On Nov. 9-10, messengers from the member churches of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) will meet at Oklahoma City, Southern Hills. While we will conduct business, sing, and preach, the annual meeting can best be described as a family reunion. Each year in November, pastors and lay leaders from across the state come together to renew friendships and make new friends.
Oklahoma Baptists love to get together, and the annual meeting is one of the prime times for making connections. I believe this regular interaction and fellowship is one of the reasons Oklahoma Baptists have stayed strong and united across the years. Oklahoma Baptists know one another. When we have disagreements, we are not debating strangers or those we do not understand, but we are discussing issues with brothers and sisters we know. This distinguishing mark acts like Gorilla Glue that forms an unbreakable bond.
The annual meeting is always preceded by the Pastors’ Conference and Missions Celebration. Our souls are fed and challenged by powerful preaching of the Word at the Pastors’ Conference. During the Missions Celebration, attendees hear from those involved in missions from around the world. These inspirational meetings are the prelude to the annual meeting and set the tone for our time together.
Special times of prayer will be folded into the schedule this year. While there is much for which to give thanks, we are keenly aware of our desperate need for the outpouring of the power of God’s Spirit on our individual work and cooperative work together. God is not impressed with budgets and talents, but with a humble people who call to Him.
This year there will be a special focus on partnership missions. The BGCO Board of Directors approved an extension of the partnership with the Baptist Convention in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Through this partnership, we have walked together for eight years, and God has done a phenomenal work. Guerrero has experienced a growing church planting process that borders on a major movement. Support of the seminary in Guerrero has produced a steady growth in church planters to fuel the church planting movement.
Peteris Sprogis, the leader of the Latvian Baptists, will be at the annual meeting as the BGCO initiates a three-year partnership with Latvian Baptists. With the drawdown of IMB personnel, it is likely there will be no missionaries in Latvia. Latvia is a nation of nearly two million people who have lived under the iron hand of communism and Nazism.
In recent years, the people of Latvia have been set free, and the opportunity to plant churches and impact lostness is huge. Our Baptist brothers and sisters in Latvia are aggressively seeking to make dramatic differences in the spiritual condition of their nation with the Gospel. You will be challenged by Sprogis as he gives Oklahoma Baptists a vision of the needs in Latvia and our opportunities to work beside Latvian Baptists.
God has placed on my heart a fresh challenge for Oklahoma Baptists. I can’t wait to share it with you Tuesday morning. BGCO President Hance Dilbeck, senior pastor of Oklahoma City, Quail Springs, will preach to us Monday evening. Sam Dyer, pastor of Heavener, First, will preach Tuesday afternoon.
I hope you will make plans to attend. Please know that guests are welcome at all sessions of the annual meeting.