Corporate worship—worship in the presence of and with others—is one way Oklahoma Baptists’ Executive Director Hance Dilbeck stays close to the Lord. Another way is the 90 minutes he gives each morning to praying, Bible studying and journaling.

“This week I have been meditating on ‘God with us,’” Dilbeck said in mid-December. “He reminded me our confidence in life and in the Lord’s work is not based on our abilities, strategies, plans or resources. Our confidence is in the Lord, His faithfulness and His favor in our life’s work.”

The year 2020, “Like most things in life, presented us with challenges and opportunities,” Dilbeck said. State convention leadership responded to pandemic-induced lockdowns, resultant economic upheaval and the fear that permeated communities by making a concerted effort to reach out to the pastors of Oklahoma Baptists’ 1,750 Southern Baptist churches.

“Our response has been to stay as connected to our pastors as possible, often by phone, to understand their needs, listen to the needs in their community, and help pull resources and support to the church as needed,” Dilbeck said. “As this thing goes on, we’re trying to keep an eye on the wellness of our pastors and their families. They’re tired.”

The challenges of 2020 were no surprise to God, Dilbeck said.

“One thing is crystal clear,” he said. “Our Lord Jesus has commanded us to advance the Good News by making disciples of our neighbors and the nations. He has not called us to this task in our own strength. He is working with us!

“It’s important that we encourage one another,” Dilbeck continued. “God gives us encouragement through the Body of Christ.”

Dilbeck and Julie, his wife of 35 years, find encouragement in each other even when they relax together on their back porch of an evening and read.

Because of the generous giving of Oklahoma Baptists through the Cooperative Program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This unified giving encourages fellowship with other believers all over the world. Collectively, Oklahoma Baptists are advancing the Gospel together. Learn more at

Hance Dilbeck is featured in the 2021 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. To see Executive Director Dilbeck’s prayer requests, visit