A quest is a search or pursuit with the purpose of finding or obtaining something, often referred to when gaining knowledge or engaged in an expedition ending in some status acquired. Quest is no different, only ending in gaining of practical ways for local congregation ministries to become more effective.
Quest is a program held in the summer on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. Quest is a highly-interactive meeting of leaders, teachers, youth ministers, song leaders and many others who contribute to the value of their local congregation, all coming together to discuss and learn about how to make the ministries at their home congregation more effective.
"Quest is different because it's very intentional on people being able to participate and discuss ideas in facilitated group discussions. People can start sharing ideas on what that might mean for their local church," Quest co-director and Oklahoma Christian professor of New Testament and Ministry John Harrison said.
Quest is different because of its format. It isn't a formal lecture, but a discussion.
"I'm excited about the open format; I think it will lend itself to more information being transferred from those who are experienced and have been doing it for a long time to those who don't know or aren't sure how to apply what they know," Oklahoma Christian alumnus and youth minister at South Yukon Church of Christ Josh Sloan said.
Quest came about when the annual lectureship format was cancelled. This is Quest's second year in providing a venue that brings together experienced leaders and teachers to discuss subjects that convey effectiveness in ministries in the local churches.
"It was decided that there needed to be something else that could service the local churches. This is where Quest came from. We decided that Quest would concentrate on practical information that participants could take back to their congregations," Harrison said.
More tracks have been added this year, including new ones that deal specifically with teens. This teen portion has been extended from just Friday to Friday and Saturday. Starting on Friday evening, teens will be invited to enjoy the Summer Singers and a devotional under the McGraw Pavilion.
On Saturday morning, teens will participate in a session with Unbound (Oklahoma Christian's drama group) and a teen panel about teens and their role in the Churches of Christ. That afternoon, they will enjoy an adult panel about the importance of teenagers in the churches' ministries and on their choices about their participation in the church after high school.
"I'm glad to be able to attend and bring teens with me to participate in the forum about important topics as their church involvement after high school. That was a weird step for me, personally, coming from a one-church town to a city like Edmond that was literally a buffet of church choices. I'm excited to see how the teens will respond and interact," Sloan said.
At the end of Quest last year, they surveyed the attendants, and there was a 99 percent approval rate for return. The three things enjoyed the most were the high-quality, knowledgeable presenters, facilitated break-out session and the practical information.
"I enjoyed last year; the classes were informative and oriented for leaders to learn what might work and what might not work for them. There was also a good pace of classes, without there being too many for you to take it all in. I look forward to returning this year and so do a number of our members and elders," pulpit minister of Stillwater Church of Christ Dean Bryce said.
The co-directors are very excited about the success of Quest. Last year, about 300 people were in attendance and so far this year, the number of those registered is double what it was last year at this same time. Though numbers are not their biggest goal, nor how they measure their success, they are glad to know that more people are interested in making the ministries in their local congregations more effective.
"We want people who leave Quest feeling what they're getting is relevant and they can make a practical difference at their church, by knowing how to implement what they've learned," Harrison said.
Quest will be held on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University on May 29-31, and all those interested can register online at www.oc.edu/quest .