This is a very significant month in my life. First, I will turn 66 years old on April 20. Second, I will begin my 20th year as the Executive Director-Treasurer of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

I remember watching my older friends reach this stage in life. While some friends have entered into the next stage of life with energy and expectancy, others smacked hard against the inevitable aging process and faced the future with gloom and doom.

As for me, I choose the former approach. While the world sees “66” as a marker for retirement and retreat, I see it as another exciting day of opportunities to serve my Lord and His people.

Yes, retirement is closer than it was, but God has given me vision and excitement about the days ahead. Frankly, I feel like Caleb when he arrived at the hill country near Hebron at the ripe old age of 85 and declared, “Give me this mountain!”

I chuckle when I read the words of this 85-year-old giant for God. Caleb said he had the same strength for battle as when Moses had sent him out 45 years earlier. Okay, so I may have lost a step at 66, but my passion and vision have not declined.

My deepest desire, whether given one more day or many more years, is to finish strong. I want my heart, integrity, passion, and love for Christ, His church and mission to never decline. Oh, the joy to serve our Lord, His people, and His church!

In 1996, after weeks of wrestling with the Lord, God spoke to Polla and me that His call on our lives was to serve through the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. It has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of our lives. Unrelenting pressures are washed over by overwhelming opportunities to be a part of advancing the work of the Kingdom.

Oklahoma Baptists are a remarkable people who are generous beyond description, with servant hearts like no people I know. What a privilege to walk along the path with you in touching the world with the Gospel! The impact of our “together ministry” reaches around the globe and impacts millions with the love of Christ.

The unity of our state has been unmatched, dating well before my time as leader. Through the 25-year denominational battle, we have remained united, conservative, and cooperative. Pastors and people of the BGCO are faithful servants who are a pleasure to serve with and beside.

My life has been so enriched by the staff that God has privileged me to lead. The BGCO staff are some of the most spiritually mature, dynamic, and creative people anywhere; and they continue to develop ministry approaches and materials used across the Southern Baptist Convention and the world. My life is so much richer for the opportunity to walk beside them each day.

When I came to this office 20 years ago, I made it clear we would put the focus of the BGCO on missions and evangelism. Twenty years later, nothing has changed. Missions and evangelism are still a priority.

Thank you for your support and kindness through these 19 years. I look forward to the privilege of serving you in this my 20th year.