MOORE, Okla. (BP) — A total of 764 messengers to the 105th annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma focused on the theme “Together” at First Baptist Church in Moore Nov. 14-15.
Doug Melton, convention president and pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, called on Oklahoma Baptists to rediscover the love of God, beginning in the home. “Husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the church — unconditionally,” he said.
Michael Williamson, associate pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Lawton, delivered the annual sermon, tying into the theme.
Messengers approved a three-tier financial plan for 2012, following a Great Commission Resurgence Task Force recommendation to move toward a 50/50 split of Cooperative Program receipts with the SBC after consideration of allocations for shared ministries.
The 2012 BGCO CP allocation goal of $24.9 million is based on actual 2010 receipts. The budget is up from $24.2 million in 2011. Of the new budget total, $3,106,813 is designated for shared ministry causes between the SBC and BGCO, with the remaining percentage divided 46 percent ($10,024,866) to the SBC and 54 percent ($11,768,321) to remain in Oklahoma. In 2011, the BGCO forwarded 40 percent to SBC causes.
“This actually allows us to send $65,000 more to the SBC,” Doug McClure, finance committee chairman and pastor of First Baptist Church in Hugo, said.
The plan passed without visible opposition as messengers voted by raising their ballots.
Melton was elected to a second term as president of the BGCO; Shane Hall, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lawton, was elected first vice president and Scott Hamilton, pastor of Silo Baptist Church in Duran, was elected second vice president, all by acclamation.
While cautioning that “nothing should rise above the Gospel,” Anthony Jordan, the convention’s executive director, reminded messengers that it is their responsibility to serve their fellow man.
“We have a responsibility to be a neighbor to those who have nothing to offer to us,” Jordan, celebrating his 15th anniversary as executive director of the state’s largest evangelical denomination, said.
Touting several BGCO ministries which benefit from the annual state missions offering — including chaplaincy, disaster relief and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee — Jordan delivered a two-fold challenge to messengers.
“We are going to challenge Oklahoma Baptists to do two things … to give $1 million next year to the state missions offering this coming September so we can present the Gospel to every person in this state, and we are also going to challenge our churches to give 1 million pounds of food to feed hungry Oklahomans all over this state,” Jordan said.
During the final session, messengers passed 11 resolutions and approved revisions to the convention’s constitution.
The resolutions included three concerning pro-life issues, appreciation to the host church and to Baptist disaster relief, support of the U.S. military as well as others on human trafficking, Christian citizenship, hunger, marriage and family and family equipping and discipleship.
Tyson Wynn, a member of Welch Baptist Church in Welch and chairman of the Constitution and Bylaws Revision Committee, explained that the purpose of the revisions was to better organize and to eliminate redundancy.
Major changes include the reduction of the BGCO board of directors from 64 to 60 members and the terms of service on the board from four years to two consecutive terms of three years each. No longer elected by the convention are the editor of the Baptist Messenger and the historical secretary.
Four pastors spoke about the Mission Advance Team priority report regarding the convention’s future.
Hall, reporting on church planting, noted three focal points to improve attitudes toward church planting: legitimization, communication and participation.
Alton Fannin, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ardmore, speaking on emerging generations, said the team arrived at few answers for how to reach younger people with the Gospel and incorporate them into churches, but they were confident a solution could be found in Christ.
In reporting on the partnership phase of the report, Doyle Pryor, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sapulpa, said, “When God made the covenant with Abraham, He said, ‘All people of earth will be blessed through you.’ All people of earth can be blessed through us. We want to bless the world, and we have the greatest thing to bless them with: Jesus Christ.”
Hance Dilbeck, pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, reported on training pastors who are able to equip Oklahoma Baptist churches to impact lostness.
Next year’s annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma will be Nov. 12-13 at First Baptist Church in Moore.
Compiled by the staff of the Baptist Messenger (www.baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.