Okla. Baptists elect 1st woman to post of 2nd vice president

DEL CITY, Okla. (BP)--Oklahoma Baptists made history when messengers to the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma elected a woman to one of its three top offices.

Marty Odom, a member of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, was elected second vice president without opposition. She joins officers Bob Green, pastor of Arrow Heights Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, who was elected president, and Kelly Payne, pastor of Timothy Baptist Church in Muskogee, elected first vice president, also without opposition.

Green, nominated by Tom Elliff, pastor of the host church, First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, defeated Buddy Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Perry and previously the first vice president, in a run-off election by 55 votes -- 320-265. Also nominated for the presidency was Walter Mullican, pastor of Portland Avenue Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

In other business at the Nov. 15-16 meeting, the messengers -- totaling 967 -- approved nine resolutions without discussion, adopted a $22,250,000 budget for 2005, signed a partnership agreement with Illinois and referred a motion to the executive board to change the constitution to allow mission churches a messenger to the annual state convention.

Messengers also heard challenges on the Falls Creek "For the Sake of the Call" campaign; the Oklahoma "Everyone Can" Kingdom Challenge; reports from BGCO entities; and messages from Anthony Jordan, BGCO executive director-treasurer, Wade Burleson, BGCO president, and Elliff, who preached the annual sermon.

Resolutions included support of the U.S. military, support of those in authority, the Federal Marriage Amendment, spiritual awakening, sharing the Good News of Jesus through a renewal of evangelism and missions, commending those who worked in the campaign to defeat gambling, expressing opposition to abortion and embryonic stem cell research and encouraging tithing and gifts to the Cooperative Program.

The $22 million budget is a slight increase over the current year and will be distributed with 60 percent going to the BGCO and 40 percent to the SBC after 1 percent is taken for stewardship/Cooperative Program promotion.

The partnership with Illinois will focus on Chicago and will be for three years with an option to add two more years. That gives Oklahoma partnerships with two regions in Mexico, Guanajuato and Guerrero, as well as with Arizona and Rome. BGCO Partnership Specialist Rue Scott announced a vision trip to Turkey in April, with a possible partnership with that country.

Jordan reported that $1.5 million has been spent on roads, bridges and parking areas at Falls Creek, and Oklahoma Baptists now have $18.4 million in gifts and pledges committed toward their goal of building the new Tabernacle.

"Despite rumors to the contrary, no Cooperative Program funds have been used for building at Falls Creek," Jordan said. "But if we ever decide to use CP funds, I don't think it would be some tragic thing, for we would be hard-pressed to find any place in the world where God is at work more than at Falls Creek. There is no place on this earth where more missionaries have been called to service than Falls Creek. That's why I'm putting my life into this campaign."

In the annual sermon, Elliff, preaching from Hosea 10:12, said it is time to seek the Lord until He comes.

"We can experience revival in our hearts and in our homes," Elliff said, "but to do so, there is a condition to be feared, a command to be followed and a choice to be faced."

The condition to be feared is that "your heart would become like fallow ground," he said.

He pointed out evidences of this would be that your heart has become hard and is no longer stirred spiritually, that your heart is impervious to the Word of God, that your once fruitful life has become barren, that you are now more noted for your resistance to the things of God than for your eagerness, that a major work of God will be required if you are to be useful again, that apart from this work, your greatest days of service and usefulness are over, that this message itself will scarcely reach your heart.

"What the reprobate heart is to the unbelieving, the heart like fallow ground is to the believer ... one step away from the judgment of God," he said.

To break up the fallow ground, he said everything in your heart must be exposed to the light of God's Word and Spirit, including the sins of omission and the sins of commission.

"Many pastors no longer thunder out against the sins of unrighteousness, because sitting in the audience are family members who know their secret sins," he said. "If you refuse to break up the fallow ground of your heart, your walk with God can only get worse, never better."

Elliff concluded that a person can choose to go on as he is and become increasingly cold, hard and useless, or he can break up the fallow ground of his heart.

He urged the members of the congregation to get alone and make a sin list, asking God to reveal specifics.

"Then destroy the list," he suggested. "The issue is not salvation, but revival. He is faithful and just to forgive sins.

"The single issue around which everything revolves is revival, awakening. God says it's time to break up fallow ground in your heart. That's where revival starts. If you choose not to break up the fallow ground of your heart, it could very well be your final choice in regard to the possibility of genuine revival."

The two-day state convention closed with an International Mission Board commissioning service, which will send 68 missionaries around the world to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The 100th annual session of the BGCO will be Nov. 14-15, 2005 at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond.


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