In 2011, Oklahoma Southern Baptists are stepping into a big challenge. We are asking Sunday School classes and small groups all over our state to adopt and pray for unreached people groups for one year! All 6,426 of them!
When I first contacted the International Mission Board (IMB) about doing this last year, I knew that we were getting into some uncharted waters, but I believe that this idea of adopting a people group for one year is going to be worth every bit of the effort required.
We are piloting this project at Northwest Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, where I am serving as the interim discipleship minister. Our LifeGroups (Sunday School) have adopted 24 unreached people groups. Along with the UPG’s, we have adopted all of the homerooms at a local school. One of the best things that we are experiencing at Northwest from these opportunities is that they are teaching our groups to think for themselves.
Many programs available to our churches for community or evangelism often already have the work done for the churches. In the 6426 Project, the work has to be done by the classes who are adopting the people groups. We have church members on the internet researching their adopted people group. One of our LifeGroups is buying books for the local school so the kids can learn how to read. Another group is making monthly visits to their adopted homeroom to encourage the local students.
Personally, I don’t think that we will ever develop missionaries in our churches if we (the professional clergy types) do all the work for them. The work of a missionary requires a person to discover their community and personally engage their community with the Gospel. Being missional requires work, study, and “shoe leather”.
Somehow, we need to reverse a current trend in Christianity where our members expect the pastor and or staff to accomplish most of the church’s work while our members sit in classes and study. Our track record over the past 40+ years indicates that this model of ministry is ineffective.
The 6426 Project works two ways. First, it engages our people in missions. Let me say that better: Project 6426 engages our people in the work of being missionaries. But the second, and in my opinion the more important reason, is that the 6,426 unreached people groups includes more than 2 billion people who need the Gospel! The more people we can involve in becoming missionaries to these 6,426 people groups, the better.
If your Sunday School class or small group would like to adopt one of these people groups, contact the Sunday School office at the BGCO at email@example.com, or you can register online on the resources page here.
By the way, as part of the Lottie Moon Offering for World Missions, the International Mission Board is also encouraging churches to reach the 6,426 unreached people groups. You can get more information about the IMB’s “Are We There Yet?” Lottie Moon offering for International missions here.