I am seriously praying that this coming Thursday, April 30, a movement is going to begin in Oklahoma that I hope God will use to not only impact lostness in Oklahoma… but help believers throughout our state realize that every one of us is a missionary in our neighborhood.
What would happen if every church, and every small group/SS leader, and every group in our state concentrated for just one day on penetrating our state with the gospel? And what if we could do this day of gospel penetration in a way that connects with our culture? Welcome to the One Day Initiative: One Day… One Mission… One Planet.
One Day… but three steps!
Step One happens this Thursday and Friday (April 30-May 1) at Falls Creek. On Thursday, we are training 170 people from all over our state. Leaders from across our state: pastors and lay people, youth ministers and preschool teachers, young and old, have written 26 training sessions for pastors, Sunday School teachers, and small group leaders (yes! small groups too!). We will be teaching these training seminars to the 170 attendees or consultants. By the way, this is almost triple the number of people we usually train as consultants each year!
Friday, May 1, a very important piece of the One Day Initiative occurs. An additional 120 people, most of them pastors, are going to join the group. We are going to videotape Ed Stetzer live at Falls Creek in front of about 300 people. Ed will make three presentations, each about 30 minutes in length. His subjects:
- Missional Small Communities (Small Groups & SS)
- Missional Leadership
- Lost and Found: Reaching and Keeping Young Adults
Can't make it to Falls Creek? Don't worry… On Tuesday, May 5, all of the training will be available online. 26 conferences, including conference plans, powerpoint presentations, listening guides, and hand outs. All of it FREE… thanks to the faithful partnering of Oklahoma Southern Baptists to the Cooperative Program. (How's that for Southern Baptists partnering!) The link? www.bgco.org/oneday. Don't have an internet connection? Let us know and we'll mail you a CD with all the materials on it. All of it except for Ed's videos, but I'll explain that later.
At this point, let me explain two key components of the One Day Initiative.
Decentralized and Customized
Decentralized: The BGCO is not going to bring a team of professionals to your church or association for training. We are decentralizing the training. Every association and every church decides how it will implement the training. We have a recommended schedule, but the local church is in charge. In fact, we are encouraging every church to equip leaders from their church to lead the training. Why? Because this process will help develop leaders within the church. As many of you know, it is easier to teach students than it is to teach your peers. By enlisting your own leaders to teach your other teachers and people who show up, you will be making better leaders of them.
Customized: For years, Sunday School training at the association level has generally been one size fits all. If the theme for a year is outreach, then all of the training offered was in outreach. If your leaders needed teaching skills, well wait a year or two and that will come somewhere in the cycle. One Day offers 26 seminars, or about 5 seminars of about an hour each for each age group (preschool, children, students, adults, and general leaders), plus a 2 hour seminar for small groups. Totaled up: that's 26 seminars. The local church can now customize its training. By the way, you can not teach all 26 seminars in one night. Choose the 5-10 seminars that best fit the needs of your church! Customize it!
Step Two occurs in August when you will equip the leaders (heck, you own the training now so you can equip your whole church if you want) of your church in the One Day Initiative. We are encouraging you to choose a day between August 18-27 to equip your people. I am the interim education minister at Northwest Baptist in OKC. We are having our One Day training on Sunday evening, August 23. This is where you need the video of Ed Stetzer. Show the 30 minute video of Ed speaking about Missional Small Communities. Your people will be challenged about the role of their class or group in being a critical part of God's mission in your neighborhood! Then, break into your age groups for some excellent Sunday School or small group training. Our goal for this step is to train 10,000 people to become missionaries in their community.
The only piece of One Day that you will not be able to download is Ed's video. To receive this DVD, you have to register to be part of the One Day Initiative. Yes, I know it's sneaky but hey, go ahead and do it. By registering, you are agreeing to: be part of the One Day Initiative; to not show the DVD at pastor conferences, etc. before August 18; and to let us know how One Day worked for you (fill out a survey). That's it! You can register to be a One Day church at www.bgco.org/oneday.
Step Three is the critical piece. We are asking every class or small group in our state to conduct one group mission project during the months of September and October. Just one! Let me share my passion with you. For years (make that decades) we have talked about the church's small group or Sunday School ministry being the church organized for her mission. Years! Yet rarely, if ever do we engage our groups in carrying out God's mission. Virtually all of the work most Sunday Schools do is internal ministry. We take care of our own. Rarely do we see individual classes engage in Kingdom building, you know… that get out in the community and make a difference kind of mission involvement. We have people sitting in our Sunday Schools who have sat through countless lessons on evangelism and missions, and have never done anything with that knowledge. Folks, that is just wrong! I am convinced that if we truly want to see the individuals in our classes live transformed lives, then we must move beyond lessons and we must engage them in actual Kingdom work. No one ever learned how to snow ski by reading a book! People do not become missionaries by only sitting in a class! There is only one way to learn how to ski – go to the top of a mountain and point your skis downhill! There is only one way to impact lostness in your neighborhood – you have to do it!
So this third step is engagement. Our goal is to have at least 3,000 mission projects take place in our state during September and October of 2009. Churches, let me be clear. Let every class choose their mission project. Don't assign them. Let the creativity of your people come out. That number of mission projects would translate into 30,000 Oklahoma Baptists reaching the people in their community by simply doing one thing: serving them! People in Oklahoma know what we're against. We've told them! But we also need to let them know what we are for. Technically, it is who we are for… we are for them!
There is a phrase from the 60's about sharing the gospel with youth. "You have to earn the right to be heard." That phrase now applies to several generations. We are going to earn the right to be heard by people in our state. We are going to love them – we are going to love them even if they still choose not to come to our church. We are going to love them even if they refuse Jesus. Instead of someone in your neighborhood having to come to a church facility to hear about Jesus, they are going to learn about Jesus in their own neighborhood – from you!
I hope you will join the One Day Initiative. I believe that God is still on mission to redeem humanity to Himself. God is on the greatest rescue mission of all time… and we can be part of it! Register for One Day at www.bgco.org/oneday .
Other links in this blog about One Day that may be of interest.