The Baptist Messenger recently sat down with Douglas O. Melton, pastor of Oklahoma City, Southern Hills. Melton, who in November will conclude two years of service as president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, reflected on his tenure and underscored expectations for the annual meeting and the future of Oklahoma Baptists.
Baptist Messenger: Coming up on two years of service as BGCO president, can you talk about what this time has been like?
Melton: It has been an incredible time, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to represent Oklahoma Baptists. I have been a lifelong Baptist, so it has been very special to represent us in that way. As I have gone around the state, there have been a lot of opportunities just to get to be with folks. That’s probably been my favorite part, to meet our church members from around the state.
I have had the opportunity to share in some places, and that’s been really good. The thing that has struck me most since I have gotten to know convention work a whole lot better is I am increasingly impressed with our folks at the Baptist Building. Dr. (Anthony L.) Jordan does an unbelievable job, and I am so thankful the Lord has put him in that place. All of the staff represent our convention extremely well. To get to be part of that work and to understand all of the administrative things that go on are crucial to getting the Gospel out. Seeing the work behind the scenes has been a big part of serving as president.
Messenger: Are you encouraged by what you see in our churches and shared ministries?
Melton: I have been reading in 1 Samuel that there is a time period when Samuel was leading the people. It says there was a time of peace. I feel like these two years have been a time of peace. There really were no issues I have needed to jump into; it has been a great time of being able to enjoy the work that the Lord is doing here in our state. That’s been really nice.
Messenger: With the 2012 Annual Meeting around the corner, and the theme “Connect,” can you talk about your hopes for that time?
Melton: I think in our state, that word connect means so much. When you meet someone from a Baptist church, there is an instant connection we have together. I really like that. I love having the connection I have had with OBU through the years. Whenever I meet an alum, there is an instant connection. We have that as Baptists as a whole across the state.
When we get together this November, I believe we will grow stronger together in the unity of the Spirit. The key is not that we are Baptists of a certain state, it’s that the Holy Spirit that draws us together. I would encourage our Baptists across the state that the most important thing we can do is pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit over the whole meeting. Apart from Him, no meaningful fruit will come from our meeting. So let’s truly pray for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Messenger: One of the significant moments for the BGCO came recently with the board’s decision to accept the $2 million gift from Hobby Lobby for the purchase of a children’s camp near Falls Creek. Can you talk about that decision?
Melton: I never cease to be amazed at the doors God will open, if we will follow His lead. The Green family and the leaders at Hobby Lobby are well-known for their generosity. In that sense, this gift comes as no surprise. After viewing the (Newburn Conference Center) property, the board was in complete agreement that this land could greatly enhance our capacity to serve children and our churches through CrossTimbers. While transitions are never easy, it was clear to board members like Pat Wagstaff and me, that God was opening a unique door for ministry. And when God opens a door, we want to be faithful to walk through. To God be the glory for the great things He has done!
Messenger: Thank you for this time and for all your service to Oklahoma.
Melton: I am so grateful for this time to serve and connect, and I look forward to seeing each of you at the Annual Meeting this November.