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Okla. budget lowered; ‘Mission Advance’ embraced

SHAWNEE, Okla. (BP)–Messengers overwhelmingly approved a $24.2 million Cooperative Program budget for 2011 and the report of an Mission Advance Team during their Nov. 15-16 meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma at Oklahoma Baptist University, which is celebrating its centennial this year.

While the BGCO budget is a 7 percent decrease from the current budget, the state convention will continue to allocate 40 percent of Cooperative Program receipts from Oklahoma churches to the Southern Baptist Convention’s national and international missions and ministries.


The BGCO Board of Directors called for the formation of a Mission Advance Team in February to consider the convention’s future as churches cooperate together in missions and ministries. The 23-member MAT was charged with analyzing the work of the convention and recommending strategic priorities that will guide the board and convention staff as they seek to take full advantage of the opportunities presented in the future.

The MAT committee identified five areas they believe deserve priority in ministry and funding over the next decade, believing that strategic and intentional effort in these areas will lead the convention to greater effectiveness and the bold advance of the Kingdom of God in Oklahoma, the nation and the world.

The committee also forged a new mission statement for the BGCO: “The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is a partnership of churches serving together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ to impact lostness with the Gospel by making disciples of all peoples.”

The five focus areas listed by the MAT committee are:

— Develop an aggressive, comprehensive plan to train pastors who are able to equip Oklahoma Baptist churches to impact lostness by making disciples.

— Equip Oklahoma Baptist churches to make disciples of young adults and impact the lostness of the emerging generations.

— Facilitate broader participation in partnership missions in order to inspire more Oklahoma Baptists to impact lostness and make disciples.

— Lead Oklahoma Baptists to respond to the changing demographics of Oklahoma by planting new churches that impact lostness and make disciples.

— Employ new technologies to maximize the effectiveness of our communications to tell the story of Oklahoma Baptists and to inspire our churches to impact lostness and make disciples.


Douglas Melton, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, was elected BGCO president for 2011 over Blake Gideon, pastor of First Baptist Church of Inola, 311 votes to 152.

Griff Henderson, pastor of Waterloo Road Baptist Church in Edmond, was elected first vice president, and Jason Langley, pastor of Lakeside Baptist Church in Mannford, was elected second vice president in a runoff with Kim Hayes, pastor of Monkey Island Baptist Church in Lake Center, (Grand Lake) and Johnny Montgomery, pastor of First Baptist Church of Red Oak. Michael Williamson, pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in Lawton, also was nominated.


Messengers approved without opposition all 11 resolutions proposed by the resolutions committee, chaired by Paul Beem, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Sulphur. The resolutions, all of which can be read in their entirety at www.bgco.org/annualmeeting, included celebrating Oklahoma Baptist University’s centennial and affirming the work of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma; biblical stewardship; the Cooperative Program; the sanctity of life; foster care and adoption; and the sanctity of marriage. Other resolutions addressed immigration and the Gospel; the dangers of human trafficking; recognition of state and national leaders; and support of the U.S. military.

The resolution on OBU stated, “We affirm the vision of the founders of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma to establish a Christian university founded on the principles and commands of Holy Scripture. We recognize OBU’s academic excellence as it remains Oklahoma’s highest ranked institution of higher education and pledge our ongoing support to its mission to provide the highest quality of education to students from across the nation and around the world.”

On the Cooperative Program, messengers stated, “As Oklahoma Baptists, we believe the Cooperative Program stands as a trusted sacred effort and a stable means of financial stewardship whereby local congregations can extend their reach across Oklahoma, our nation, and the world to advance the Kingdom of God. We commend our churches for their consistent and generous support of the Cooperative Program and call on Oklahoma Baptist churches to make a renewed commitment to the Cooperative Program as a priority for investment and growth in the coming years. Furthermore, we affirm that designated gifts are to be given as a supplement to the Cooperative Program and not as a substitute for the Cooperative Program as the primary channel of cooperative missions and ministry by Oklahoma Baptist churches.”

On the nation’s immigration issue, BGCO messengers stated they are “committed to taking the message and love of Christ to people of all races and nationalities throughout Oklahoma and the world. We as Christians are under Biblical mandate to respect the institution of government and its just laws. Accordingly, we believe that all citizens and immigrants should obey the laws of the land. We commit to follow the Biblical principle of caring for the foreigners among us and to be a neighbor to those in need, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, country of origin, or legal status. We are committed to ministering to those who are lost and sharing the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.”

The theme of the annual meeting, the convention’s 104th, was “Empowered to Act,” based on Acts. 4:31: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly.”

A total of 835 messengers attended the convention’s sessions in OBU’s Raley Chapel.

Speakers included an address by outgoing president Emerson Falls, pastor of Glorieta Baptist Church in Oklahoma City; a message by Ed Stetzer, president/missiologist in residence of LifeWay Research; BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan and Melton, who delivered the convention’s annual sermon.

The annual meeting adjourned Tuesday afternoon, followed by a commissioning service for 17 new missionaries by the International Mission Board that evening.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 14-15 at First Baptist Church in Moore.
Reported by the staff of the Baptist Messenger (www.baptistmessenger.net), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

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