In February 2010, the Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma called for the formation of a Mission Advance Team to consider our cooperative future as churches united together in the work of the BGCO. The 23-member committee reflects the diversity of Oklahoma Baptists. The assignment of the task force was to analyze the work of the convention and recommend strategic priorities that will guide the BGCO Board of Directors and staff as we seek to take full advantage of the opportunities presented in our changing future.
The team, chaired by Dr. Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs, Oklahoma City, held four two-day meetings. Much time was committed to prayer in the meetings and between the meetings. The committee asked the Lord for wisdom. In the first session the committee acknowledged both the necessity of planning and the folly of planning apart from the Lord’s good hand. “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31).
The team took time to read the history of Oklahoma Baptist work, recognizing that we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. In order to comprehend the vast work accomplished through the staff of the convention, the first meeting was given to hearing presentations from every specialist and team leader. The wealth of information set in place a firm foundation for analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to our cooperative work. The task force felt it was time to create a new mission statement that would capture our intent for the next several years of ministry. Anchored in Scripture, this mission statement will serve as a “north star” to guide the staff and work for years to come.
In the pursuit of a clear focus for ministry in the years ahead the task force identified five areas that deserve priority in ministry and in funding. The task force believes that strategic and intentional effort in these areas will lead our convention to greater effectiveness and the bold advancement of the Kingdom of God in Oklahoma, our nation, and world. The recommendations are broad and directional. We leave to the leaders and board of directors the task of giving greater specificity to the ministries and budgets that pursue these priorities
One overarching perspective permeated the considerations of the task force: the convention exists only as a cooperating group of churches. It was formed in 1906 from a desire of the local churches to cooperate together to accomplish more than could be done alone. The task force appreciates the work of the convention focused on equipping churches for greater impact. However, a fresh focus on the work of the convention expanding and extending the reach of the local churches will provide helpful balance. As a convention, we do together what we cannot do alone. Every local church must strive to be strong and healthy, embracing the demands of its field of ministry under the Lordship of Christ and in the power of His Spirit.
With this background we present to you our report.
Janice Berrong, Clinton, First
Hance Dilbeck, Oklahoma City, Quail Springs
Emerson Falls, Oklahoma City, Glorieta
Alton Fannin, Ardmore, First
Jeremy Freeman, Newcastle, First
Nick Garland, Broken Arrow, First
Blake Gideon, Inola, First
Tim Green, Seminole, Harvey Road
Shane Hall, Lawton, First
Scott Hamilton, Hinton, First
Chad Kaminski, Allen, First
Doug King, Goodwell, Goodwell Baptist Church
Jason Langley, Mannford, Lakeside Southern
Doug Melton, Oklahoma City, Southern Hills
Johnny Montgomery, Red Oak, First
William Noel, Oklahoma City, Grace and Glory
Alfaro Orozco, Edmond, Hispanic
Brent Prentice, Stillwater, Eagle Heights
Doyle Pryor, Sapulpa, First
Carol Sallee, Bixby, New Beginnings
James Wilder, Grove, First
Andy Wilkins, Enid, Emmanuel
Michael Williamson, Lawton, New Covenant
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The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is a partnership of churches serving together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to impact lostness with the Gospel by making disciples of all peoples.
“Doing more together than we can do alone.”
The mission statement can be described by three couplets: serving together, impacting lostness, making disciples.
Serving Together. The convention is a network of autonomous churches who have determined they can do more together than alone. It is the genius of our Southern Baptist way. Our partnership is a choice. We are able to unite resources and people in order to expand Kingdom advance.
Impacting Lostness. Jesus declared His mission as “seeking and saving that which is lost.” The parables of the lost sheep, coin, and son all point to the divine mission toward the lost. The churches of our Lord are to have the same focus. The world is dark and we have the light, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Making Disciples. Too often discipleship and evangelism have been divorced. Not so in the Great Commission. The church is not assigned to make converts but rather make fully devoted followers of Christ. Anything less falls short of the commission given by our Lord. This work is not localized but extends to every point on the Acts 1:8 continuum.
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The Mission Advance Team sought a clear understanding of the financial impact of the recent Great Commission Resurgence Report approved by the SBC in 2010. The anticipated loss of North American Mission Board (NAMB) funds available for use in Oklahoma presents a significant challenge to continued funding of our mission. We will continue strong cooperation and support for SBC missions and ministries by adjusting to the adverse impact on our budget in the following ways.
- We will work to increase Cooperative Program giving.
- We will reduce BGCO costs through strategic cuts.
- We will set aside, as necessary, historic shared expenses for the promotion and administration of the Cooperative Program as recommended by the Great Commission Resurgence Report.
- We will encourage churches and associations to embrace a new level of responsibility for the church planting and evangelism work in Oklahoma formerly funded by the North American Mission Board.
Values express the ethical standards important to the BGCO and its staff as they work together. Values are inherent, not developed. These are the things we hold dear. True to our Baptist identity, the values of the convention are Biblical in nature. No guide takes precedence over the Bible, God’s infallible and inerrant word.
We dedicate ourselves to seek the King and His Kingdom first in all we do and to advance the Kingdom in the hearts of people.
We commit ourselves to operating with the highest level of personal, organizational, and financial integrity.
We believe that the local church is God’s chosen instrument to reach and disciple people and our task is to support, undergird, and extend the ministry of the local church.
We are a confessional rather than a creedal people, and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 stands as our confession of faith.
We commit ourselves to cooperate at every level of Southern Baptist life to accomplish more together than we can separately.
We cherish every relationship we hold and will seek to maintain healthy relationships with all by humbly serving and seeking to meet needs.
We believe that the family has been instituted by God, is the foundational unit of our society, and will be emphasized and greatly valued by Oklahoma Baptists.
We believe that our Lord deserves our best in all that we do; therefore, we will seek to serve Him and others with the highest possible degree of excellence.
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As the task force analyzed the present work of the convention we found many points of strength. These strengths give us advantage as we move into a new decade of ministry together. We set these forth with thanksgiving to God.
Through the years of the conservative resurgence, which were fraught with turmoil and division, the Oklahoma convention remained unified. Oklahoma Baptists remain so today. While unity does not mitigate diversity, it results in peace. Unity is fragile and demands vigilance. It can never be taken for granted, but it can be enjoyed.
The convention has expanded and upgraded the facilities of Falls Creek while expanding and strengthening its programming and mission. The new tabernacle has inspired churches to build new cabins and renovate old ones. The conference center continues to expand recreational opportunities. Once a summer encampment, Falls Creek has increasingly become a destination point for year-round retreats and training events. The future remains incredibly bright, and the challenge to continue the provision of facilities that meet the needs of our churches is a high priority.
In 2008 we renewed our children’s mission camp ministry at the old Camp Hudgens, renaming it CrossTimbers. It is one of the few children’s camps primarily focused on missions. Programming centers on learning about missions through hands-on experiences. The Gospel is proclaimed every week, and many children come to know Christ at camp. The number of campers has doubled and the camp has reached capacity. The only thing that limits CrossTimbers from further growth is facility expansion.
Oklahoma has more trained disaster relief volunteers than most state conventions in the SBC. A finely tuned organization, BGCO Disaster Relief is operated and led by lay leaders. We believe this organizational structure is one of the most effectively designed and implemented ministries of the BGCO. The leader has trained and empowered skilled volunteers to direct the work. This pattern should be emulated in other areas of the BGCO for effectiveness and expansive impact.
It is clear that God has given us a creative, dedicated, hard-working, and productive group of leaders at the BGCO. Innovative training techniques and materials developed by the BGCO are being used as models for convention work across the SBC. Some of the most effective work of the staff is in the large events that are expertly planned and done.
Baptist Collegiate Ministries
College campuses are an important mission field. These ministries serve as beachheads for the Gospel. They are disciple-making ministries that engage students in Bible study, evangelism, and missions.
Founded in 1912, the Baptist Messenger has the third largest circulation among Oklahoma newspapers. As the voice of Oklahoma Baptists, it keeps readers informed of the work of Oklahoma and Southern Baptists, personalizing the impact of the Cooperative Program. When moral issues arise, the Messenger serves as a clear Biblical and conservative trumpet blast ringing through homes, businesses, and even the corridors of the state’s executive and legislative offices.
Over the last 15 years we have extended our cooperative reach through developing partnerships with other state conventions in underserved areas of America and with areas on the international mission field. The convention has served to synergize the work of our churches through connecting them with opportunities for personalization of missions by their members. Hundreds of mission trip experiences by our local churches have left an indelible mark for Kingdom impact across the globe.
Sunday School Emphasis
PowerUP materials set a new standard for Sunday School and small group ministry in the church. One Day events provided materials and equipped the local church to expand training of local church leaders, Sunday School and small group leaders. These emphases and other innovative approaches have powerfully strengthened the ministry of the local church.
When the youth ministry of the convention is mentioned there is an immediate focus on Falls Creek and Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC). Nothing in our organization reaches more people or provides more opportunity for reaching and discipling youth and leaders. Few areas of ministry have experienced broader impact among full-time, bivocational, and volunteer workers.
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- Develop an aggressive, comprehensive plan to train pastors who are able to equip Oklahoma Baptist churches to impact lostness by making disciples.
- Develop formal and informal training opportunities for every Oklahoma pastor through collaborative efforts of BGCO, OBU, and directors of missions.
- Provide culturally relevant training for ethnic and bivocational pastors.
- Emphasize Biblical preaching, leadership, doctrinal soundness, and practical pastoral skills.
- Encourage established pastors to cultivate mentoring relationships with younger pastors.
- Ask churches to support their pastors’ pursuit of further training.
- Equip Oklahoma Baptist churches to make disciples of young adults and impact the lostness of the emerging generations.
- Challenge the BCM and churches to partner to aggressively impact lostness of the local campus.
- Encourage churches to utilize BGCO resources and staff to develop strategy that will equip them to reach students and emerging generations.
- Equip churches, youth ministers, and pastors with ways to incorporate young adults into the larger life, leadership, and mission of the church.
- Facilitate broader participation in partnership missions in order to inspire more Oklahoma Baptists to impact lostness and make disciples.
- Connect churches for the purpose of expanding participation in partnership missions according to the Acts 1:8 model.
- Help churches make disciples by facilitating evangelism partnerships between Oklahoma churches with a goal of every Oklahoma congregation baptizing every year.
- Develop an adult “GO Students” model for partnership missions.
- Lead Oklahoma Baptists to respond to the changing demographics of Oklahoma by planting new churches that impact lostness and make disciples.
- Challenge local churches to identify and engage unreached people groups in their immediate area.
- Integrate the work of churches, associations, and the BGCO in planting Biblical Southern Baptist congregations.
- Target church planting geographically, ethnically, and culturally.
- Facilitate relevant local church ministry in the urban cores of our state.
- Employ new technologies to maximize the effectiveness of our communications to tell the story of Oklahoma Baptists and to inspire our churches to impact lostness and make disciples.
- Utilize or develop social media for professional development and collaboration.
- Continue to take advantage of existing communication methods while transitioning to new methods of connecting and communicating with Oklahoma Baptists.
- Use new technologies to provide affordable and accessible resources, training, and events.