The Edna McMillan Oklahoma State Missions Offering (SMO) produced four new videos available for downloading at oklahomabaptists.org/smo. All four videos have multiple viewing options of full length, one minute, 30 seconds or 15 seconds.
The viewing options make it possible for each video to be featured at any kind of service or meeting. For a Sunday morning service, a church may consider a shorter viewing during announcements. For a prayer meeting or a Sunday School class, time may allow for a longer viewing of each video.
All four videos emphasize the importance of Oklahoma Baptist churches supporting SMO with an emphasis on three areas of ministry—partnership missions, pastoral care and prison ministry.
SMO fuels missions partnerships
“We as Oklahoma Baptists can and do have a worldwide impact.” Hance Dilbeck spoke these words in the opening of the partnership missions video, panning over multiple scenic areas of farmland and city skylines.
“From any town in our state, we can touch the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists continued. “There are a lot of Oklahoma Baptists who are on the field with the IMB (International Mission Board), so we don’t need to establish these networks. We just need to take advantage of them.”
The video shows more beautiful scenery of different areas far away and within Oklahoma’s regions. It conveys to the viewer how this state can relate to lands across the globe.
“Having served in Russia, I had an interest for possible partnerships and made contact with our IMB point person who is actually from Oklahoma,” explained Matt Spann, director of missions in Cherokee Strip Association. The video features Spann walking into his office, as he shares how even smaller in attendance churches are able to participate in partnership missions because of SMO.
In the video, Spann introduced Matt Miles, pastor of Enid, Liberty Southern, who gave a testimony of his church participating in a mission trip to Moscow.
“One of the things that struck me is that Moscow has 18 million people,” Miles said. “And I was amazed at how many young people I saw on the metro, knowing that there are various places where they can hear the Gospel preached.”
Miles continued to explain how his church connected with a ministry in Moscow that provides a missions school.
“Young people go to school three days a week, and then they work in their ministry center three days a week,” Miles said about the Moscow ministry. “We got to know some of those students and see their places of service.”
At the end of the trip to Russia, Miles and other church members were able to establish a partnership with the missionaries there, and they plan to return in the future.
“Liberty Southern, right here in Enid, Oklahoma is having an impact on the other side of the world,” Spann declared in the video. He emphasized that God intends to use all kinds of churches, including the smallest, to be involved in missions.
SMO provides pastoral support
A pastor is seen gathering material, putting on his coat and preparing to deliver a sermon. Throughout the video, three different Oklahoma Baptists give commentary about what a pastor, his wife and family experience on a regular basis.
“It is hard—a beautiful blessing, but often difficult to be married to a minister,” said Amy Petersen, Oklahoma Baptists’ ministry wives ministry partner. “There’s a lot of stresses that they take on as they lead and shepherd their church.”
Brett Selby, regional ministry partner for Oklahoma Baptists, mentioned the elevated position many churches place their pastors and ministers.
“People tend to put them on pedestals, and pedestals, by nature, are very unstable,” he said.
Dilbeck also described what pastors and ministers face with expectations from their local bodies of believers.
“Our pastors have a challenging calling, a challenging vocation,” he said. “If they don’t take good care of themselves, then it’s going to be next to impossible for them to sustain a long-term, strong and healthy ministry in the life of the local church.”
This video explains how SMO is taking a special interest in relational support for pastors.
“The State Missions Offering gives money and funding and help for pastors and their families to receive counseling,” Petersen said. “Often we don’t know how to help our pastors. Giving to the State Missions Offering is one of those ways. It supports the pastor and his family, and then ultimately, leads and feeds into the healthiness of your church.”
Dilbeck added, “In giving, you’re allowing all of our pastors to have access to high quality support for themselves and their families in moments of crisis. This State Missions Offering will be used in part to give us the resources to help support our pastors, so they can shepherd the flock of God in a way that advances the Gospel.”
SMO is instrumental for new prison ministry
“God had a bigger plan than the one that I had for myself,” said Vincent Ochoa, an inmate at Lexington Correctional Services. The prison ministry video explains how offering participants will support Ochoa and other inmates to enhance their ministry opportunities in Oklahoma prisons.
Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) President Heath Thomas opened the prison ministry video, sharing a new ministry initiative that involves both Oklahoma Baptists and OBU partnering together. The initiative consists of providing long-term inmates, like Ochoa, the opportunity to earn a theological education, which is a far better alternative to detrimental scenarios.
“When inmates are in for awhile, and then they go out, if there isn’t some sort of a life change fundamentally, what happens is these prisoners will come back,” Thomas said.
Scott Crow serves with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and he offered alarming statistics to what Thomas said about a lack of life change among inmates.
“We have approximately 25,000 inmates,” Crow said, “and 95 percent of those individuals will return to society at some point.”
Dilbeck said Oklahoma Baptists have a way to “wade into our prison system.” He mentions the state leaders in criminal justice and the governor have allowed Oklahoma Baptists and OBU to provide a four-year degree program to inmates.
This video shares the message of training inmates serving time at Lexington to become spiritual leaders throughout Oklahoma correctional facilities while.
“They need to know Jesus,” Dilbeck said. “We can lead prisoners to faith in Christ and disciple them as followers of Christ and give them the theological education they need to shepherd and share the Gospel with their fellow inmates.”
Ochoa shared how he is looking forward to being involved in this program that is supported by SMO.
“To earn this degree will help me teach God’s Word more accurately,” he said. “Most importantly, (I want to help reach) these youngsters that are coming in, that are in need of mentorship.”
Dilbeck shared how meaningful and rewarding it will be for SMO to support this prison education program.
“The beauty of committing State Missions Offering dollars to theological education in prisons,” Dilbeck said, “is it allows us in the future to celebrate the fact that this is something Oklahoma Baptists did together.”
“As you partner with us,” Thomas added, “you are partnering with Gospel transformation and life change. I can think of nothing better.”
Overall, SMO advances the Gospel
“The Gospel will never stop advancing,” a voiceover narrator said in the opening of the overview video.
Shots representing COVID-19, stores closing and stock markets plunging are shown.
“Our mission continues despite our circumstances,” the narrator said. “For decades, as Oklahoma Baptists, we have sacrificially given to the State Missions Offering. We give because together we know our neighbors need to hear, our state needs to know that Jesus’ life and resurrection provides hope and life to all who believe.”
The video comprises content of which the other three videos elaborate, but viewers still grasp the importance of supporting prison ministry, pastoral care and partnership missions. The panoramic scenes and moving images convey how important it is for Oklahoma Baptists to support SMO.
“This offering is not just about raising money,” Dilbeck explained. “It’s about wading into the brokenness.”
All four well-produced videos are excellent content for viewing and relevant for any church group or worship service to present. For more information, visit oklahomabaptists.org/smo