New specialist will be focused on relationships
JEFFERSON CITY – For Mark Donnell, Sunday School is all about relationships.
“People are looking for relationships today,” he said, “and Sunday School is the perfect opportunity to get to know people and build those relationships.”
The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has hired Donnell as its new general officers and adult Sunday School specialist. He will work with pastors and local Sunday School leaders to develop an environment for relationships which he believes will lead to opportunities for evangelism and a healthy, growing church.
“I still see Sunday School as the key element for church growth,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring in our lost friends. Sunday School needs to be more than just studying the Bible. It’s the perfect evangelism tool. It is designed to be small groups – whether at home, church, or an office building where you can bring in lost people to hear the Gospel, respond, then be discipled.”
Donnell and his wife, Brenda, are originally from Louisiana where he studied at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also served in churches in Florida, Tennessee and Michigan, and has experience ministering on the state convention level. Before serving these last three years as the associate pastor of worship and Christian development at Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton, Mich., he was on staff for 12 years at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan as the evangelism and church growth specialist.
Although Michigan is different from Missouri in geography, demographics, and culture, Donnell says he believes the Sunday School challenges are the same.
“We had mostly smaller churches in Michigan and from what I hear that’s how it is here in Missouri,” he said. “I’m sure the culture is going to be different, but small church work is small church work. No matter where you are, it’s difficult to find leaders, keep them, and get them trained.”