I am writing this article the day after our Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) Board of Directors meeting at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center. What a beautiful time to be in that special place. The creek runs full of water; the sights, sounds and smells refresh the soul.
I thank our Lord for the women and men who serve as our Board of Directors. They selflessly give of their time, expertise and energy to help Oklahoma Baptists advance the Gospel. A separate story in this edition of the Baptist Messenger will update you on the highlights of our meeting. However, I want to set before you one aspect of our cooperative work that you might take for granted.
The BGCO handles money with integrity.
During this board meeting, the chairman of the BGCO Audit Committee reported on their work this year. This group of Oklahoma Baptists reviews the audits of the BGCO and all our affiliates: The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, Baptist Village Communities, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and Oklahoma Baptist University.
Audit Committee Chairman Paul Bauman is a banker from Tulsa and a member of Tulsa, First. He informed the directors that all affiliates and the BGCO received unmodified, clean audit opinions. This is another year of consecutive clean audit opinions for the BGCO that date back to 1917.
His report reminded me of something the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. He is discussing the way a financial offering that Corinth would send to Jerusalem should be handled. Consider how Paul wrote about handling the money given by churches.
“Taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. We have sent with them our brother… they are messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ” (2 Cor. 8:20-23).
Three men of integrity, one representing Paul and two representing the churches, would carry the money to Jerusalem and give a careful accounting for it.
Paul teaches us that money presents us with risk—risk that we might in deed or in appearance mishandle or misuse gifts the people of God give. We must be so careful and above reproach in the way we account for money that the Lord is pleased and that the people have complete confidence in our administration of their gifts. The key is found in involving layers of faithful men and women who have a reputation and a pattern of conduct that is a credit to Christ.
Oklahoma Baptists can know that their faithful and generous financial support is handled with care. We are accountable to the Lord and to one another. Like Paul, we take precaution, so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this money; precautions with layers of accountability from men and women who live for the glory of Christ.