What is the one thing your church could do that could have a dramatic impact on its entire congregation? Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Sunday School Specialist Bob Mayfield had a ready response when asked that question.

“Of all the things a church could do that could have a positive and substantial impact on the local church, I think it would have to be an investment in the equipping and training of the Sunday School or small group leaders,” Mayfield said. “Sunday School is the largest organization in the church, and if the church wants to see long-term spiritual change, then it must obviously invest in that organizations leaders. People model their leaders! Furthermore, the church’s small group organization is its Bible-teaching, ministering, and evangelizing organization. Positive changes in the Sunday School will mean more people involved in these vital areas.”

Mayfield added, “Small groups is the church’s primary strategy to fulfill the Great Commission. The more focused and trained the small group leaders are on the Great Commission mandate to make disciples, the more effective the church will be in accomplishing its mission. Sometimes, the church makes the mistake of thinking the pastor is to do all of the ministry.  But the biblical model is found in Eph. 4:11-12, where Paul tells us that the work of the pastor is ‘…for the training of the saints in the work of the ministry…’ The pastor and church staff have a primary responsibility to equip the church members to do the ministry.”

To assist pastors with the biblical mandate of equipping the saints, and in particular its small group leaders, the BGCO is offering eight ReConnect Regional Sunday School clinics this August. Each clinic is led by a team of Oklahoma church leaders who have been trained in the ReConnect Sunday School initiative.

The ReConnect Sunday School initiative began almost two years ago with the purpose of reconnecting Sunday School with its historic roots as an evangelism and disciple-making strategy that involves the entire church. To serve as the church’s primary strategy, ReConnect Sunday School has defined the purpose of the church’s small groups in this way:  Sunday School is the church’s primary strategy to connect people to Jesus, His Truth, His community, and His mission.

The Regional ReConnect Sunday School clinics are designed to better equip Sunday School and small group leaders of all age groups so each leader can be a better disciple-maker.

“These clinics will focus on helping our group leaders be better teachers of biblical doctrine, understand the importance of involving their group in ministry and evangelism, and also have an understanding of how they can help their church grow this fall by using the START Campaign,” Mayfield stressed.

“Every one of our seminar leaders are Oklahomans. They also are practitioners. These leaders understand what it is like to minister to and reach Oklahomans with the Gospel. The seminars provided for each age group are practical. Teachers who participate are going to learn some great tools that will help them with their group.

“But beyond the tools and resources, clinic participants are going to return to their church as better leaders. Again, if you want to change your church, then your leaders have got to point and lead the direction in which you want your church to go.”

To register for one of the clinics, visit www.bgco.org/reconnectss. The cost is $10 per person, and includes resources and refreshments.

Information regarding the dates, times and locations of the eight ReConnect Regional Sunday School clinics can also be found on page 2 of this issue of the Baptist Messenger, or you can contact the Sunday School office at sundayschool@bgco.org or by calling 405/942-3000, ext. 4656.