ALTUS—Pastoring a rural church has its advantages and disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages are: Domino’s doesn’t deliver to us, no Super Bowl parties because cable TV is not offered in the country and we have no one specific neighborhood or community to identify with. The advantages are: I shouldn’t eat pizza anyway, I usually don’t watch the Super Bowl and instead of one neighborhood, we have people attending from seven different communities and dozens of neighborhoods.
Martha Road is more of a Town and Country Church than the normal rural church. Many years ago, the leaders of the church had a vision to reach more people for Christ, so they built a new building three miles east of Martha where the church had been located for more than 100 years. This put the church on one of the busiest intersections in the county of 26,000 residents. Now we are only four miles from the north side of Altus and just six miles from the Altus Air Force Base.
Because of our location, Sunday School has become even more important to the unity and growth of the church. Sunday School helps our people get to know one another and to serve Christ together. We encourage the members of the church to collectively reach Altus for Christ and then for each member to take ownership in reaching their town, community or neighborhood for Christ.
The church is accomplishing this mission through its #lovingaltus strategy, which involves serving people and showing them the love of Christ. Each Sunday School class participates in this strategy by doing evangelistic community service projects. A couple of the projects include a monthly Soup Kitchen through a partnership with Southwest Association and a local Hispanic Baptist Church. Another recent project is called 5th Sunday Serve. We have discovered that through Sunday School, we have an organized workforce ready and willing to serve in ministry and missions.
The Sunday School leadership at Martha Road adopted the ReConnect Sunday School Vision Statement as the guiding statement for our Sunday School. With a few modifications it reads; “Sunday School is our primary strategy for connecting people to Christ, His Church, His Word and His Mission.” Sunday School is a natural way to connect our guests with committed followers of Christ who can help disciple and equip them to connect others to Christ.
We have grown our Sunday School through the Power of Ten concept we learned through the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Power Up campaign a few years ago. The idea is for every new class we start, our overall attendance will increase by 10. Over the years we have seen this proven true time and time again. We believe in this so much we set a goal of starting 20 new classes over a five-year period. By doing this we will double our current Sunday School.
By planning our growth this way, we can recruit and train new teachers in advance of starting the classes, as well as strategically plan on what classes we want to start. The ReConnect website has been a very useful tool in training our teachers and leadership. We see our reason for existing as a church is to connect our community, state, nation, and world to Christ. Sunday School is where it all starts at Martha Road.