study, plus the “Four Discipleship Stages of Group Members.” Participants in an adult leader seminar will also discover the “Eight Ways Adults Learn,” and “Four Teaching Methods Every Adult Leader Should Know.” Leaders of adults will learn the disciple-making value of organizing their group for outreach/evangelism and community/ministry. In addition, this seminar will share “Five Small Group Leadership Qualities” that will help them understand their role as the leader of a group that is spiritually transforming lives.
/// Student leaders
Leaders of student groups will learn how to lead discussions in student small groups; five practical things a student Sunday School teacher needs to know about leading youth Bible study; and how to connect with teenagers that are (a lot) younger than you. Also, participants will learn how to help students develop a productive prayer life.
/// Grade School leaders
Leaders of children will walk away with some new, fresh and recycled ideas. Leaders will discuss the Bible skills children need to learn and how to teach them effectively. Participants will learn how to talk to a child about salvation. Teachers will also learn teaching tips from storytelling to classroom discipline.
/// Preschool leaders
Leaders of preschoolers (2-K) will learn about how to creatively use home living centers; how to keep discipline in the room so children have a positive learning experience; how to teach preschoolers through conversations; and setting up a welcoming environment in your room. Participants will also learn how properly done art centers help preschoolers learn.
Participation at a Regional ReConnect Sunday School Clinic is free. Participants do not need to pre-register with the BGCO to participate. For online information, go to www.reconnectss.com/clinics, or contact the Sunday School office by phone at 405/942-3000, ext. 4656, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.