A May 20 announcement stated 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.
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
“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
During the meeting, Oklahoma Baptists’ board spent time in extensive prayer about the search for Dilbeck’s successor.
“This is a 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, 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.