In a meeting marked by times of prayer, business and planning, members of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Board of Directors undertook major plans at its Feb. 5 board meeting, including the approval of Joe Ligon as BGCO senior associate executive director.
In a bold move, the BGCO approved the board finance committee’s recommendation that the 2020 Cooperative Program (CP) objective be $26.1 million and be distributed in the following percentage allocations: 43 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), 42 percent to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and 15 percent to BGCO affiliates, which include Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma (BFO), Baptist Village Communities (BVC), Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) and Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU).
In 2019, Oklahoma Baptists’ CP allocation objective is $25.5 million, and previously the CP annual allocation has been distributed on the percentage basis of 40 percent to the SBC, 45 percent to the BGCO and 15 percent to BGCO affiliates.
BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Hance Dilbeck emphasized that the new 43-42-15 allocation will “enable Southern Baptists in Oklahoma to send $1 million more than we now do to the national and international level.”
Cooperative Program giving toward the SBC supports the International Mission Board (IMB), the North American Mission Board, the six seminaries and more.
Several members of the board, including Mike Keahbone, pastor of Oklahoma City, Cherokee Hills, voiced their support of the new CP objective, believing the sending of more to the IMB and SBC will spur many churches to increase their Cooperative Program giving percentage, as well as church members to give generously.
Dilbeck announced plans to continue to increase the overall Cooperative Program objective by 20 percent over the next five years, which would significantly increase funding for the SBC, BGCO and BGCO Affiliates to do ministry and advance the Gospel. The BGCO board approved the 2020 CP objective unanimously.
New mission, goals
BGCO board members also approved a new mission statement and goals. Dilbeck said during his formal address to board members, “We are going to work and seek to advance the Gospel.”
Dilbeck spoke to the mission statement, which is “We encourage one another to advance the Gospel.” He noted that the word “encourage” is a biblical word that implies challenge and support. He noted that the “We” in the mission statement is not the Convention staff but Oklahoma Baptists as a whole.
Board members also approved a vision statement objective, which is “Healthy churches working together in the power of the Holy Spirit to glorify God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Advance 2020
The board also approved a mission strategy called Advance 2020, which will focus on making measurable gains in Oklahoma in key areas by 2025.
These statewide goals include, over the next five years, increasing weekly church attendance by 20 percent, increasing the number of baptisms by 20 percent, increasing journeyman and career missionary appointees through the International Mission Board by 20 percent and increasing Cooperative Program giving by 20 percent.
During the 2019 BGCO Annual Meeting in November, Oklahoma Baptists will hear more about the Advance 2020 mission strategy.
“In all this discussion of plans and objectives, we need to remember this. What the Lord does for us is more important than what we do for Him,” Dilbeck said to board members. “In Kingdom work, we are always trying to do what we could never do without Him. Everything that we are after, that really matters, is beyond our capacity to deliver.”
Board members spent time in prayer after Dilbeck’s address for Oklahoma Baptist churches and for this work toward advancing the Gospel.
2019 Annual Meeting moved to OKC, to accommodate IMB missionary sending service
BGCO board members also approved the recommendation that the location of the 2019 Annual Meeting be changed from Broken Arrow, First to Oklahoma City, Quail Springs.
The location move for the Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for Nov. 11-12, was made to make it more centrally located to accommodate the International Mission Board’s missionary commissioning service that will be held in conjunction with the BGCO meeting.
Whereas previous IMB missionary sending services were held near the IMB headquarters in Richmond, Va., new IMB President Paul Chitwood and the IMB’s leaders moved the commissioning service to other locations, including Oklahoma. The IMB sending service will take place Tuesday evening, Nov. 12, and Dilbeck hopes that Oklahoma Baptists across the state will participate to support the missionaries and the advancement of the Gospel around the world.
The 2020 Annual Meeting is scheduled to take place in northeast Oklahoma.
Affiliates reports
Shryln Treadwell, BFO chief operations officer, gave the Foundation report and said 2018 was a good year for BFO.
“We closed 42 loans at $38 million, and by the end of the year we had crossed the $100 million-dollar loan portfolio mark for the first time,” Treadwell reported. “We assisted 338 families with anticipated future gifts to ministry, exceeding $33 million. And we distributed more than $24 million to ministry causes.”
Treadwell mentioned BFO set a goal to distribute $25 million each year through 2025. “Since we began this endeavor in 2013, we have distributed $130 million, and if we do nothing but hit our targets for the remaining years, we will have distributed $284 million by the end of 2025,” she said.
Bill Pierce, BVC president, reported on opening a new building at Baptist Village of Owasso called the Thompson Family Neighborhood.
“We are going to minister to people who have dementia and to the families of people who have dementia,” Pierce said when describing the Thompson Family Neighborhood. “We are grateful to the families who provided the funds for this building, and we went into this building without any debt, so that’s a tremendous blessing to us.”
Pierce also said BVC and OBHC appreciate Oklahoma Baptists for participating in the Mother’s Day Offering.
“We can’t say ‘thank you’ enough for the churches and the people in the churches who help meet the needs of children and families and the needy elderly in our state that we serve,” Pierce said. “We thank the BGCO for having the Mother’s Day Offering that benefits OBHC and Baptist Village Communities. We are thankful, and we are blessed to be a part of the Oklahoma Baptist family.”
Will Smallwood, who served briefly as acting president of OBU, told board members that they can be proud of Oklahoma Baptist University.
“It is a privilege and honor to be able to serve there,” said Smallwood who is senior vice president for advancement and university relations. “Our campus is going through a transition right now, and as we are doing so, we are looking to being faithful. We are looking to being faithful to our mission. God has been faithful to Oklahoma Baptist University for 109 years. He has been good to us, and He has been good to Oklahoma Baptists by providing for our university.”
The next BGCO board meeting will be May 21 at the Baptist Building.