Advance – verb (ad·vance) “to accelerate the growth or progress of”

The Advance Conference, previously known as the Oklahoma State Evangelism Conference (SEC), is designed to propel the Gospel forward in Oklahoma and beyond. The event, which is free to attend, is set for Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 24-25 at Moore, First.

At the conference, Oklahoma Baptists will be equipped and encouraged to share their faith and advance the Gospel. The 2022 Advance Conference will emphasize the theme “Gather” and features three preaching sessions on Monday and programming on Tuesday that includes two morning breakout sessions and a closing preaching session in the afternoon.

“Our hope is that we will challenge the church to gather people together to advance the Gospel,” said Alan Quigley, Oklahoma Baptists’ associate executive director for church resources.

Oklahoma Baptist pastors and others are highly anticipating the annual event. Heath Tucker, pastor of Edmond, Waterloo Road, said the Advance Conference is a strategic time for pastors and church members to be energized to share their faith.

“(The) Advance Conference/SEC is my favorite event of the year,” Tucker said. “Pastors feel a constant pressure to shift from a missional mindset. This conference is a reminder to make the Gospel central in all we say and do. I love being challenged by the incredible preaching and always leave with new ideas for gospel advancement for my church and community.”

Advance Conference speakers

The preaching sessions during the Advance Conference will feature pastors from around the state, as well as Oklahoma Baptists ministry partners. In addition, Bill Britt, an evangelist with Compel Outreach International, is scheduled to speak.

Oklahoma Baptist pastors speaking at the Advance Conference include Matt Brooks, senior pastor of Broken Arrow, First; Jeremy Freeman, lead pastor of Newcastle, First; Rusty Gunn, senior pastor of Sand Springs, Church That Matters; Brock Hardin, senior pastor of Heavener, First; Rusty McMullen, lead pastor of McAlester, First; and Brian Mills, senior pastor of Yukon, Trinity.

Todd Fisher, executive director-treasurer of Oklahoma Baptists, will be speaking, as will Oklahoma Baptists ministry partners Prophet Bailey, young adult discipleship; Todd Sanders, Falls Creek programming and youth ministry; and Rickey Thomas, community ministry evangelism.

Bailey and Thomas are new to serving as Oklahoma Baptists ministry partners, and Quigley said the Advance Conference will be an introduction of them to Oklahoma Baptist churches.

The Advance Conference will feature testimonies from Adam Mask, pastor of Coweta, Community, who will share how he went from being in prison to now preaching in the pulpit, and Laura Perry, a former transgender person whose testimony is reaching LGBTQ people for Christ.

Advance Conference schedule

The 2022 Advance Conference schedule is as follows:

Monday, Jan. 24

Morning session speakers—9 a.m.-Noon
Todd Sanders
Rusty McMullen
Brock Hardin

Afternoon session speakers—1:15-4:30 p.m.
Rickey Thomas
Todd Fisher
Testimony by Laura Perry
Testimony by Adam Mask

Evening session speakers—6-8:30 p.m.
Rusty Gunn
Jeremy Freeman
Afterglow fellowship & movie premier showing about Caleb Freeman

Tuesday, Jan. 25

Morning breakout sessions
Breakout session one – 9:30-10:15 a.m.
Breakout session two – 10:30-11:15 a.m.

Afternoon session—1:15-5 p.m.
Bartholomew “Prophet” Bailey
Bill Brett
Brian Mills
Matt Brooks

Worship through music will occur throughout the Conference, with music led by Geron Davis and Kindred Souls.

Themes of the conference

The Advance Conference will introduce the ONE emphasis, which Quigley said will encourage churches to focus on being unified in Christ and making disciples.

“The ONE emphasis will be previewed during the breakouts on Tuesday,” Quigley said. “Churches were surviving through COVID, and now we are trying to help them refocus on our mission and purpose, bringing everybody together on one page. The ONE emphasis is an undated opportunity for pastors to take their church through five weeks of refocusing to accomplish that purpose.”

The Advance Conference also will display how the theme “Gather” and the ONE emphasis correspond with each other.

“’Gather’ and the ONE emphasis are the same thing,” Quigley said. “We’re coming back together and encouraging churches to spend five weeks on what it means to be back together. It means more than all of us being in the same room on a Sunday morning. It means we are all back together in our mission and our vision. This gives the church an opportunity to become likeminded.”

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