SHAWNEE—The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention commissioned 17 newly appointed missionaries before a packed house Nov. 16 in Raley Chapel on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University.

The 6:30 p.m. service provided for a moving and memorable conclusion to the 104th Annual Meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, which met in the facility Nov. 15-16.

The 17 new missionaries will serve in various locations in Central, East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Northern Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa.

Providing a powerful musical backdrop for the evening was the Oklahoma Baptist Symphony, conducted by Ken Gabrielse, BGCO worship and music ministries specialist. Orchestral selections included “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” “Praise to The Lord, Almighty,” “Farandole on ‘Glorious Name,’” “How Firm A Foundation” and “God of Our Fathers.”

Gabrielse’s wife, Jana, administrative assistant to the BGCO Communications Team, led the audience in singing “Creation Sings the Father’s Song,” and OBU assistant professor of music Louima Lillete gave a stirring acapella performance of “Give Me Jesus.”

BGCO specialists and ministry assistants led the 17 missionaries into the chapel while carrying flags of various countries in a processional to the songs, “Crown Him with Many Crowns” and “Song for the Nations.”

Each of the missionaries gave a personal testimony during the evening, sharing their calling from God into mission work. Two of them shared that they were graduates of OBU.

Tom Elliff, former Oklahoma pastor and senior vice president of the IMB, did the presentation of the missionaries, and Michael Butler, IMB trustee from Oklahoma, voiced a prayer of dedication over them.
Clyde Meador, interim IMB president, addressed the new missionaries at the commissioning service. Meador said it was appropriate that the commissioning service was being held at OBU, since it has been determined that there are 240 OBU graduates serving through the SBC’s international missions agency around the world, more than from any other college.

Meador also stressed to those being commissioned that at least one-fourth of the world’s 6.9 billion people have no access to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“You are going to give them Jesus,” he declared, but cautioned, “most of you will be preparing the ground and planting the seed. And you may be watering the seed with your sweat and your tears and maybe even your blood. But, you are answering the question, ‘Is anybody coming?’”

Then, addressing the audience present, Meador asked, “How do we answer that question?”

He said those who remain behind answer it in three ways: through prayer, through support of the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) and as they, themselves, go on short-term mission trips to help missionaries reach the lost wherever they are.

Meador followed his remarks by giving an altar call, which drew several people down to the stage for prayer as the audience sang the traditional invitation hymn, “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go.”

In concluding remarks, BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan challenged those present—and all Oklahoma Baptists by proxy—“to be faithful to the CP and to give the largest LMCO we have ever given in 2010.”

Jordan also asked those present to go back home and ask the Sunday School classes in their churches to commit to pray for a specific unreached people group next year.