Most board of directors meetings for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) usually go as planned. There are the different committee meetings that convene in the morning to hash out reports and any action that should be brought to the attention of all board members when they meet in a plenary session. Not much is caught by surprise once the afternoon plenary session begins.
On May 19, the BGCO board members found themselves going “off schedule” as BGCO President Hance Dilbeck asked for a time to stop and pray in small groups.
What prompted Dilbeck to propose the impromptu prayer meeting was BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan’s address to the board. Jordan mentioned Barbara Green’s commencement address during the graduation ceremony at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU). Green told a story, Jordan said, about her husband David Green, founder of Hobby Lobby, praying fervently for their business during an economic crisis in the early 1980s.
Jordan said it was not praying for their business to make the Greens rich but that, through Hobby Lobby, they could impact the world for the Gospel. Mrs. Green sharing this experience at OBU caused Jordan to ask himself, “If a business man would cry out to God for his business, would you be willing to cry out for Oklahoma (and for the world) like that?”
Jordan elaborated to the board in his address, while also mentioning his recent study in Acts of the prayers of early Christians, “It would seem to me that these times would demand of us a fervency of prayer that goes beyond fluffy stuff and menial tasks and some of the things that are related to our creature comforts. It would seem to me that we ought to join those who launched this whole thing called Christianity… when they sought God they sought with a whole heart, understanding He was the sovereign God of the universe who works in mighty and powerful ways and is interested in advancing His Kingdom in the lives of individuals. Am I willing to cry out for Kingdom business in the same way David Green cried out for business?”
In groups of three or four members, the board took time to be involved in fervent prayer before continuing with the agenda.
Reports from BGCO affiliates OBU, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma and Baptist Village Communities were given from their respective presidents.
James Bond, pastor of Stroud, First, gave the report from the Equipping Committee, emphasizing the abundance of resources the BGCO has to offer to churches. “We have everything we need to serve and lead our churches within our finger tips,” he said. “All kinds of things are going on around you. There is no reason you can’t grow your church with what is available to you from the Equipping Team.”
Cameron Whaley, pastor of Yukon, Canadian Valley gave the Mobilization Committee report. He addressed the multitude of progress happening with Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, including recent recoveries in areas that were affected by tornadoes in March, as well as helping many who were affected by the May 2013 tornadoes, including 78 mobile homes provided, 161 storm shelters for families, and more than 2,500 people having access to safe areas in the Moore area, which was greatly affected by the storms in 2013.
Ted Kersh of Tulsa, South Tulsa reported on the Operations Team, offering complimentary remarks on BGCO’s “The Gospel, Sexuality and The Church” conference in March. “It was phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal,” he said. “It’s one of the best things we’ve done as a convention in a long time.”
Board members took action passing two recommendations. The Executive Committee offered a motion to approve the purchase of land for a new Baptist Collegiate Ministry’s (BCM) building at Oklahoma State University.
“We are very happy the board approved the acquisition of additional property for the OSU BCM,” said Scott Phillips, BGCO Operations Team leader. “It will provide much needed parking space. God has blessed Oklahoma Baptists to be able to get the property for less than we had budgeted.”
The Operations Committee offered a motion to increase the cabin fee by $5 to cover the cost of water, waste water and power to rent a cabin at Falls Creek Conference Center, effective 2016.
“This (fee) is for cabin owners, per bed,” said Jordan on this recommendation. “It goes toward paying for sewer, water, trash, roads. It is for the infrastructure things that go on there. It has been several years (since the fee was increased), and we felt this is the right move, especially for the extra cost. The new sewer plant, the electricity itself and the chemicals have raised the cost considerably.”
The next BGCO board meeting will be Sept. 22 at Falls Creek, near Davis.