What an honor it is for me to write my first article for the Baptist Messenger as Oklahoma Baptists’ executive director-treasurer! The last few months have been a whirlwind for me and my family, but we are so grateful for the way the Lord has worked and revealed His will to bring us to this point.

I am excited to start working to serve our state convention, churches and pastors. Words fail in attempting to express my gratitude to so many for your affirmation of me at the Annual Meeting in November and for the countless messages and expressions of encouragement and prayer support. I am truly humbled to be chosen by you to lead our wonderful state convention.

As the new executive director-treasurer of Oklahoma Baptists, I want to share my heart and some commitments I make to you in taking on this new role:

I commit to lead our state convention as a servant-leader. I do not presume to step into this role in my own strength or wisdom, but will daily seek to rely on the Lord and the collective wisdom and experience among Oklahoma Baptists and the exceptional employees of our state convention. I want to listen, be accessible and be an encouraging servant to pastors and churches of every size in every location in Oklahoma.

I commit to lead with integrity, transparency and to be above reproach in my personal and professional life. I commit to lead with faithfulness to the Lord Jesus and to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints. I will be faithful to adhere to the Baptist Faith and Message framed from the inerrant and sufficient Word of God, and the mission to which Christ has called us—to engage our culture with the Gospel.

I commit to serve with dedication our Oklahoma Baptist churches, pastors and associations—to come alongside them to equip and partner with them in advancing the Gospel and making disciples to reach their communities and the world. I firmly believe the strength and health of our state convention is directly connected to the strength and health of our churches. It is vital that Oklahoma Baptists remain focused on Kingdom work through the ministry of the local church.

I commit to be dedicated to Baptist polity and the important understanding that the Southern Baptist Convention and our state convention are bottom-up, not top-down, organizations where the seat of power rests with autonomous churches operating under the lordship of Christ. I will be dedicated to one of our greatest Baptist distinctives, commit to value and champion its importance, promotion and growth: the Cooperative Program.

I commit to work hard at building relationships within and outside of our state to put us in strong position to accomplish our Kingdom-minded goals. I will work in partnership with our Oklahoma affiliate presidents and boards to discover how our state can come alongside them to better help them accomplish their Kingdom-minded goals.

I commit to do my best not to speak or act, in public or private, in ways that would cause our state to be divided, distracted or the object of scorn. I commit to lead in a way that builds consensus and unity around our message and mission while at the same time having the conviction and courage to never capitulate biblical doctrine or our Baptist distinctives. I commit to do my best, through the guidance and grace of our Lord, to continue to lead our state in a way that unites us around what is most important.

I have titled my space in the Baptist Messenger “Connect” in hopes that these articles will keep you connected with my thoughts on all kinds of things related to our Kingdom work as a state convention. I covet your prayers for me and my family as we make the transition into this new role.

My prayer is that Oklahoma Baptists can be a model for other state conventions in how to come together united around one message, one mission, advancing the Kingdom and glory of the one true God. Let’s get to work!