Read the words quoted in the lead article of this issue from Pastor Hance Dilbeck regarding the remarkable tithe and subsequent gift through the Cooperative Program (CP) by Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. “The church members (husband and wife) who gave this did so as a matter of principle,” he said. “They tithed on a large increase just as they have in the past on a smaller scale. Quail Springs followed the same pattern. God has blessed us as we have given 13.5% through the CP. This has been our pattern through multiple building campaigns and a rapidly growing budget. We believe it would be a mistake to change our pattern of giving now.”
In a world marked by shifting sands, unprincipled people, and situation ethics, it is refreshing to find people who live their convictions in all circumstances. This is the story of committed followers of Christ who are tithers by conviction. Whether the increase from the hand of the Lord is much or little, their conviction does not change. It is a belief formed across many years of faithful service and ministry for Christ.
The same is true of the pastor and people. Brother Hance and Quail Springs members have given 13.5 percent through the Cooperative Program for many years. Through multiple building programs and growth, the church has stayed committed to cooperation beyond the local church. This commitment is based on a conviction to give and go in fulfilling the Great Commission from the front door of the church to the ends of the earth. This commitment is fanned time and time again as the story of missions and ministry is shared with the church on a regular basis. Every member of Quail Springs receives the Baptist Messenger and has opportunities regularly to read about the impact of their gifts through the Cooperative Program week in and week out.
But the story doesn’t end there. The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) has been a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for many years in the amount of CP dollars given beyond our state. This has been a conviction on the part of convention leaders and Oklahoma Baptists. In addition to sending 46 percent after shared ministry items beyond our borders, the BGCO sends 50 percent of all monies above the budget to the SBC. It has also been the practice of the convention to share overage with mission projects around the state, nation, and world.
The CP dollars translate into more missionaries around the world, more churches planted in Oklahoma and the United States, more people served through Disaster Relief, as well as advancement of BGCO work in East Asia, Mexico, and Colorado, our partnership state.
Brother Hance has served as chairperson of the BGCO Finance Committee and as chairperson of the Southwestern Seminary Board. He has been very active in Baptist life in Oklahoma and on an SBC level. He knows the broad base of ministry and missions of Baptist work. He also knows the level of accountability. Brother Hance told me recently that he is very pleased to lead the church to cooperate with the BGCO because he knows the money is handled with integrity and used to advance the work of the Gospel. He is right. He has led the BGCO Finance Committee as it worked its way, line by line, through the BGCO financial plan. He has watched as the BGCO was audited and financial statements were scrutinized. More importantly, he has seen firsthand the use of the money to spread the Gospel and do biblical ministry.
The tithe, the CP commitment of Quail Springs Baptist Church, and the commitment of the BGCO to extend the dollars to the ends of the earth speak of convictional generosity. I hope you will be challenged and that you will encourage individuals, churches, and other state conventions to give by conviction.
It is a proud moment for Oklahoma Baptists. It is no doubt one of the largest tithe gifts in SBC history—perhaps the largest. It is the largest amount ever given in one year by an SBC church through the Cooperative Program since its beginning in 1925. Most of all, it is the story of a gracious and good God blessing His children as they honor Him with all He places in their hands. Rejoice in the Lord!