Oklahoma Baptist University students will put their Christian liberal arts education in action during the bi-annual OBU Day in the Churches Feb. 22 and March 1. Students will travel to the East Central and Northeastern Baptist associations to lead churches during worship services.
"For the last several years we have been focusing on associations," said Dale Griffin, OBU dean of spiritual life. "Rather than blitzing the entire state, we have been going to particular associations."
For each OBU Day in the Churches event, Odus Compton, OBU director of church relations, collects requests from churches in the participating associations for students to help preach, lead music, share their testimony and serve in other ways. The OBU community is invited to participate through campus mail.
"We need help from students, faculty, staff and administration," said Griffin.
Junior Drew Melton served during the fall semester in the Panhandle Baptist Association.
"I participated in OBU Day in the Churches as a religion major because it gives me good experience in local church work, and it gives students a good opportunity to showcase the education they get at Oklahoma Baptist University," he said.
In the past, OBU has tried to canvas the whole state, volunteering their services to all Baptist churches in Oklahoma. In 2006, the focus shifted to individual Oklahoma Baptist associations. In the fall of 2008, OBU students focused on the Panhandle and Northwest associations.
"We feel better about the association approach because there are 1,700 different churches in the state," said Griffin. "Out of 1,700 churches, 150 at the most would ask us to come. It didn't have an impact; they couldn't feel that OBU had come to town."
Using the association approach, the same number of students can serve in a specific association. Typically 60 to 70 students participate in the emphasis, Griffin said.
"We may not be hitting as many churches, but the association knows we were there," he said. "Now it's more of a relationship rather than a quick announcement."
OBU Day in the Churches has been an annual event since 1984. OBU hopes to serve all of the associations in the state through the next several years.