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SBC DIGEST: Oklahoma Mission:Dignity recipients to receive 13th check, SWBTS Land Center announces advisory board

Mission:Dignity recipients in Oklahoma to receive 13th check in 2022

By ROY HAYHURST, Guidestone

DALLAS (BP) — Mission:Dignity® recipients in Oklahoma will receive an extra check — a 13th check — in 2022 thanks to efforts from churches and Oklahoma Baptists.

Oklahoma marks the sixth state to offer such an arrangement between Mission:Dignity/GuideStone® and state conventions.

“Our board members and I are so thankful for Oklahoma Baptists to participate in this 13th check partnership with GuideStone’s Mission:Dignity,” said Todd Fisher, executive director of Oklahoma Baptists. “We pray this will be a real blessing to these wonderful, well-deserving servants of the church here in Oklahoma. We are thankful and honored to partner with GuideStone on this important ministry opportunity.”

In 2022, Mission:Dignity helped more than 2,500 individuals with extra money needed for housing, food and vital medications. It also ensures a well-deserved dignity, independence and, often, the ability to continue serving the Lord. Almost 60 Oklahoma recipients who have served in Oklahoma will receive a 13th check the last week of April.

“It is personally gratifying as a native Oklahoman to see my home state capture this vision of Mission:Dignity,” GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck said. “These payments from Mission:Dignity serve as an ongoing reminder that their Oklahoma Baptists and Southern Baptist family have not forgotten them or their service to the Lord and His people. We are so thankful for the state conventions in South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Oklahoma for their efforts to provide additional support through Mission:Dignity.”

Mission:Dignity expressed its thankfulness for Oklahoma Baptists.

“We are so thankful for the leadership of Todd Fisher and the Oklahoma Baptists trustees for making this additional gift possible,” said Aaron Meraz, director of Mission:Dignity. “Like Dr. Dilbeck, I hail from Oklahoma, so this gift is especially gratifying to me. The pastors and widows we serve are truly deserving of a double honor, and thanks to the efforts of so many, those we are privileged to serve will be receiving this blessing.”

For more information on Mission:Dignity, to give, to apply for assistance or to refer someone in need, visit MissionDignity.org

Land Center announces inaugural advisory board


FORT WORTH (BP) — Nineteen thought leaders and cultural influencers have been named to the inaugural advisory board of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Adam W. Greenway announced today.

“We are grateful that these leaders who are engaging the culture in so many important ways have agreed to work with us as the founding members of the Land Center advisory board,” Greenway said. “We look forward to the insights they will bring to the table as the Land Center helps shape the conversation about significant ethical issues among Southern Baptists, other evangelicals, and the wider culture and educates our students how they can make a difference for our Lord.”

The Land Center advisory board members who serve in pastoral ministry, academia, public policy advocacy, missions, journalism, and other fields will lend their voices to the work of the center and help equip the next generation of Christians engage in the public square.

“We are honored to have the support of such an impressive and diverse group of Christian leaders for the vital work of the Land Center,” said Daniel M. Darling, director of the Land Center and assistant professor of faith and culture at Texas Baptist College. “As we work to engage in important conversations, equip the church, and educate the next generation, their voices will offer valuable counsel and ideas in helping us shape the future of our work.”

Richard D. Land, the center’s namesake and president emeritus of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC), will serve as chairman of the advisory board.

“I believe the Land Center is providentially placed to be a forum where Baptist and other evangelical leaders can convene and seek God’s guidance and discuss how to apply the eternal truths of Scripture to the critical moral issues confronting us as a nation,” Land said. “This excellent, multi-generational board of advisors will provide great wisdom and guidance in helping the Land Center to assist Christians in being the salt and light in society that our Savior has commanded us to be. It will be a great honor to serve with each of them.”

One advisory board member is Shannon Royce, president of Christian Employers Alliance in Arlington, Virginia. Royce previously served as director of the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has been staff counsel for two United States senators. 

“I appreciate the opportunity to join the advisory board of the Land Center, especially because it will be chaired by Dr. Land, for whom I have such deep respect and appreciation,” said Royce, who once led the ERLC Washington, D.C. “It is a special privilege to offer advice to the center that honors him. It’s also a great opportunity to help students understand the important public policy issues of our day.”

Another member of the advisory board is Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the Land Center advisory board,” said Graham. “I love Southwestern Seminary and what it has meant to my life and ministry. Serving on the advisory board is a wonderful way for me to give back to my alma mater as it helps students and churches develop a conservative Christian worldview and bring a biblical perspective to the challenges of our generation.”

Kevin Smith, teaching pastor of Family Village Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, was also named to the advisory board. Smith, who served as the executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware until Sept. 2021, expressed gratitude for the work of the Land Center and its leadership under Greenway and Darling.

“Both of these brothers have clear apologetic and evangelistic thinking,” Smith said. “It is imperative that we equip the churches, and their leaders, to be effective salt/light witnesses for Christ’s glory in the midst of challenging days – politically, socially, and culturally. It will be exciting to have the center thinking deliberately about these matters.”

In addition to Land, Royce, Graham, and Smith, other members named to the advisory board include:

Julio Arrolia, SEND Network director, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Grapevine, Texas

Matt Carter, lead pastor, Sagemont Church, Houston, Texas

Daryl Crouch, founder and executive director, Everyone’s Wilson, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

Katie Frugé, director, Center for Cultural Engagement, Texas Baptists, Dallas, Texas

J.B. Horton, chief development officer, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Austin, Texas

Jon Kelly, lead pastor, Chicago West Bible Church, Chicago, Illinois

Nathan Lorick, executive director, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Grapevine, Texas

Michael McAffee, president and co-founder, Inspire Experiences, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Dana Hall McCain, columnist, Alabama Media Group, Dothan, Alabama

Bob Roberts, founder, GlocalNet, Keller, Texas

Adron Robinson, senior pastor, Hillcrest Baptist Church, Country Club, Illinois

Julie Warren, deputy director, Right on Crime, Austin, Texas

Trevin Wax, vice president of research and resource development, North American Mission Board, Alpharetta, Georgia

David Whitlock, pastor, Lebanon Baptist Church, Lebanon, Kentucky

Jenny Yang, senior vice president of advocacy and policy, World Relief, Baltimore, Maryland

More information about the Land Center can be found here.

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