Thanks for reading this edition of DHD. Next week is an important one for Oklahoma Baptists. We have the Annual Meeting on Nov. 14-15. I thought I’d give you six elements I’m looking forward to when we gather for those two days.

Here we go!

  1. Meeting at Mustang, First

I always enjoy the different venues where Oklahoma Baptists meet, but I’m curious about meeting at Mustang, First because… well, we have never met at Mustang, First before. I have been to the church previously, but I don’t recall ever being there for a service or special event.

If for no other reason, I’m curious how it will be for all the elements of the Annual Meeting in a new location. Should be fun!

  1. Good speakers

We will have a list of well-known and experienced pastors and speakers coming for the Pastors’ Conference. Most have Oklahoma roots. Hance Dilbeck will be returning. Nick Garland will assuredly draw a lot of laughs. And we will also hear from some new faces, such as Duncan Blackwell, who is in his first year as pastor of Elk City, First. He will be delivering the annual sermon in the final session of the Annual Meeting.

  1. Demonstration of unity

There will be many reports offered at the Annual Meeting. All of them are important and demonstrate the great ministry work that is happening among Oklahoma Baptists. There will also be reports that could have a heavy impact, including the report from the Abuse Prevention and Response Task Force. The delivery of this report and the response from Oklahoma Baptists will allow a moment of demonstrating progress and great influence throughout our churches on a difficult and serious issue involving sexual abuse.

If for no other reason, Oklahoma Baptists need to unite on how to handle this wrongful, horrible behavior and the effect on many people, making a clear and powerful message that Oklahoma Baptists will not allow sexual abuse to happen and will do what is necessary to help those who have been affected.

And there will be other opportunities for unity to be demonstrated. I pray these moments will be impactful.

  1. Fellowship

I have a list of my favorite Oklahoma Baptists whom I get to see every year at the Annual Meeting. In fact, for me, the Annual Meeting isn’t complete without getting to see my favorite people. Fellowship is a priority. It provides an encouragement and motivation that we all need, especially in these difficult times. So yes, there are certain people I’ll be looking for, and you know who are!

  1. Times of prayer

I’ve recently heard it said that Christians don’t just pray for the work; prayer IS the work. I’ve seen the schedule for the Pastors’ Conference, and I’m encouraged to see that there are times scheduled for focused prayer during the Pastors’ Conference.

A verse I have been focusing on is Rom. 12:12, “Rejoice in hope. Be patient in affliction. Be persistent in prayer.” I’m encouraged by the great emphasis of being persistent in prayer at the Annual Meeting.

  1. Celebrating Disaster Relief

These are busy times for Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief (DR), and they may get even busier with another hurricane striking Florida.

DR is a great national organization, and in Oklahoma, we appreciate how DR has been there through the years providing help, hope and healing to those affected by disasters for the purpose of advancing the Gospel.

This year at Annual Meeting we will celebrating DR’s 50th anniversary. Expect to see a lot of yellow shirts during the opening session on Monday night. I’m always encouraged when I hear about the great results of what DR team members are doing not only in Oklahoma but in other states.

I’d say after Falls Creek, Oklahoma Baptists are known for the work of DR. Both are great institutions that reflect the best of everything Oklahoma Baptists do, especially as they are a part of advancing the Gospel.