Addressing board members of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) for the first time since stepping into his role as BGCO executive director-treasurer, Hance Dilbeck shared what the Lord put on his heart and about his desire for the convention to serve local churches.

“We are a fellowship of churches working together to glorify God in Christ Jesus. As a fellowship of churches, we encourage one another to advance the Gospel together,” Dilbeck said during the afternoon BGCO Board session on May 22 at the Baptist Building.

Dilbeck shared that he has been traveling across the state to connect with pastors and churches.

“We have such great people here in Oklahoma. I am doing a lot of listening and learning, and I am greatly encouraged by what the Lord is doing,” he said.

Plans for CrossTimbers Northeast in 2019 announced

Board members, from left, Michael Staton, Mustang, First; Philip Stephens, Durant, First; Heath Tucker, Skiatook, First; and LeRon West, Tulsa, Gilcrease Hills, spend time in prayer during May 22 session.
Photos: Brian Hobbs

During the meeting of the board, the BGCO Equipping Team committee reported the BGCO will enter a five-year agreement for CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure camps to be hosted at Grand Lake Baptist Assembly (GLBA) in Grove beginning in 2019.

James Swain, BGCO Equipping Team Leader said, “When the sad news that the acquisition of Tulakogee by the BGCO was unable to move forward was announced, the Lord opened up another opportunity to serve the churches in that region of our state. Scott Hill, director of missions in Northeastern Association, approached BGCO leadership about exploring the possibility of a partnership that would enable CrossTimbers to be hosted at Grand Lake Baptist Assembly beginning in the summer of 2019.”

“We will partner together with Grand Lake Baptist Assembly (to) use their camp to bring the CrossTimbers program (to northeast Oklahoma). What a great thing to expand the influence of CrossTimbers because there’s not an open spot at CrossTimbers this summer,” said Chris Fields, pastor of Clinton, First and chairman of the Equipping Team committee.

Along with camp sessions continuing at the CrossTimbers campgrounds in Davis, GLBA will host seven sessions in 2019. Camp dates will be finalized later in the summer.

Board members spend time in prayer, guided discussions

During the morning session, board members spent time in prayer. A new feature for the meeting included a special time of discussion. Dilbeck asked each of the committees to think about church health and to discuss how to help “feeble churches.”

“Our Baptist predecessors talked about aiding feeble churches. Feeble does not refer to size or financial strength, but church health. There are large churches who are weak, and there are smaller churches who are strong,” he said.

During the afternoon reports, chairs from each committee shared thoughts and reflections from the committee members discussions.

“We love our churches. The future is bright, but the only place you can be is on your knees before God,” said Nick Garland, pastor of Broken Arrow, First and chairman of the BGCO Operations Team committee, regarding what pastors need to do to help in the strengthening of churches.

Key business and reports

Bill Pierce, president of Baptist Village Communities (BVC), was the first leader of BGCO affiliates to report to the Board during the afternoon plenary session. He elaborated on BVC’s theme of “Serving God, serving you, serving together.”

“We want to enhance the lives of everyone who comes in contact with our villages,” Pierce said. “That includes people who make deliveries to the villages, families, people who live in the villages, people who work in the villages, just everyone. We want to give them opportunities to know the Lord and to serve the Lord.”

Pierce also spoke on a recommendation to board members. The Board approved deleting a sentence from BVC’s bylaws, regarding the makeup of BVC board of directors, which states “At least one (1) director shall be from each of the areas of the state in which a Baptist Village is located.”

“When that bylaw was written, and I wrote it, we had seven villages,” Pierce said. “Today we have 12 villages. (The bylaw) used to affect a third of our board. Now it affects more than half of our board, and we can generally accomplish that requirement just by the other requirement that’s in our bylaws that board be geographically represented of the state.”

BGCO Board members approved the recommendation without dissent.

Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) President David Whitlock gave a report on OBU’s recent graduation of 288 students. With St. Gregory University (SGU) recently closing its doors, OBU graciously worked with students from the neighboring school, allowing them to transfer credits to OBU. Whitlock reported these students were allowed to wear SGU colors during the commencement service.

Greg McNeece, president of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC), reported OBHC is expanding its foster care training to seven training sessions this year, opening doors to share the Gospel with foster parents.

Robert Kellogg, president of the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, reported on the financial status of the Foundation and its distribution to different entities.     

Looking ahead

Dilbeck mentioned plans for the upcoming BGCO Annual Meeting, including its theme verse Eph. 3:20-21. He quoted this passage to point out God is “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,” and Dilbeck stressed, at the convention level, the importance to keep God at the forefront of decisions.

“We have to consistently and carefully hedge against a tendency to offer people practical solutions to their spiritual problem. Our churches that are feeble are not feeble because they don’t know how to do Sunday School. They are feeble because they don’t know how to pray. They are feeble because they are corrupt by sin and are shallow in their faith.”

The next meeting of the BGCO Board is set for Sept. 11 at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center.