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Oklahoma Baptists and Affiliates to relocate to building in OKC purchased by WatersEdge

MAY 2024 • VOL. 113 | NO. 5 AMomentousMove Todd Fisher WhoAreYou? Alan Quigley


Brian Hobbs | Editor bhobbs@oklahomabaptists.org

Lori Coats | Subscription/Assistant lcoats@oklahomabaptists.org

Sabrina Cranford | Creative Lead scranford@oklahomabaptists.org

Bob Nigh | Contributing Writer bnigh@oklahomabaptists.org


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The Baptist Messenger (ISSN 0744-9518) is published monthly by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, 3800 N. May, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-6506. Periodicals postage paid at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Circulation last issue: 37,210. Individual subscriptions are available upon request. When writing for a change of address or a subscription renewal, please include a copy of your mailing label.

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May 2024 · Vol. 113 I No. 5 INSIDE THIS ISSUE 03 | A Momentous Move CONNECT Todd Fisher 04 | Pray, Vote, Pray SWORD AND TROWEL Brian Hobbs 05 | Upcoming Events 06 | OBHC Bringing Hope Gift Guide AFFILIATE 07 | In a Slump JUST JOE Joe Ligon 16 | Blessed by Churches REGIONAL MINISTRY Griff Henderson 19 | Who Are You? TOOL BOX Alan Quigley 17 | Missionary Prayer Guide 08 | A New Ministry Home FEATURE 14 | Manny Parker PASTOR IN FOCUS 12 | Puzzles 13 | Church News

A Momentous Move

You may have heard the exciting news that Oklahoma Baptists and its affiliates are moving offices to a new location. This move will positively impact the future of our state convention and help us carry out the vision of advancing the Gospel and serving/investing in churches and pastors.

For the last few years, our Oklahoma Baptists affiliate The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, doing business as WatersEdge, has experienced very strong growth primarily through its Ministry Accounting Services program. This program provides affordable accounting services to churches of every size, now serving more than 200 churches. This ministry helps achieve a primary goal for Oklahoma Baptists — serving, helping, and investing in churches.

The growth of WatersEdge has required them to hire additional personnel, with the expectation that more workers will be needed in the future. As a result, WatersEdge is out of space at the Baptist Building. For well over a year, we explored every possibility of how we could reconfigure or remodel the Baptist Building to meet the growth needs of WatersEdge, but every option was extremely cost prohibitive. Also, the Baptist Building is now more than 40 years old and has considerable deferred maintenance needs.

WatersEdge began looking into the possibility of purchasing a building that would be suitable for their growing needs. An important thing to emphasize at this point is that it is essential to me, to our affiliate presidents, and I believe to Oklahoma Baptists, that our affiliates stay in the same building, to help maintain the unity we enjoy and appreciate

as a state convention, and to remain under the umbrella as Oklahoma Baptists.

In WatersEdge’s search, they discovered a building large enough with a layout that is well-suited to house their growing needs and the needs of our state convention and affiliates. The building was available to be purchased at a price well below its appraised value and is located in Bricktown near downtown Oklahoma City. Many of you will recognize this building as the former headquarters of the Sonic Corporation.

On January 26, the Board of Directors for WatersEdge unanimously voted to purchase the building, and on February 8, the Oklahoma Baptists Board of Directors considered and unanimously approved the purchase of the building by WatersEdge (see page 8). The offices of Oklahoma Baptists and affiliates currently in the Baptist Building will move to the newly acquired building sometime in the coming months.

This is exciting news for the future of Oklahoma Baptists as it will allow our state convention to take its resources and invest back into our churches and pastors for them to be stronger and healthier so the Gospel can be advanced. Currently, Oklahoma Baptists owns the Baptist Building and receives rent from our affiliates who office in it. Even after collecting rent, our cost is more than $600,000 annually for upkeep and maintenance of the building. Our team has worked diligently in researching the future cost of owning our current building. When the upcoming deferred maintenance costs are added to the average annual cost for Oklahoma Baptists to own and operate our current building over the next 10 years, the total cost rises to over $1 million a year.

Add to this fact that Cooperative Program receipts have been in decline for the last several years, and our ability to serve and resource churches and pastors would be greatly diminished.

With WatersEdge owning the new building, Oklahoma Baptists will no longer have to spend money maintaining the existing building and will save a significant amount of money. The Oklahoma Baptists board has voted to list the Baptist Building for sale, and the proceeds of its sale will be invested in a way that will help pay down the rent Oklahoma Baptists will pay to WatersEdge saving us over $500,000 annually.

Making this move will give our state convention a firmer financial future that will:

• Allow us to better fulfill our strong commitment to be the best stewards of the precious resources entrusted to us;

• Continue to offer the ministries such as Falls Creek, CrossTimbers, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Disaster Relief, conferences and retreats, and others;

• Make more resources available for missions and ministry opportunities right here in Oklahoma.

The decision to move did not come lightly but rather through a long period of prayer, due diligence, collaboration and joint affirmation among our affiliate leadership. This move put us all in the best position possible to accomplish our common goal of advancing the Gospel and serving Oklahoma Baptists churches.

The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 3 CONNECT



You may have heard the slogan “Pray, Vote, Pray.” That is an excellent reminder for voters of faith living in America.

What do I mean by “Voters of Faith”? One time, during a U.S. Vice-Presidential debate, the candidates were asked what role, if any, faith plays in their policy-making decisions.

One of the candidates replied, “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, about how to make sure that people have a chance in life.”

I think most Oklahoma Baptists can identify with that response. Our faith affects the way we think, act and vote. Our Christian convictions guide our everyday lives, including on Election Days. We are, in a phrase, voters of faith.

That is why it is important that Christians take advantage of the upcoming opportunities for civic involvement. Oklahomans can find all kinds of help resources at this website https://oklahoma.gov/elections.

This webpage offers information about how to register to vote, lists of announced candidates, and sample ballots, as well as an election calendar. Here are some upcoming key voting dates:

• Primary Elections on June 18

• Runoff Primary Elections on Aug. 27

• General Elections on Nov. 5

My column here is, in many ways, a reminder to take action. In a larger sense, though, it’s a reminder to pray. We live in crucial times. The number of issues being debated and considered in the culture and at the ballot box—such as abortion, the economy, education and more—have an immediate and lasting impact on this nation and beyond.

Years ago, Adrian Rogers wrote a piece about how to pray. Quoting Francis Schaeffer, he said this: “Dr. Schaeffer, brilliant mind, one of the foremost Christian thinkers of our time, has given 5 principles to keep in mind when you vote. These principles don’t deal with personalities or parties. They are principles.

1. The dignity of human life.

2. The importance of the traditional family.

3. Religious freedom of speech in schools, both public and private.

4. Human rights and the need for justice in our world.

5. The compassionate use of accumulated wealth.

“These five principles ought to be in the heart and mind of every child of God. Pray over these and, based on God’s Word, make your determination. God will give you wisdom in this matter.”

That’s a good reminder, both when Adrian Rogers wrote it and for these days.

Please consider setting aside the time to seek the Lord’s leading in your vote. Pray, then vote, then pray more. The future course of our country depends on such prayers.


May 23-25, 2024 Camp Perfect Wings CrossTimbers Conference Centers

oklahomabaptists.org/ childhood/camp-perfect-wings/

May 28

CrossTimbers Children's Mission Adventure Camp Session One Begins oklahomabaptists.org/ childhood/crosstimbers/

June 3

Falls Creek Youth Camp Session One Begins oklahomabaptists.org/fallscreek/

Ministry Pipeline EPISODE 44

The church, is responsible for calling out those who are called to ministry and providing valuable training. Todd Fisher and Andy Taylor discuss valuable principles of the Ministry Pipeline with Heath Tucker.

June 9-12

SBC Pastors Conference & Annual Meeting Indianapolis, IN sbcannualmeeting.net/

July 28-August 1

Indian Falls Creek Falls Creek Conference Centers indianfallscreek.org/

August 4-8

Collegiate Week Falls Creek Conference Centers collegeministry.com/ collegiateweek/

See what events are happening around the state! eventsUPCOMING oklahomabaptists.org/podcast or on... LISTEN AT The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 5 EVENTS
May 2024 6 AFFILIATE


It happened several years ago. In fact, it was long enough ago that I was still working full time in public education and supply preaching every chance I got. It happened during one of my supply preaching opportunities.

I had preached the best, most powerful, dynamic sermon on humility that probably had ever been preached. (This is a joke. I don’t really remember what I preached. But, I do remember the rest of the story.) I finished my message and gave the obligatory “every eye closed, every head bowed.” Every other church I said that in has always had some “peekers.” Most of them have been very sly at peeking. Others have been very blatant about peeking. But every church has had them.

Except this one.

This is the only church that I have ever preached in that everyone immediately closed their eyes and bowed their heads. I began an invitation that Billy Graham would have been proud of. As I scanned the congregation looking for signs of someone getting up to make a decision for Jesus, I saw it.

An older lady slumped over on the older lady next to her. We will call the one who slumped the slumper, and the one who got slumped on the slumpee. Otherwise, this will get a bit confusing. So, the slumper slumped over on the slumpee. The slumpee immediately elbowed the slumper. I guess the slumper must have had a habit of falling asleep and leaning over on the slumpee. Only this time the slumpee was having none of this. She gave the slumper a swift elbow. The slumper’s head kind of bounced up, but fell right back down on the slumpee, who immediately responded with another elbow. The slumper’s head went up and then back down. The slumpee responded with a third elbow.

It was then that I realized that the slumper was having some sort of issue. Either my preaching had stunned her, or she had passed out, or she was having some sort of seizure. I immediately went into emergency medical mode. I went to where the slumper was still slumping on the slumpee. The slumpee was still elbowing her. I whispered to the slumpee that I didn’t think that was helping.

I drug the slumpee out into the aisle, discovered she still had a pulse, which meant my preaching had not actually harmed her. I needed someone to call 911 or something. But everyone was still in his/her place with eyes closed and head bowed. Finally, someone peeked. They always do. He came to assist me. We got an ambulance called, which came and carried off the slumper, who it turned out had only had a seizure.

By the time the EMTs had carted this woman off, it was obvious that the invitation was over. But the church had planned to have “dinner on the grounds.” That is one of my favorite things about church. We prayed for the slumper, who we felt sorry for because she wasn’t going to have any “dinner on the grounds.” And then we ate and ate and ate.

As the party was breaking up, I stood up and walked over to the pulpit to retrieve my Bible. When I turned around, a very elderly lady was approaching me. She had the most beautiful blue tint to her hair. She had two new tennis balls on the front two legs of her walker (after all it was Sunday). And she came straight toward me.

I waited with some trepidation. After all, you never know what someone is going to say to you in church. She finally got to me and in the sweetest voice said, “Well Brother Joe, you really laid them in the aisle today.” I was speechless (which doesn’t happen often) as she walked on by.

Some things to think about. One, if you are going to slump in church, you need to be careful about who you sit next to. Two, always have someone handy who knows the number to 911. Three, “dinner on the grounds” is a great way to end any church service.

The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 7 JUST JOE


Oklahoma Baptists and Affiliates to relocate to building in OKC purchased by WatersEdge

On February 8, the board of directors for Oklahoma Baptists unanimously approved a plan for the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, now known as WatersEdge, to purchase an office building near downtown Oklahoma City.

WatersEdge purchased what was the Sonic Drive-In Corporate headquarters in Bricktown. The approximately 100,000-squarefoot, four-story office building is owned by WatersEdge, whose board of directors also approved the move.

The new WatersEdge location will house the fast-expanding WatersEdge Ministries and will serve as the future offices for the staff currently officing at the Baptist Building in Oklahoma City, which includes Oklahoma Baptists, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and Baptist Village Communities.

“This convention gave birth to our organization, and that’s a privilege we never want to forget,” WatersEdge President and CEO Robert Kellogg said. “Since our founding, we have benefited from being the sole incorporated trust agency for Southern Baptist work in Oklahoma. With that privilege comes a responsibility to steward well what has been entrusted to us and to make wise financial decisions. The Lord has blessed us to be in a position to step forward and expand our facilities, and it’s now our privilege to provide the affiliates an opportunity to come with us.”

Previously, each of these ministries officed out of the Baptist Building on North May Avenue in Oklahoma City, a building that Oklahoma Baptists have owned, occupied and operated since 1990.

May 2024 8 FEATURE

“The move to a new building is a significant opportunity for Oklahoma Baptists,” Todd Fisher, Oklahoma Baptists executive director-treasurer, said. “The decision did not come lightly, but rather came through a long period of prayer, due diligence, collaboration among our ministry affiliate leadership and our joint affirmation to put us all in the best position possible to accomplish our common goal of advancing the Gospel and serving Oklahoma Baptist churches.

“The current Baptist Building, as is, can no longer accommodate the growth of WatersEdge, and remodeling the Baptist Building is cost prohibitive,” Fisher continued. “It was vitally important for the convention and affiliates to office together in the same building under the umbrella of Oklahoma Baptists, enhancing the unity we enjoy and appreciate. In short, this move will enable our state convention to invest more resources into churches and pastors instead of using those resources toward the upkeep of an aging building.”

During the Feb. 8 meeting, board members heard details of how the move to a new building owned and operated by WatersEdge will save the state convention a projected $500,000 annually. The savings will enable Oklahoma Baptists to continue its current ministries and commitment to expand its investment in churches and pastors.

Michael Butler, pastor of Chickasha, First who serves as Oklahoma Baptists president, called the move a good decision for stewardship and ministry.

“The opportunity for WatersEdge to bring its staff together in one centralized location presents a win-win scenario for Oklahoma Baptists,” Butler said. “This move addresses WatersEdge’s needs while also allowing Oklahoma Baptists to preserve our own operational needs without sacrificing our mission to serve and support churches through stewarding our shared resources toward advancing the Gospel.

“I have great confidence in Dr. Fisher and the staff of Oklahoma Baptists,” Butler continued. “They are working diligently to adjust operations that will make the most of our Cooperative Program dollars and grow our capacity to encourage and equip pastors and churches to fulfill God’s calling. I see God preparing the way for Oklahoma Baptists to maximize our partnership potential as we leverage our combined resources to reach Oklahoma and beyond with the Gospel.”

WatersEdge will begin the process of relocating to the new building location, with Oklahoma Baptists and the other affiliates making the move in coming months. The Baptist Building has been listed for sale.

For more information about the WatersEdge building, visit oklahomabaptists.org/watersedge.

The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 9 FEATURE


Where is the newly acquired building located?

The new WatersEdge building is located in Bricktown, near downtown Oklahoma City, across from the Bricktown Ballpark.

Who will own the newlyacquired building, and who will be renting space?

WatersEdge has purchased the office building and will enter into long-term lease agreements with Oklahoma Baptists, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children and Baptist Village Communities.

Why did WatersEdge purchase a building at this time?

The need to purchase a larger office space emerged as WatersEdge has experienced very strong growth in the last few years primarily through its Ministry Accounting Services program. This expanding program provides affordable accounting services to churches of every size.

What will happen to the current Baptist Building on North May in Oklahoma City?

The Baptist Building was constructed more than 40 years ago and has been the office space for state convention staff and three of its affiliates. The building has been listed for sale.

Did state convention leaders consider keeping the Baptist Building and renovating?

For more than a year, Oklahoma Baptists have consulted with construction companies and architects exploring every possibility of how we can reconfigure or remodel the Baptist Building to meet the growth needs of WatersEdge. However, every option for remodeling to accommodate the growing staff needs was extremely cost prohibitive.

Will all the affiliates make the move?

Yes. Leaders with Oklahoma Baptists and affiliates together have decided to make the move to the new location. Having Oklahoma Baptists office together with Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Baptist Village Communities, and WatersEdge helps to maintain the unity now experienced and appreciated.

When will WatersEdge move into the new building?

In is anticipated that soon WatersEdge will begin the process of relocating to the new office space. Oklahoma Baptists and its affiliates staff, who now office at the Baptist Building, will be relocating in coming months.

In this video to Oklahoma Baptists, Todd Fisher explains how the building move will save significant ministry dollars and enhance the ability of the state convention to invest in churches and ministry leaders.

Will this move put Oklahoma Baptists in a good financial position for the future?

Yes. The proceeds of the sale of the Baptist Building will be invested in such a way to offset the rent Oklahoma Baptists will pay to WatersEdge. When the Baptist Building can be sold, the plan to move to the new building will create a projected total savings of approximately $500,000 a year. No longer owning and operating a building will free up Oklahoma Baptists resources for ministries in the future.

If I visit the office space, where will I park?

There is ample parking for guests who are visiting the new WatersEdge office building. Prior to any meetings, guests can communicate directly with those ministries about the parking options.

Will Oklahoma Baptists still offer the same level of ministry services to churches?

Yes. This move will help Oklahoma Baptists better fulfill our strong commitment to be the very best stewards of the precious resources entrusted to the state convention. The ministries that churches and pastors count on will continue—including Falls Creek and CrossTimbers, Baptist Collegiate Ministries, Disaster Relief, conferences and retreats, and others. This move will make more resources available for missions and ministry opportunities right here in Oklahoma and around the world.

May 2024 10 FEATURE
Scan QR code to watch or visit oklahomabaptists.org/watersedge/


1924 - 1950

The state Baptist offices headquarters. The Messenger Book House was on the first floor; the second floor featured a meeting hall that seated 300 people; and the offices of the Convention were on the third floor.

On February 8, the board of directors for Oklahoma Baptists unanimously approved a plan for the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, now known as WatersEdge, to purchase an office building near downtown Oklahoma City.

1950 - 1990

On Thurs., June 29, 1950, Oklahoma Baptists formally dedicated their new, four-story Bedford limestone and granite headquarters. The building housed a new Baptist Book Store and the Baptist Messenger press and convention printing operations.

1990 - 2024

Allied Oklahoma Bank began construction on their $9 million, six-story building in Oklahoma City in December 1982. By 1990, the building was sold to Oklahoma Baptists for $3.5 million. A Baptist Building Corporation (BBC) was formed to execute the purchase, with lease payments distributed to Family Care Ministries.

To read more on this topic, go to oklahomabaptists.org/chronicle

The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 11 FEATURE
W. First St.
N. Robinson Ave.
N. May Ave.
300 Johnny Bench Drive


1 Queen of __, Solomon’s visitor

6 Diminishes 10 Traffic snarl

13 Lava product

15 Train station (Fr.)

16 They did this at the Last Supper 17 Broker’s account, maybe 18 Elation

19 “If the salt loses __ saltiness” (Matt. 5:13 niv)

20 Bible pronoun 22 Martha’s brother

24 What a woman brought to a judge in Luke 18:3 niv 26 Hurried

28 Sinai sight 29 Many 50 Downs in Jesus’ time

30 What Mary wiped with her hair 31 Smelled 32 __ Baba 33 Joppa, for one 34 Scratch 35 Limits

37 Jezebel “__ her face” (2 Kings 9:30)

41 Little bit 42 Swiss canton capital

43 Early Christianity, with “the” 44 Engine

47 Bethany, for one

48 50 down’s offering

49 How the women found Jesus’ tomb

50 Decrease

51 “The __ eat of the crumbs” (Matt. 15:27)

52 Satan to Jesus, for example 54 Baseball’s Nolan

56 Economic measure (Abbr.)


1 Caesarea to Bethany (dir.)

“The kingdom of heaven __ come near” (Matt. 10:7 niv)

Island greeting 6 “Ask an __, will he offer him a scorpion?” (Luke 11:12)

8 Martha’s kitchen creation

Online adieu

Jesus raised his daughter


Dirties, with “up”

23 “Women __ themselves in modest apparel” (1 Tim. 2:9) 24 Fiery serpent’s holder 25 Timothy’s grandma 27 Fluffy or Fido


31 Jesus raised widow’s son from the dead here

57 Eve’s hubby

59 “Evil...the sort of error that __ from a ruler” (Eccl. 10:5 niv)

63 Wing 64 Lots

65 Links together

66 Deli choice

67 Lush valley in Pakistan

68 Fuse ores

33 Partridge’s tree, in song

34 Martha’s sister

36 “He that is without sin...first cast a __ at her” (John 8:7) 37 Jesus healed his mother-in-law

Branch 39 “Whoever __ this bread will live forever” (John 6:51 niv) 40 Lydia’s business need


45 Jesus taught this way

46 Jerusalem center of worship

47 Yellow melon

48 Philosophical belief opposite of Pluralism

50 See 48 Across 51 Challenges

53 Droops

55 Thanksgiving vegetable

58 Colorado winter hour

60 “__ shall bring forth a son” (Matt. 1:21)

61 Conger

62 Former JFK lander (Abbr.)


Keyboard key
Trade 5
7 Dance
Double 21 Manual readers
29 Buddy 30

Church NEWS


Elk City, First celebrated its 125th Anniversary on April 28. Great Plains Association AMS/DOM Danny Ringer, third from left, presented certificates on behalf of the association and the Oklahoma Baptist Historical Commission. From left are D.J. Walter, children’s minister; Aaron Robertson, worship and discipleship pastor; Duncan Blackwell, pastor; Jeff Jackson, deacon chairman and Cory Spieker, student minister.


On April 14, Perry, First celebrated a note burning ceremony, after they paid off a $625,000 loan for the church’s Falls Creek cabin. The loan was originally taken out in 2010 and the cabin had its first occupants in 2012.

Photo: Participating in the note burning were, from left, Illa Moore, J. B. Vaughan, Pastor Kim Hays, Juana Hall, and Chuck Hall.


OBCC was honored to sing at the Heart of the Child Conference at Southwestern Seminary on April 6. The singing group performed at the general session and then led a worship time at a breakout session. OBCC also sang Sunday morning at Plano, Tex., Hunters Glen. One of the most requested songs is “The Lord Calling,” and the composer of that song is the music associate at the church and an Oklahoma Baptist, Michael Ware, who directed OBCC and the children of his church in singing the song.


Gina Darlene McKean (left), 60, died March 31. Known as Ms. Gina and Aunt Granny, she served at Oklahoma City, Portland Ave. for more than 40 years, serving as Director of Children’s Ministry for the last 30 years. She also was a founding member of Mission Ignition and served as the event’s coordinator since 2009. She was a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources and Mr. Mark’s Classroom, VBS director for Metro Baptist Association and Tract Leader at Worship Arts Camp. She was the recipient of the 2009 Darlene Koch Award for outstanding Oklahoma Children’s Minister and, in 2022, received the Willa Ruth Garlow Heart of the Child Scholarship award for veteran children’s ministers.

Pybas death: Doris Pybas, the widow of Garth Pybas, died April 11. Garth Pybas was pastor of Oklahoma City, Britton Road, and served on the SBC committee that wrote the 1963 Baptist Faith & Message. Pybas also served as associate pastor at Oklahoma City, Southern Hills from 1980-1988.


New Congregation: Watts, Ballard. Pastor, Vinnus Hilderbrand. P.O. Box 881, Kansas, OK 74378, (479) 220-7378.

The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 13


In Focus

Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church

Mannford, Oklahoma

How important is the impact that smaller-in-attendance churches are having for the Gospel?

Please describe your involvement in ministry, particularly bi-vocational/ multi-vocational (MVP) ministry.

My wife, Kerry, and I began our call to bi-vocational ministry at Fisher church (now “My Father’s House”) west of Sand Springs under two great pastors, Joe Traynham and Danny Lynchard for more than 13 years. Fisher blessed us with their strong desire to make disciples. We served in several different ministries, and it is where I was licensed and ordained as an associate pastor. We loved the fine people at Fisher and didn’t want to leave them, especially the youth ministry kids we dearly loved.

But God led us to start a Church Plant in a Bingo Hall on Feb. 26, 1995. In August 1996, New Hope bought a ballroom/dance hall. In 2007, New Hope bought land in a great location and began building our new church building in December 2019. We sold our ballroom building, and the Lord allowed me to pastor New Hope and the First Church of God Mannford until September 2021, when New Hope finally was no longer known as the Bingo or Ballroom Baptist. In 29 years at Mannford, New Hope, more than 400 have been saved and baptized. God led New Hope to make disciples, and develop pastors, deacons, worship leaders, Children and Youth Ministers and teachers. Some were sent out by God to other places, some stayed. As New Hope continues to grow in the Lord and in numbers, we rejoice and give God all the Glory

Acts 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” People in any size of church can make big impacts because they have the same big God. If a “Big God, Big Church” of 500 baptizes 40, develops 30 disciples, and sends out two new pastors into ministry and a “Big God, Little Church” of 50 baptizes five, develops four disciples, and sends out one new pastor into ministry, which one has been impactful? Both.

More than 1,000 smaller-in-attendance Oklahoma Southern Baptist Churches are impactfully bringing people to Jesus for salvation, making disciples that make disciples, developing pastors, worship leaders, youth ministers, children’s ministers, teachers, audio video techs, deacons, women’s and men’s ministry leaders. “Big God, Little Churches” have the same “Big God” to impactfully do whatever God has called them to do.

May 2024 14

What is your life verse, or verses that are speaking to you, lately?

1 Peter 3:18a “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…” Jesus sought me and bought me with His redeeming Blood. During more than 42 years of MVP ministry, I have never gotten over being saved. We are so blessed to be in the Family of God; my passion is to bring more to God.

You have served Oklahoma Baptists in a number of ways. How has the Lord brought this about and why is serving in Kingdom work so rewarding?

Serving the Lord alongside my family has encompassed many roles as a young adult minister, youth minister, associate pastor, and senior pastor. Serving as a chaplain and this year’s vice president of our Oklahoma State Convention, coordinating the Big God, Little Church Conferences and fulfilling my duties in my job has all been in service of His Kingdom. This work has truly been the greatest honor and privilege one could ever hope for. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” I know this is true!

Why is it important for your church to support the Cooperative Program (CP)?

It’s important to support the Cooperative Program if we want to invest in North American and International missions and ministries. Through the CP, we support missionaries, train pastors and church leaders, provide relief for retired ministers and widows, and foster evangelism efforts, children’s homes, volunteer missions, missions education, new churches, colleges, universities, collegiate ministries, and camps.

The CP has proved its effectiveness with over 5,380 missionaries reaching out to more than 1,400 different people groups worldwide. Along with the establishment of over 1,788 new churches by 5,204 North American Missionaries, coordinated through the North American Mission Board and individual state conventions.

Additionaly the Six Southern Baptist seminaries (Southern, Southeastern, Midwestern, Southwestern, Golden Gate, and New Orleans) educate more than 15,250 pastors, missionaries, and future church leaders each year. That’s why we, personally and our church, think it is important, an honor, and a privilege to support the Cooperative Program.

HOW CAN PRAY FOR you OklAHoma pastors

1. Pray for his family.

Ask God to help him love and lead his family well, making the most of his time when at home. Ask the Lord to give him the courage to put off the trivial matters of ministry, so he’s fully engaged as the husband and father God calls him to be.

Ephesians 5:25 and Psalm 127:3-5

2. Pray for his walk with God.

Pray that he will devote himself to prayer and Bible reading first and foremost before he begins his day of ministry and family time.

Philippians 4:6 and Psalm 119:9

3. Pray for his schedule.

Pastors prepare engaging sermons, have people to visit in hospitals, worry home-bound members will fall through the cracks, and are attempting to follow up with visitors. Pray that God will help him manage his schedule well to spend time with his family and lead his church family.

Ephesians 5:15-17 and Psalm 90:12

4. Pray for his sermon preparation & delivery

Pray that God gives him focus and perseverance in sermon prep, as well as clarity and wisdom as he aims to rightly handle the Word of God. Pray God will fill him with passion and conviction as he declares the Good News to encourage the saints and lead the lost to love and follow Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:15, Psalm 119:18, Hebrews 4:12, & Mark 16:15


The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 15

Blessed by churches

For 33 years, I have served in Oklahoma Baptist churches.

The last four years have taught me much more about churches across Oklahoma.

I have always appreciated the associations with which my church was affiliated. There are 39 associations of churches in Oklahoma. I am honored to work with seven of them.

In the Northwest region of Oklahoma, there are seven associations. Let me brag about each of them.

The Panhandle Association of more than 20 churches consists of all three counties in the Panhandle. This faithful, consistent group of churches calls the rest of us “downstaters.”

They love their area, their towns, and they love the Gospel. They unapologetically keep the main thing of winning people to Christ the priority. You will not hear many complaints from these people as their churches press on with the Gospel.

Metro Baptist Network in the Oklahoma City area has more than 150 churches. They have more than 130 languages in the area. From downtown, which has several thriving churches, to large churches in the suburbs, they are diverse in methodology, but have the priority of sharing the Gospel. The population of towns such as Luther, Arcadia, Jones and Piedmont are swelling with more people needing the Gospel.

Central Association has more than 30 churches. Most of these churches are long-term churches. These churches prioritize the Gospel, going around the world as well as in their own towns. God’s Word is prioritized. Ministering to youth and children is prioritized. Their pastors ask questions that help you arrive at the right biblical conclusions. They love helping their fellow churches.

Salt Fork Association is the smallest association with eight churches. Yet, they work together to assist many ministries and the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM). They strongly believe in camps and associational involvement, and their affiliated churches care for each other in a healthy way.

Kay Association in North central Oklahoma has 20 churches. With many new pastors serving in their association, there is a new, fresh breeze of eagerness. There are diverse churches here and a vital BCM in Tonkawa.

Cherokee Strip Association is focused on new church starts and mission emphasis is prioritized. With many new, young pastors in almost 35 churches supporting the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) BCM, both long-term churches and new churches are seeing steady growth. There are many one-Baptist-church towns in this area, and most of them are taking seriously the responsibility to share the Gospel.

Finally, churches in Northwest Association in the Woodward area are known as churches that support each other. Healthy pastoral meetings on Tuesdays bring up ways to tangibly help other churches. Their camp is healthy and making a difference, and churches from large to small prioritize caring for each other.

These seven associations, joining with 32 more, contain 1,700 affiliate churches and, together, we are OKLAHOMA BAPTISTS.


Join us throughout the year in praying for our missionaries, serving locally and around the world!


Who & Where Why How to Pray

Frank and Alice Maxon serve with the International Mission Board in South Asia. Their ministry focuses on reaching and discipling those who are currently in or have recently left Islam. They do this by partnering with local churches to equip local believers. Presently, they are deep in language learning. Each time they learn a new phrase that can be used to encourage a believer or reach out to the brokenhearted, it’s a win.

Pray for Oklahoma Baptists serving with the International Mission Board as they work to bring the gospel to people of the Asian-Pacific Rim. Of the population of 2.3 billion people, 95% are living in spiritual darkness. But because of the hard work of missionaries, thousands are hearing the gospel and accepting Christ and new churches are being planted.

Pray Frank and Alice would learn their new language quickly.

Pray they would abide well and rest in the peace of the Father.

Pray they would be able to reach out and effectively share the Gospel with those around them.

Pray the advancement of the kingdom of God would continue in the Asian-Pacific Rim.

Pray the Lord will send more laborers into the harvest.

Pray lives will be radically transformed by the Gospel.

Pray for Sarah Hagar as she encourages and equips children’s ministers and leaders to enable them to serve kids and families in their communities well. Sarah directs the programming of CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp. Her hope and prayer is that kids who attend camp will discover who God is, that He has a plan for their lives, and that He is at work around the world.

Todd Sanders serves Oklahoma Baptists as the Falls Creek Program Director and Youth Ministry Partner. As such, he leads the programming for Falls Creek youth camp weeks and serves to help Oklahoma Baptists intentionally advance the Gospel among youth and to make disciple makers. He finds it exciting to help leaders deveop and grow and to see God change lives.

Pray for the planning, recruitment, and staff training for CrossTimbers.

Pray that kids who come to camp will hear, understand, and respond to the Gospel.

Pray God will give Sarah wisdom and guidance to encourage and equip children’s ministry leaders.

Pray for the health and spiritual growth of Todd, his wife, Angela, their two adult children and their grandchild.

Pray God would give Todd clarity, creativity, and wisdom in the work.

Pray also that God would provide endurance in faith, life, and ministry.

The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 17 MISSIONARY PRAYER GUIDE
Frank and Alice Maxon Sarah Hagar Asian Pacific Peoples Todd Sanders
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who are you?

I’m often asked, “Who are you”? That’s an interesting question that is best answered within the context of the question. Sometimes I’m simply Cindy’s husband or one of my children’s father.

Other times, I may need to state my job title or explain what role I’m filling at that moment. These kinds of answers tell what I do, but they don’t really tell who I am. Another way of answering this question is to tell something that I’ve done. I’ve been a pastor in Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and South Carolina or I ran the Memorial half marathon and the Route 66 marathon.

These tell what I’ve done, but not who I am. Who I am is not based on what I do or what I’ve done. Who I am, my true identity, is found in my relationship with the God Who created me. I’m either a sinner in need of a savior or a sinner who has been redeemed by a Savior.

Identity theft is a great problem today. We must be proactive to keep our identity safe. We go to great extremes to protect our identity in the physical world. We hide passwords or use encryptions to avoid being a victim of identity theft. However, in our spiritual life many have simply given way to the wicked


adversary who has robbed us of our true identity. Some have failed to put up safeguards in their lives that would prevent this robber from infecting them with the virus of their own lusts and or desires. This robber has stolen their intended identity that is found only through a relationship with the creator, Jesus.

So, who am I? I’m God’s creation, I’m a sinner who has been redeemed by Jesus, I’m a disciple, I’m a witness, I’m an ambassador, I’m a steward, I’m a servant, I’m a Christian, and I’m a (whatever other descriptive word the scripture uses to identify me as a follower of Christ).

The question that remains for you is, who are you? Are you still a victim of the robber who steals our true identity, or are you one that wants to recover your identity. If you are, I have some good news. You were created to have a relationship with God. His love for you is so great that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. So if you believe this, turn from your sin, and ask Jesus to redeem you. Then your true identity will be restored.

The Baptist Messenger | baptistmessenger.com 19 TOOL BOX

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