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Oklahoma Baptists are ‘just doing it,’ Jordan tells Board

IMG_0289A 2011 $26 million Cooperative Program objective and a $1 million goal for the Edna McMillan State Missions Offering with a hallelujah goal of $1,050,000, were approved by the Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Feb. 2.

Meeting at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City, many of the directors left their churches and homes which were still without power following the previous week’s ice storm to conduct the business of the convention.

Kerry Russell, the BGCO’s chief financial officer, announced that 98 percent of the 2009 budget was reached, ($24,679,613) which broke 15 years of consecutive records in CP giving in the state.

“Although we did not reach our budget goal in 2009, we believe the $26 million figure will give the staff a good number for working on the 2011 budget,” said Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, and chairman of the finance committee.

Anthony L. Jordan, BGCO executive director-treasurer, told the board that $363,000 in permanent reductions have been made to the 2010 budget, with another $338,805 potential cuts identified if lower receipts demand further action.

In other business, the directors approved the appointment of a 23-member Mission Advance Team to develop a new strategic plan for the BGCO.

A strategic plan that addressed mission, direction and staff structure was implemented in 1997, and a strategic planning committee was established in 2003 to deal with the relationship, funding and governing documents of the BGCO and its affiliates. A smaller strategic planning group was begun in 2004 to establish values, strategic priorities and a system for recommending strategic focuses and initiative each year.

“With a desire greater than ever before to be missional and cooperative in reaching our state, nation and world, it is time for us to intensely examine every part of our convention ministries and structure to ensure that we are strategic and intentional in every area for Kingdom advance,” said Jordan.

The board also agreed to the purchase of the “Lease Building” at 6309 E. 102nd St. in Tulsa by the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma for the set price of $530,000.

In addition, the board authorized the Baptist Foundation to open a line of credit with the Bank of Oklahoma in the amount of $6 million for use in the following situations:

1. To fund distributions, capital calls, church building loan advances, margin calls or the cumulative amount of the combined items that exceed the current level of cash on hand, or

2. To fund rebalances between asset classes in anticipation of future positive cash flow.

In other action, the board:

Approved Tom Evans, member of Cherokee, First to complete the four-year unexpired term of John Herndon on the Board of Directors of the Baptist Foundation.

Recommended that amendments to the BGCO Personnel Policy Manuel concerning working hours and personal engagements and honorariums be approved.

Recommended that effective Jan. 1, 2010, the BGCO provide matching contributions to the GuideStone 403(b)(9) Church Retirement Plan for pastors who have minimal or no retirement savings in churches with annual budgets and/or undesignated gifts of less than $75,000.

Agreed to send $10,000 to the Florida Convention as an encouragement for the work it has done with its partnership country of Haiti, and to put $10,000 in Oklahoma Baptists’ disaster relief fund.

Approved a motion by Bob Green, pastor of Broken Arrow, Arrow Heights that “the Board of Directors of the BGCO send communication to CBS and its state affiliates supporting the company’s decision to air the Focus on the Family ad, which features Florida University quarterback Tim Tebow, who was not aborted by his mother during a difficult time in her life, during the Super Bowl” on Feb. 7.

In his address to the directors, Jordan said he sits in a lot of meetings, but many times he’d like to say, let’s stop talking and just do it.

“As I look across Oklahoma, I see that some still need to talk, need encouragement, but I’m excited that Oklahoma Baptists are just doing it,” he said.

He mentioned the 50 new church plants last year, 50 percent which were Hispanic; and the increase in baptisms, especially from new churches like a biker church and a cowboy church.

“I don’t think the increase we saw in baptisms happened by accident,” he said. “We went out two years in a row and knocked on doors and shared the Gospel during ACROSS Oklahoma, and I believe we are seeing harvest from the seeds we planted. When we are planting the seeds of the Gospel, it is amazing how many more we see come to Christ.”

He said he is excited about MY316 evangelism strategy, which was unveiled at the State Evangelism Conference.

“The heart of this strategy is what we do—carry the Gospel into the streets,” he said.

Jordan said while the results of the earthquake in Haiti have gripped our hearts because of the thousands who died and the sight of children left without anyone to turn to, Oklahoma and Southern Baptists are doing something.

“Southern Baptists already have 150 people on the ground in Haiti, and we are sending a medical team from Oklahoma next week,” he revealed. He urged board members to encourage their churches to take an offering for Haiti, “every dollar of which will go directly to disaster relief.”

Jordan also announced there are 13 chain saw crews working across Oklahoma in the wake of the ice storm.
Oklahomans are also responding internationally, in Mexico and East Asia, Jordan said.

“Our goal is to be missional people involved in missional churches and a missional convention,” he said. “Oklahoma Baptists are not going to sit around and talk about the Great Commission. We are just going to do it.”

Bill Pierce, president of Baptist Villages of Oklahoma, told board members the number of older adults is in the process of doubling by 2030, and churches can partner with village communities through LINC ministries, which currently has 500 people trained and on teams working with these older adults.

David Whitlock, president of Oklahoma Baptist University, announced that spring enrollment is up and two new professors are on board—Alan Bandy, New Testament professor, and Scott Pace, applied ministry and preaching professor. He said the Avery Willis Appreciation Banquet is scheduled March 4 with Jerry Rankin and Tom Elliff speaking.

Tony Kennedy, president of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, whose mother died Jan. 30, thanked the board for its prayers for him and his family.

He said in the process of taking care of the unborn and children dealing with abandonment and abuse, OBHC recorded 203 professions of faith last year.

“We share in a dynamic way a life style of godly living,” he said. “We don’t have to answer to any government agency when we share Jesus and take problems to the Bible.”

Robert Kellogg, president of the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, reported that all four of the Foundation’s investment pools posted double digit positive returns for the year.

“Unfortunately, the gains experienced during the last half of 2009 were insufficient to erase all of the market losses dating back to September 2008,” he said. “The net effect is that last week, the Foundation made more than $6.5 million available to our charitable beneficiaries through the 2009 annual distribution.”

The amount, he said, represents approximately 65 percent of last year’s annual distribution, but is significantly greater than original estimates of a distribution approaching 40 percent of the previous year’s distribution.

The next board meeting will be May 18.

Dana Williamson

Author: Dana Williamson

Dana Williamson is a Special Correspondent for the Baptist Messenger

View more articles by Dana Williamson.

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