The following article is the first of a series about Oklahoma Baptists from around the state who have led and served in various ways.
• Name: Bob Green
• Position: Recently retired after 40 years as senior pastor of Broken Arrow, Arrow Heights
• Family: Bob and his wife Margaret have three grown children and 7 grandchildren.
•Convention involvement: He served as president of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) in 2004 and 2005, vice president of the state Pastor’s Conference, Board of Trustees for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Trustee and Strategic Planning Committee chairman for the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Executive Committee co-vice chairperson for the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, moderator of the Tulsa Metro Association of Baptist Churches.
• Education: Green also completed his coursework (ABD) for a Doctor of ministry from Midwestern Seminary.
• Passion: Green has a passion to assist people to renew their minds (breaking old patterns, which were not from God, which usually developed in their family of origin or peer group) and discover the joy of transformation. Rom. 12:2
• Life verse: “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3
Key questions from the Baptist Messenger:
Messenger: What difference has Jesus Christ made in your life?
Green: Not only did Christ bring me eternal security when I was 14 years old through being saved, but He also placed me on a wonderful journey of discovering His will for my life.
While planning on becoming an engineer in college, He called me to full-time ministry with the persistent thought, “What more can you do with your life than serve others?”
In the summer of 1963, I began the faith journey of becoming His minister. He is my Savior, my Lord, my Strength, my Provider, my Guide, etc.
Messenger: When did you first encounter Jesus?
Green: When I was 12 years old, caring Southern Baptist church members from Sherwood, in Odessa, Texas came down our street in a pickup on Saturday with loud music blaring from speakers and inviting people to attend their church.
Everyone came out to see what the noise was. Neighbors were offended; mom was conflicted.
The next day, we attended Sherwood Baptist Church. As a 7th grader, I was introduced to men who loved the Lord and care enough to teach youth. Two years later, I received Christ on the same morning my mother was saved.
Messenger: Tell me about your call to ministry, when it happened, and how you responded?
Green: During the spring and summer of 1963, every time I was in a worship service, the Lord implanted the thought, “What more can you do with your life than serve others?” After consulting my pastor, Joe Hubb Collier, I believed God was calling me to full-time ministry.
Messenger: Did you have any mentors throughout your career?
Green: Bob McPherson, my pastor in high school, helped me to expect great and mighty things from our God. Later, he developed the great Riverside Church in Denver.
Joe Hubb Collier, my college pastor, gave me the opportunity to start preaching in the rescue mission in Odessa. He, of course, was a well-known pastor serving several Tulsa churches and others in Oklahoma.
My most significant mentor was my Clinical Pastoral Education supervisor at Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, Ben Patrick. The 15-month CPE training has been the most important influence on my ministry. It was the missing element in my seminary training—practical, realistic ministry to our hurting world. It should be required for all pastors—at least one quarter, 12 weeks.
Messenger: What do you get from the ministry work and what kept you going?
Green: Fulfillment in caring for people in such ways that there is evidence of spiritual growth in their lives is what I get out of the Lord’s work.
I was able to keep going because I was working with people who desire to become more like Jesus, our Lord.
Messenger: How do you see yourself involved in ministry in the future?
Green: I believe that one great need in Christians’ lives is to develop better communication skills. Margaret and I have led workshops to accomplish this in several churches. The response has been very favorable.
These principles are usable in all areas of our lives—family, church, marriage, corporate world, etc.
Remaining involved in missions in Ethiopia, Romania, and Hawaii is important to us, also. We are open to walk through whatever doors God opens.
Messenger: What are some of your favorite ministry moments?
Green: There are many: Being present for the salvation and baptism of our children and grandchildren.
Seeing AHBC change from a “mission-minded” church to a “mission-active” church. Missions are reality experiences for hundreds of our people seeing the power of God in operation in America and around the world.
Multiple humorous events occurring at weddings, such as a groom weeping greatly as we wait for the wedding party to enter when grandpa came up and put his arm around the groom and said, “Boy, I told you that it really is not that bad.”
Or when the ring bearer used his pillow as a flying saucer, and it ending up in the third row in the midst of the family.
Messenger: Is there anything you wish you would have known going into ministry?
Green: The importance of having a small group of peers who will journey through ministry with you as prayer and accountability partners. Too many pastors isolate themselves from other pastors and, thus, meaningful relationships are lost.
Messenger: What legacy for the future have you laid for your former church congregation?
Green: Pray and expect God to do great and mighty things which we do not know of. (Jer. 33:3) Commitment to spiritual growth is not optional for believers. Our Lord demands that we be conformed to His image. This process is constant until we die. Our closing statement for every worship service has been, “Jesus is Lord.” Then I would say, “Go serve Him as such.”