It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that virtually every Oklahoma Baptist church is in the need of—or in the process of—one of these four areas. Here’s a quick description of each:
Revival—The local church shows signs of life, but a God-given jumpstart is needed to refocus every member on the mandate to love and follow the Lord with all their heart, to rekindle the mission of sowing the seeds of the Gospel with their neighbors, and fan into flame the Holy Spirit’s presence within them. Oftentimes, a vocational evangelist, visiting pastor, ministry team or associational leadership is brought in to be used of the Lord to help.
Revitalization—The local church is on a downward trend, struggling in some or many areas and needs the supernatural work of God to restore health in the body by evidence of submission to God’s Word, right relationships among members, and a renewed commitment to the Great Commission (Gratitude to Mark Clifton of the North American Mission Board for that definition). In most situations, outside assistance is needed to help the church identify areas of concern and chart a path forward.
Replant—The local church is on the brink of disbanding, and the members discern God’s leadership to dissolve their current ministry and work with other churches or denominational bodies to begin a brand new season of ministry in their community (Mark Clifton, NAMB). This action is a wonderful way to honor the legacy and history of those who have gone before in the church family by closing that chapter of the church’s past and looking ahead to a new future. Our Send Oklahoma Church Planting team, made up of Oklahoma Baptist pastors, can be a valuable resource in this venture.
Plant—The local church, showing strong signs of life, is prompted by God to reproduce by starting a new work in an unreached or changing part of their community or wherever the Lord leads. Again, our Church Planting team—Ray Strauss (Oklahoma City metro and western Oklahoma); Rusty Gunn (Tulsa metro and eastern Oklahoma); Julio Crespo (Spanish-speaking work); and myself (Director)—are ready to help identify areas needing church plants and assist through the process.
Each of these callings—Revival, Revitalization, Replant, and Plant—hold several things in common: each can only be accomplished through the Lord’s doing; every one of them is useful in bringing glory to God and growing His kingdom; all require members of the local body to yield their desires and wishes in earnestly seeking the Lord’s will; and each are beautiful demonstrations that the church loves their community and desires to point their neighbors to salvation through Jesus Christ.
But there is one more vitally important common thread through them all. Each are the work of the Lord THROUGH the local church. Churches pray and long for revival; churches strive together through revitalization; churches discern God’s leadership in unity of spirit to vote to replant; and churches plant churches.
Truly, every Oklahoma Baptist church is in the need of or in the process of one of these four areas. What is the Lord showing you about your church?
As Oklahoma Baptists, we know there are unreached people groups around the world, but we may not be aware there are unreached neighborhoods right here in our own backyard. We have changing areas of our communities in need of a fresh vision and expressions of God’s love, grace and mercy. How will we respond? Our Send Oklahoma Church Planting team will join you in praying through and walking through this process. No doubt, this is a great work, but praise the Lord, we serve a great God with whom all things are possible.
Contact Ray Strauss (firstname.lastname@example.org); Rusty Gunn (email@example.com); Julio Crespo (firstname.lastname@example.org); or Doug Melton (email@example.com).