A May 20 announcement reported Hance Dilbeck has been chosen as the next president of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dilbeck, Oklahoma Baptists executive director-treasurer since 2018, officially resigned today, May 25, during a meeting of Oklahoma Baptists board of directors at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City. His resignation becomes effective June 25.

Members of the Oklahoma Baptists board pray over Hance Dilbeck.

Dilbeck’s work at the Dallas-based GuideStone will commence July 1. According to the state convention’s constitution, Oklahoma Baptists’ senior associate executive director—a role held by Joe Ligon—will serve as the interim executive director for the state convention, effective upon Dilbeck’s tenure concluding.

Amid an eventful board meeting, board members expressed gratitude to God for Dilbeck’s tenure, then prayerfully appointed a search committee.

Dilbeck expresses gratitude to God for Oklahoma Baptists

Dilbeck and Oklahoma Baptists President Todd Fisher preside over the May 25 board meeting.

“It has been my distinct honor to serve you these past three years,” Dilbeck said to board members. “I have always sensed both the anointing of the Lord and the support of Oklahoma Baptists to do this work… both are a true blessing. I want to express my gratitude to this board for giving me the opportunity to serve our churches.

“I love this team,” he continued. “The staff who serve Oklahoma Baptists are a committed, gifted, godly group of Christian servants. I am grateful for their flexibility, consistency and commitment to our mission. Let me say a special thank you to Lori Warren.

“I have complete confidence in Dr. Joe Ligon and our leadership team. This group of men and women love each other; they love the Lord Jesus; they love our churches and pastors. They are deeply committed to the cooperative work of Oklahoma Baptists. Board, you can take your time and find the next Executive Director because this group will have no problem continuing to pursue our mission and execute our strategies effectively.

“Speaking of our mission and strategies. They are not mine; they are ours. You as a board have walked through the process of aligning our budget and our staff to our mission and strategies. In fact, Oklahoma Baptists have voted in the annual meeting to affirm our mission and strategy.

“We encourage one another to advance the Gospel. We are church-centered; pastor-connected; associational-partnered.

“I would like to close by thinking about Philippians 1:3-12,” Dilbeck added. “These verses remind us that our fellowship is a Gospel fellowship. They remind us that our mission is to advance the Gospel, even in the face of opposition, disappointment and adversity. My heart is grateful to God for Oklahoma Baptists today.”

Board members express gratitude for Dilbeck

Michael Staton was selected to chair the executive director search committee.

Many Oklahoma Baptists’ board members shared their appreciation for Dilbeck’s leadership during his tenure as executive director-treasurer.

“This is bittersweet for Oklahoma Baptists,” said Todd Fisher, Oklahoma Baptists president and pastor of Shawnee, Immanuel. “We are excited for this new opportunity for Hance and know he will do an excellent job leading GuideStone. We are proud that one of our fellow Oklahomans will be at the helm of a national entity in the SBC. At the same time, Hance’s departure leaves a big void for us. His leadership these last three years has been stellar and visionary in keeping our state convention focused and well situated to advance the Gospel together in unity. He will be sorely missed, but we are confident of great days ahead for GuideStone and Oklahoma Baptists.”

Board member Rusty McMullen, pastor of McAlester, First, said, “Brother Hance is truly a great friend and mentor to me. While this is a sad day for Oklahoma Baptists, we know it’s a great day for Southern Baptists. GuideStone made a wise selection, and we are excited for the Dilbecks in this new opportunity. Our prayers go with them.”

Michael Staton, pastor of Mustang, First said, “Though Hance Dilbeck’s tenure as executive director is coming to a close, his impact and ministry legacy will continue strong into the future.”

Search committee selected

Oklahoma Baptists’ board spent time during the meeting praying extensively about the search for Dilbeck’s successor.

Following state convention bylaws, the board voted by secret ballot to select board members who will serve on an executive director search committee. The top seven were chosen to serve on the committee, and the person receiving the most votes will serve as chairperson.

Board members selected the following people to serve on the search committee: Michael Staton; Rusty McMullen; Michael Butler, pastor of Chickasha, First; Russell Duck, retired pastor of Elk City, First; Jeremy Freeman, pastor of Newcastle, First; Heath Tucker, pastor of Edmond, Waterloo Road; and LeRon West, pastor of Tulsa, Gilcrease Hills.

As the leading vote recipient, the committee chairman will be Michael Staton, who is 47. President Todd Fisher will serve as an ex-officio member on the search committee.

In other business, board members set a 2022 Cooperative Program financial goal of $24 million. All four Oklahoma Baptist affiliate presidents addressed the board, including Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Oklahoma Baptist University, Baptist Village Communities and WatersEdge (formerly the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma).

The next meeting of the Oklahoma Baptists board is set for Sept. 14 at Falls Creek Conference Center, near Davis.

What Oklahoma Baptists are saying about Hance Dilbeck

As it was announced that Oklahoma Baptists Executive-Director Treasurer Hance Dilbeck would be stepping down from his role to become the president of GuideStone Financial Resources, Oklahoma Baptists took to social media to show their support and appreciation for Dilbeck. The following is a selection of reactions from online:

“I love Hance Dilbeck. He has been a mentor and friend to me. We will miss him terribly, but are so excited about his next chapter and also excited about carrying on the vision as Oklahoma Baptists” —Pastor Jeremy Freeman

“Hance Dilbeck will be a blessing to all Southern Baptists as he leads GuideStone. He will be missed in Oklahoma”—Retired Pastor & Author Ted Kersh

“While we will absolutely miss Hance Dilbeck here in Oklahoma, it is exciting to know that GuideStone will be in more than capable hands”—Pastor Cameron Whaley

“I’m incredibly thankful for O.S. Hawkins. He’s a ministry hero to me. And I’m so glad that my friend Hance Dilbeck will be providing continued stellar leadership for GuideStone. But I’ll sure miss him as a church member (here) at Quail Springs Baptist Church”—Pastor Stephen Rummage

“Thank you Hance Dilbeck for all you have done for Oklahoma Baptists and for OBU. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you lead GuideStone”—Matthew Emerson, Dean of the OBU Hobbs College

More about GuideStone & Dilbeck

DALLAS, Texas—GuideStone Financial Resources is one of the historic entities of the Southern Baptist Convention. Based in Dallas, Texas, Guidestone was founded more than 100 years ago to meet the financial needs of retired pastors, their families and, in many cases, their widows.

GuideStone currently serves more than 50,000 churches and ministries and 250,000 individuals, including pastors, ministers, church workers, missionaries, hospital employees, university and seminary staff and countless others serving in ministry organizations around the world.

As Guidestone’s president-elect, Hance Dilbeck will serve alongside current president O.S. Hawkins beginning this summer. Trustees and GuideStone anticipate a period of transition between Hawkins and Dilbeck starting this summer and culminating in Hawkins becoming president emeritus and Dilbeck becoming president and chief executive officer in the first quarter of 2022.

Hawkins expressed his confidence to trustees in selecting Dilbeck as his successor.

“Hance Dilbeck is one of the most respected men in Southern Baptist life,” Hawkins said. “He has pastored all sizes of Southern Baptist churches, has a heart for serving pastors from small, medium and large churches; he understands the dynamics and complexity of GuideStone’s ministry, and he is a quick learner. And he is among the humblest men I’ve ever known, so he’ll be one who has a learner’s heart as he embarks on this new calling from the Lord. Susie and I are holding Hance and Julie in our hearts and prayers, and we invite Southern Baptists to join us in lifting them up.”

Dilbeck has served in Oklahoma churches as pastor for more than 30 years. He served as pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs for 15 years before being called to lead Oklahoma Baptists in 2018.

During that time, the church tripled in size even as it took part in planting 32 churches.

He has been an active participant in denominational life, having served as chairman of the board of trustees at Oklahoma Baptist University, Southwestern Seminary, and the International Mission Board through the years.