A few weeks ago, I began serving as the president of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC). It has been a whirlwind of visiting our ministry locations and getting to know the wonderful men and women who serve so faithfully in our ministry.
Last year, 2022, proved to be a challenging year of transition, and I am so thankful for Michael Williams’ faithful service as interim president. During the year we were blessed to serve 153 children on our campuses and 37 mothers through Children’s Hope. Our Hope Pregnancy Centers served almost 3,000 clients, and One Such Child assisted churches in foster care ministry. The number that drives all of what we do is the 77 people who came to Christ and the numerous Gospel conversations beyond them.
Over the past weeks, I have shared with our Board of Trustees and staff three guiding principles that will characterize my leadership in the days ahead.
First, it will be Christ-honoring. In the way that we work together and walk together; in how we talk to each other and about each other. This spirit is more evident in what people see than in what we will say. I will strive to set the expectation by the way that I walk and talk. I pray the Lord will enable us to encourage one another in our work.
Second, it will be child-and-family-focused. The mission will drive the organization. Our mission is to demonstrate God’s love through empowering children and their families to follow Christ. The question I will consistently ask in all our decisions is “How does this further the mission?” Whether it is a child in the mother’s womb or a child that cannot be in their home, I will lead us to do what is best in serving them and their families.
In 1978, Lowell Milburn wrote the introduction to the book recounting the first 75 years of OBHC’s ministry. He quoted Psalm 27:10, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up,” and then he wrote, “Can you feel the heartbreak in those words? The experience was a reality for the Psalmist, and it is real to thousands of children and youth today. They have been forsaken, abused and neglected. I believe the Lord led Oklahoma Baptists to ‘take up’ these boys and girls.”
I share Dr. Milburn’s conviction that the Lord has led Oklahoma Baptists to “take up” these children. I pray the Lord will enable us to empower every child and family He brings our way.
Finally, OBHC will be church-connected. When the Baptist Churches of the Oklahoma Convention and the Indian Territory convention joined together to establish what was then named the Baptist Orphans’ Home in 1903, it was an act of compassion and a step of commitment from the churches. I am committed to continuing and building on this rich 120-year legacy. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for any church to do the work we do, but we cannot do that work without the church.
I will not let us forget that we were established by the church for our mission. I will lead us to continue to engage the churches of our state in our kingdom work. I pray the Lord will enable us to engage every church that will come alongside in our mission.