Members of Oklahoma Baptists’ Board of Directors met on May 23 in Oklahoma City to hear ministry reports, pray together, share fellowship and consider key business. Included in the ministry reports were a preview of summer camps including Falls Creek, an update from Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU), as well as discussion about news resources available for churches.
Brandon Petersen, who serves as OBU Dean of Students and Vice President of Campus Life, updated board members about the recovery from the devastating April 19 tornado.
“I am here today representing (OBU President) Heath Thomas,” Petersen said. “We are extremely grateful for all the outpouring of support from Oklahoma Baptists, as we seek to go from wreckage to renewal.”
Petersen shared that, of the 40-plus buildings on campus at OBU, all had sustained some damage. He thanked Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers for their assistance in the clean-up of campus immediately following the tornado.
He emphasized that, even in the face of an estimated $50 million-plus of tornado damage at OBU, God was providing and OBU would emerge stronger. “We have finished the sprint and are now in the marathon portion of this recovery and renewal,” Petersen added.
Board member Jeff DeGiacomo, who serves as senior pastor of Shawnee, Immanuel, voiced prayer for OBU following Petersen’s report.
Other Oklahoma Baptists affiliate reports were delivered to the board, including reports from Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC) President James Swain, WatersEdge CEO Robert Kellogg and Baptist Village Communities President Bill Pierce.
Each of the board committees presented reports to the full board during the afternoon plenary session. LeRon West reported on the Church Resources Committee; Michael Butler for the Communications/Cooperative Program Committee; Russell Duck for the Finance Committee; and Ryan Goodman for the Support Services Committee.
Joe Ligon, who serves as Oklahoma Baptists senior associate director, gave board members a preview of summer camp for Falls Creek and CrossTimbers, asking board members to pray for the Lord’s protection and blessing on the summer camps.
In terms of official votes, there were two recommendations approved by board members:
“That the 2024 Cooperative Program objective be $24,500,000.”
“That the president of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children be authorized to negotiate the purchase of a building for the permanent location of the Hope Pregnancy Center in Shawnee with a purchase price of up to $550,000.”
OBHC’s Swain emphasized that the Shawnee Hope Center was already ministering to many clients, after launching less than a year ago.
Todd Fisher expressed his personal appreciation for each of the board members, who come from across the state—from the Panhandle to the other corners of the state.
“I appreciate so much the men and women who serve on our board,” Fisher said. “Every time we meet, I learn from the wisdom, faithfulness and experience of these wonderful people. I am so grateful for their willingness to serve and the contribution they make to our Kingdom work.”
Fisher reported on his ministry travels, stating that he is connecting with pastors and directors of missions/associational missionaries, in every association in the state. He shared other key updates including the areas of global missions, the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, evangelism and pastoral encouragement.
Throughout the meeting, Pastor Jon Johnston of Oklahoma City, Exchange Avenue, served as chairman of the meeting, as Oklahoma Baptists president Chris Wall was out of the country. Johnston is serving a one-year term as Oklahoma Baptists first vice president.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board is Sept. 12, meeting at Falls Creek Conference Center.