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Top 10 Stories of 2013

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The year 2013 was eventful for Oklahoma Baptists. From responding to historic disasters to giving at monumental levels to making an impact for the Kingdom, Southern Baptists found themselves grabbing headlines throughout the year. This first edition of 2014 features the top 10 stories from 2013, according to a poll of Baptist Messenger staff, in descending order.

 

10. From Gangs to God: One young man’s journey to freedom in Christ

A 15-year-old gang member experienced a life transformation while spending a week at Falls Creek summer camp. Through the support of Pastor Ernie Tullis of Oklahoma City, Tri-Church, the young man surrendered his life to Christ outside the R.A. Young Tabernacle. “… even though as many times I have messed up in life, I feel like God wanted to give me another chance,” he said. Read more…

 

9. New Spanish Messenger unveiled

 In Sept., 2013, Baptist Messenger published the first edition of El Mensajero Bautista. The first fully-Spanish publication contains unique articles and features for the Hispanic community in Oklahoma. Initial plans call for El Mensajero Bautista to be published on a quarterly basis. Read more…

 

8. ReConnect Sunday School campaign kicks off

 Following the leadership of Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan, the ReConnect Sunday School Task Force launched a campaign in March to return Sunday School “to the forefront as the primary strategy for local churches to engage their communities with the Gospel and make disciples,” said BGCO Sunday School Specialist Bob Mayfield. By November, 245 churches had committed to start 711 small groups. Read more…

 

7. OBU Football back on the field after 73 years

On Aug. 31, Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) took to the gridiron for the first time at Bison Field at the Hurt Athletic Complex before a sellout crowd of 5,609 enthusiastic fans. The Bison lost to Southwestern (Kan.), 26-22, that day, but the squad finished with a 3-8 record on the season, its first since 1940. Read more…

 

6. Walker made it on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro!

“What does a man do to celebrate 40 years of ministry?” asked Messenger feature columnist Walker Moore. “No one has ever carried a cross to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro,” a friend responded. What began as a humorous thought became a phenomenal reality. On Aug. 9, 2013, Moore and a team of 13 carried a 12-ft.-tall, 6-ft.-wide cross to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, which reaches 19,341 feet, in Tanzania. Read more…

 

5. Blessings abound: Major gifts to Falls Creek pave way for construction, the future

 Gifts totaling $9.5 million made it possible for Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center to enhance its lodging and meeting facilities, as well as help eliminate debt. Plans include building a 50-room lodge, events center and welcome center. “We envision Sunday School training events, along with marriage retreats,” said Anthony L. Jordan, BGCO executive director-treasurer, about these future Falls Creek additions. “… the non-summer months can be a vital part of our growth in ministry for the future and impacting people with the Gospel.” Read more…

 

4. Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief celebrates 40 years

 It began in 1973 with no budget, no equipment, minimal experience and, most importantly, practically no organized and trained volunteers. Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief (OBDR) has grown to include a fleet of vehicles and more than 5,200 volunteers, traveling from coast to coast in the U.S. and walking amid the ruins left behind in numerous countries. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma celebrated OBDR’s 40th anniversary at the Annual Meeting in November. Hundreds of Disaster Relief volunteers attended, dressed in their trademark yellow shirts, vests and jackets. Read more…

 

3. 6,583 answers to prayer!

CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp and Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center impacted the lives of many during the summer of 2013. Falls Creek recorded 2,149 professions of faith, 723 calls to ministry, 263 assurances of salvation, 2,543 rededications and 507 special needs or other decisions. Now at its new location near Davis, CrossTimbers recorded 220 campers making professions of faith, 25 assurances of salvation, 112 rededications and 41 other decisions. Read more…

 

2. Historic Tithe: Oklahoma church becomes top CP giver

 Oklahoma City, Quail Springs received a tithe as a year-end gift that amounted to $21.6 million, which resulted in a record-setting gift by a local church in a single year through the Cooperative Program. The gift benefitted the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board and six SBC Seminaries, as well as other affiliated ministries in Oklahoma and beyond. “We hope this historic, beyond-generous gift will lead to even more unity and maturity as we seek the Lord’s will as to how to invest every dollar in Kingdom work,” said Hance Dilbeck, pastor. Read more…

 

1. Disaster Strikes! God’s people shine

What happened on May 19-20, 2013 will be etched in the memories of many Oklahomans, as multiple tornadoes caused much destruction and devastation. A tornado hit Shawnee on May 19, killing two. Another twister raced through Edmond, Arcadia, Luther and Carney. Two dozen fatalities were recorded from an EF5 twister that struck Newcastle, south Oklahoma City and Moore a day later. Other May 20 storms hit Avant, Talala and Quapah. Though the damage was great, the response was even greater. Support in the form of monetary donations and letters of well-wishers promising to uphold the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in prayer poured in. Totals in giving surpassed $5 million from more than 9,000 gifts. Approximately 400 Disaster Relief volunteers, nation-wide, were on the ground each day well past a month after the tornadoes struck. Read more…

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Staff

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