Thousand Hills Baptist Association
Saturday, April 10, 2021

Monthly Message from the Director of Missions

March, 2021

Nine years ago I began my work among you as your director of missions. We moved here from Iowa where I had been serving on the state Baptist convention staff. Since then our daughter has graduated from college, married and now lives in St. Louis. Our son is working in the Des Moines area and is getting married next month.

Rachel and I became empty nesters about the time we moved here.

One of the roles I had up in Iowa was to be the state Sunday School Director. I had additional roles as a consultant for discipleship, stewardship, pastoral ministry and editing the state Baptist newspaper.

I was reminded of my role as chief Sunday school champion earlier this week when one of my colleagues passed away. Bob Mayfield was the Sunday School/Small Groups Specialist for Oklahoma Baptists. I never met a more enthusiastic Sunday school promoter than Bob. We were together on some affinity groups (in particular we were both officers of the State Sunday School Director Fellowship). We developed some blogs and professional websites for the fellowship.

One day Bob called me really excited (as usual). We were going to be at a meeting in Nashville at the LifeWay building and Bob wanted to have some t-shirts printed with the phrase “Arthur Flake is my Homeboy.” Arthur Flake was the man who developed “Flake’s Formula For Sunday School Growth.” More about that later. So we had the t-shirts printed up and all the state convention Sunday school directors wore them into LifeWay chapel that day to make a point of how much importance we thought Sunday school should be in the life of the churches we served. It was a fun day. LifeWay noticed our enthusiasm by the way. The t-shirts led to a coffee mug the next year. I still have mine and it is a treasured reminder of two things:
     1) Bob Mayfield, my friend and colleague, who enthusiastically cheered on Sunday School ministry.
     2) How much value the ministry of Sunday school (often now called small groups) is to the life of a church.

A lot of Sunday schools/small groups missed some time together this past year during the pandemic. As we begin to get past that, let’s really encourage people to participate in SS/Small groups again. Some churches Zoom in or Facebook Live their classes and even if people cannot be there in person they can participate.

Now back to Arthur Flake. He taught that to grow your Sunday school:
     1) Know the possibilities
     2) Enlarge the organization
     3) Enlist and train leaders
     4) Provide space
     5) Go after the people.

Flake taught all this during his ministry with the Sunday School Board in the 1920-50’s. The principles really haven’t changed. If you want to talk with me further about this, I’ll be glad to visit with you. Call me.