One of the main reasons that we are doing the One Day Initiative among Oklahoma Baptists is that we need a new model to equip lay people, especially small group leaders and Sunday School teachers. I have been in Oklahoma for four years now. Our model of training has been through the associations. We (the state convention) bring a team of experts that we have trained, to a church that hosts the training for the association. The association publicizes the training to their churches. Oklahoma and other state conventions have used this model for years. After four years of training, I have noticed a few things:
- we generally have the same people attending each year;
- as a general rule, most of the people attending a seminar are over 50 years in age;
- we rarely have even one person attend who is under the age of 40;
- attendance has been plateaued for years;
- total attendance out of 25-30 associational training events is between 3,000-4,000 leaders.
My guesstimate is that we have about 20,000 Sunday School or small group leaders in our churches in Oklahoma. Even allowing for churches who conduct their own leadership equipping, at least 70-75 percent of our leaders are not receiving any equipping for their ministry. Obviously, times have changed and our Sunday School team felt like it was time to try a new approach, we just did not have a direction.
Last year, I was having lunch with my pastor, Mark Sinor of North Pointe Baptist Church in Edmond, whose average attendance is around 250. He made a comment that is still bouncing through my cranium. "Bob, if I bring my leaders to an association training event, I'll bring 5 or 6 people. But if I train my leaders in our own church building, we'll have 30-40 leaders attend." Train whistles were going off in my head. What if we just empowered the local church to conduct their own training and we provided resources to help them! More people could attend! The One Day Initiative was born!
We still felt like we needed a resource that was useable by a local church that could broadcast the vision of what we now call "missional small communities" (MSC). MSC's are either small groups or Sunday School classes whose purpose is to make disciples who are impacting lostness in their neighborhoods. So we needed a 30 minute video that pastors could show their leaders that would communicate this vision. Up stepped Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. Ed not only agreed to be the presenter for the 30 minute video about Missional Small Communities, he volunteered to do two more 30 minute videos for us too on the topics of: Missional Leadership, and Young Adults.
Ed Stetzer mentioned the One Day Initiative on his blog this past week. He says "Let me add that I think this kind of approach (One Day) will be big part of the future… It takes such training to people and not just to pastors." Here are some reasons why I think that an approach like One Day has such opportunity to strengthen the leaders in our groups and classes.
- The church owns the training. They are not attending an event someone else is responsible for;
- Leaders within the church are developed. Someone has got to lead the breakout sessions, and that would be the church's own people;
- The video provides a compelling vision of what a small community should be;
- One Day has a follow up plan where every group is asked to conduct a mission project in their community. It has follow through;
- It's less expensive. Church leaders do not have to travel across the county for training;
De-centralized and Customized
These two words are the key to the One Day Initiative. This equipping process is de-centralized. The local church is in control of the process. And customized, enough resources are offered so that each church can customize its training to its own context.
For more information about the One Day Initiative, go to the "About One Day" page at the BGCO website: http://www.bgco.org/5397.
If you want the DVD that has all three of Ed's promo videos on it, then you need to register to participate in the One Day Initiative. Register at: http://www.bgco.org/5399. This video, by the way is really loaded. It includes:
- All three of Ed's presentations;
- four, 60 second promotional videos for announcements to acquaint your church with One Day and Ed;
- four, 120 second worship videos to be used as part of your church's worship experience during One Day.