Members of Oklahoma Baptists board of directors met on March 7 at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City for a time of prayer, fellowship, reports and key business.
During the afternoon plenary session, Todd Fisher, executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists, shared ministry updates and the historic news that Oklahoma Baptist churches recently surpassed $1 billion in cumulative giving.
“I have some tremendously exciting news to share with you that is cause for great celebration,” Fisher said. “As many of you know, Southern Baptists created the Cooperative Program (CP) in 1925. Along the way, we’ve hit some great milestones in our CP giving. I asked our team to do some research, and we discovered that when you cumulatively add all the CP gifts Oklahoma Baptist churches have given since 1926, we have given $1 billion to Kingdom causes supported through the Cooperative Program.”
Fisher noted that Oklahoma Baptists surpassed that giving mark in February. The CP giving does not include gifts to special offerings like the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.
Fisher presented a financial breakdown how these dollars have funded missions and ministry through the decades in Oklahoma and around the globe.
He added, “I like to think of this billion dollars in terms of the lives that have been changed through the generosity of Oklahoma Baptists. I like to think of the number of missionaries that have been put in the field taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to some of the darkest, hardest to reach places through these gifts.”
Ministry reports bless & uplift
During the board meeting, reports from the various committees were presented. Oklahoma Baptists President Chris Wall, who serves as senior pastor of Owasso, First, shared the Executive Committee Report.
Brandon Adams shared an update from the Church Resources Committee; Michael Butler from the CP & Communications Committee; Russell Duck from the Finance Committee; and Ryan Goodman from the Support Services Committee.
All four Oklahoma Baptist affiliate presidents spoke.
WatersEdge CEO Robert Kellogg noted that their ministry continues to flourish, even amid the financial challenges of inflation. Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) President Heath Thomas spoke about the success of the outreach program of the OBU Prison Divinity Program at Lexington.
Baptist Village Communities President Bill Pierce highlighted Gospel victories as the ministry celebrates its 65th anniversary. And James Swain, the newly-elected president of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children (OBHC), gave his first board report in his new role, noting the vital mission and ministry of OBHC. Todd Fisher led a special time of prayer for Swain, as he steps into his new role.
Recommendations & other key business
Board members took action on several business items, including that the 2023 Edna McMillan State Missions Offering (SMO) goal be set at $1.2 million. Board members heard Fisher share that last year, Oklahoma Baptists’ giving to the SMO exceeded $1.2 million for the first time in the state missions offering history.
The 2024 Cooperative Program allocation maintained its current distribution of 43 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention, 42 percent to Oklahoma Baptists and 15 percent to the affiliates.
Oklahoma Baptists Chief Financial Officer Leslie Osborn shared news that Oklahoma Baptists gave above and beyond the 2022 CP giving objective. With a 2022 CP objective of $24 million, churches gave $24,463,494 through the Cooperative Program last year. Board members also approved a ministry distribution plan for the overage of $463,494. Included in those allocation plans, $75,000 will go toward Pastor Development & Wellness initiatives; $75,000 toward seed money for maintenance and needed upgrades at Falls Creek Conference Center; $50,000 to provide for needed improvements to the Baptist Building, as well as $84,928 toward reserves.
“These are challenging times in the culture, but God is truly working through Oklahoma Baptists, as we advance the Gospel together,” Fisher said. “I’m so grateful for the men and women who serve on our board and make our organization better in serving churches and pastors.”
The next meeting of the board is set for May 23 in Oklahoma City.