First, I know that many readers are not Oklahoma Baptists. Let me encourage you to read on…
Research is telling us that only 2% of church members are active in evangelism. I know that as a pastor that is heartbreaking! As pastors, we know that wishful thinking and good intentions will not engage the other 98%. We need a plan to engage the whole church, as many as possible, to become personal evangelists.
The Connect>1 Evangelism Campaign is an effort by Oklahoma Baptists to utilize their existing Sunday School or small group organization to develop personal soulwinners. Connect>1 is an evangelism emphasis that is part of Oklahoma’s ReConnect Sunday School Initiative. Although this emphasis began in Oklahoma, the Sunday School or Small Group ministries in twelve (12) other Southern Baptist state conventions are doing a similar type of campaign this fall, and are using LifeWay Bible Studies for Life curriculum to teach the Gospel to people participating in small groups. In many states, the state Sunday School specialist is in full partnership with the state’s evangelism specialist.
Our churches are full of good people who love Jesus and love their church. However, in most churches these members are not engaged in personal evangelism. How many more people could be won to Jesus every year if church members were better equipped, engaged, and encouraged to share Christ with their friends and neighbors?
The Connect>1 Evangelism Campaign is an effort to engage more church members in personal evangelism. The campaign has two overlapping phases: the equipping phase and the engaging phase.
The BGCO has partnered with LifeWay to write six lessons on the Gospel that will be featured in LifeWay’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum beginning in September of 2016. These six Bible studies will lead group members to discover the “Unvarnished Truth” of the Gospel. So many church members know Gospel talking-points, but have difficulty giving a thorough explanation of the Gospel to friends and neighbors. These Bible studies will ground the participants in the truth of the Gospel.
The engaging phase begins on October 2, 2016 with Soulwinning Commitment Day. On this day, pastors are encouraged to issue the 3151 Challenge to the church members. The 3151 Challenge is a doable plan to take the next step from studying the Gospel to sharing the Gospel. During the month of October, the 3151 Challenge will involve the following:
3 Pray for three lost people by name
1 Learn a Gospel presentation
5 Invite 5 people to their group
1 Share the Gospel at least one time
For too long we have separated our Sunday Schools and small groups from evangelistic intentionality. As a result, we have separated the people in our groups from the initial step of the Great Commission – “Go”! In addition, we have not completed our primary task of developing a soulwinner and therefore completing the discipleship process. Connect>1 is an opportunity to turn our small groups into evangelists!
The Connect>1 Evangelism Campaign is designed to engage every church member in personal evangelism. For most of our churches, Sunday School is by far and away the largest organization in the church. Engaging the church’s largest organization with the privilege of leading the church’s personal evangelism mission is a multiplication opportunity that the church must leverage. It only makes sense that the largest organization of the church be focused on doing the mission of the church!
Our ReConnect Sunday School Task Force has shared the details of the Connect>1 Evangelism Campaign with the pastors and church leaders in every association in Oklahoma. The response has been incredibly receptive. Several pastors engaged their churches with the 3151 Challenge this spring and the results are tremendous. There are more details and resources for engaging the vast majority of your church members in evangelism at our website. To preview and download resources, go here.
BGCO Sunday School & Small Group specialist