Quail Springs Baptist Church uses its Acts 1:8 partnerships to put a face on the Cooperative Program.
Akin to the biblical passage's spheres of outreach, Quail Spring's "Judea" is Baptist Temple in Oklahoma City's inner city; its "Samaria," the South-Central Baptist Association in Kansas; and, in its global mission, Armenia is the church's focus.
"Our missions partnerships are with Southern Baptists," pastor Hance Dilbeck said. "That way, when our people think of the Cooperative Program, they have a connection with real live missionaries."
From its foundational missions giving through the Cooperative Program, Quail Springs is an outwardly focused church by design, the pastor said. In the midst of a major expansion project, the church has chosen to guard its missions fervor by continuing to give 13.5 percent of its regular offerings to missions through the Cooperative Program.
"When we, as pastors, talk to our people about sacrificial giving for Kingdom causes, and then reduce our giving because of other pressing needs, that sends a mixed message," Dilbeck said. "We, as church leaders, must practice what we preach."
In addition to assisting its Acts 1:8 partners with finances, manpower, and prayer, Quail Springs reaches out to its "Jerusalem" — the northwest quadrant of Oklahoma City — primarily through a lay-led food pantry that provides for hundreds of people each month and a recreation facility that ministers to more than a thousand each month from a nearby office park and several apartment complexes.
"We use recreation to bring people from the community under the influence of the church so they have an opportunity to have relationships with people who are born-again believers and receive sincere ministry from Christian people, and to hear the Gospel either by someone sharing it personally or by hearing it proclaimed," Dilbeck said.
"We are in a rapidly growing part of Oklahoma City," he continued. "We have to work hard to expand our ministries to the people moving into our area. That takes a lot of our time and energy. But we also want to work hard to keep from getting self-centered, self-absorbed."
Quail Springs' focus is seen in its mission statement: "Look What God Is Doing! He binds us together in fellowship; He brings us together for worship; He builds us up for service; He sends us out with the good news of Jesus. Not to us, O LORD, not to us; but to Your Name be the glory! (Psalm 115:1)"
In addition to its Cooperative Program commitment, Quail Springs utilizes missions education to maintain its outward focus, the pastor said.
"Missions education is one of the Kingdom ministries of a church like ours," Dilbeck said. "We have a lot of good families producing capable children who know and love the Lord, and it's important to help those families have a global vision.
"The Lord has and is and will continue to call missionaries from out of our church," the pastor continued. "Missions education helps them be ready to hear that call."
About 1,500 people attend one of three Sunday morning worship services at Quail Springs. About 1,200 are in Sunday Bible study — double the number when Dilbeck was called in 2003 as pastor.
"We minister through the body and make sure the members are cared for. As our church has grown, we've focused on making sure everybody has a part in Bible study," the pastor said.
In devoting 13.5 percent of its offerings to missions through the Cooperative Program, Quail Springs is projected to give $476,000 for Oklahoma, national, and international missions and ministries. Last year, the church also gave $130,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions — the third year to top $100,000.
"They were giving more than 13 percent when I came here," Dilbeck said. "The budget has grown, so giving has increased, but in the midst of that, we've been adding staff aggressively and we're in the midst of a $5.5 million construction project."
The construction of a student ministries building and expanding and improving the space for children and preschoolers is costly but necessary in order to meet the needs of a growing population, the pastor said.
"Church life is not primarily what we do for Him, but what He has done in and through us," Dilbeck said. "We emphasize that church growth is a natural byproduct of church health, and by health we mean purity and unity and active ministry — every member having a ministry. If we stay healthy, the growth part takes care of itself in our setting."The Lord has blessed us, and we want to share those blessings with others. The emphasis is keeping the focus on the Lord and His work."
Help your church members see the difference they are making through the Cooperative Program. Free resources are available through most state convention offices or for a nominal charge through the national office. To contact the national CP office call 1-800-722-9407 or log on to www.sbc.net/cp.