WRAP-UP: BGCO passes ministry resolution

MOORE, Okla. (BP)--Messengers to the 101st annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma focused on prayer for spiritual renewal, passed a resolution on non-discriminating ministry to illegal immigrants and adopted a record budget of $24.6 million.

With the theme "Finishing the Task," each session of the Nov. 12-13 meeting began with prayer for spiritual awakening.

Convening at First Baptist Church of Moore, Okla., the 874 messengers adopted 11 resolutions, including one titled "On Ministry to All People" on "taking the message and love of Christ to people of all races and nationalities throughout Oklahoma and the world."

"While we as Christians are under biblical mandate to respect the divine institution of government and its laws, let it be known that House Bill 1804 related to illegal immigration will not change our ministry to any people," the resolution continued, referencing a bill currently before the state legislature.

"We will continue to work with all of our churches and missions to accomplish this task [of ministry]," the BGCO resolution continued. "While we do not intentionally harbor or employ illegal immigrants in our work, neither do we screen or profile individuals before we minister to them in the name of Jesus."

Other adopted resolutions:

-- opposed "any hate crimes legislation that potentially criminalizes speech and beliefs, which would threaten our First Amendment rights."

-- expressed appreciation to Oklahoma U.S. Reps. Dan Boren, Tom Cole, Mary Fallin, Frank Lucas and John Sullivan for voting against such hate crimes legislation.

-- opposed the sale of alcohol in Oklahoma grocery and convenience stores.

-- supported the sanctity of human life.

-- encouraged Oklahoma Baptists to apply biblical values when voting.

-- affirmed the conservative resurgence of the SBC which "returned us to our historic roots of commitment to the Bible as the infallible and inerrant Word of God," and said it is "incumbent upon us to focus our energies and resources toward a 'Great Commission Resurgence' in accordance with Matthew 28:19-20."

-- called for "sustained prayer, genuine repentance and evangelistic passion."

The latter resolution reflected the spirit of the annual meeting in which the need for prayer and evangelism resonated throughout each session. Led by the convention's prayer and spiritual awakening specialist, Greg Frizzell, the final session was devoted entirely to prayer. As the meeting drew to a close, a crowd estimated at nearly 1,000 gathered for a "Night of Praise and Prayer for Spiritual Awakening." The solemn assembly featured focused prayers of praise and worship, thanksgiving for special blessings, corporate confession and repentance, intercession for BGCO ministries, churches and pastors, revival and spiritual awakening and a worship and covenant prayer of agreement.

Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan's address to the convention launched the focus on prayer: "We've lost what it takes to pray for the souls of lost men, women, boys and girls," Jordan said. "Our God longs to see people saved. Our job is to passionately pray. We have a work to do -- just pray, that's all -- just pray."

While Jordan praised God for the work He has done through Oklahoma Baptists, whom he called "amazingly unified," he said, "Oklahoma, on our watch, is more lost than it has ever been."

Referring to Frizzell's latest book, "Iceberg Dead Ahead! The Urgency of God-Seeking Repentance," which points to the "iceberg" of "sin's cumulative consequences and God's righteous judgment" on the figurative horizon, Jordan asked, "What are we to do?"

Jordan said Oklahoma Baptists' job is to pray passionately: "With the iceberg dead ahead, with the darkness surrounding us, what are we to do? I believe it is one single thought or word -- we just must pray.

"It isn't a cop-out or an attempt to walk away from or ignore our responsibility; it is simply saying in the end, when we have done everything we know to do, when we have poured our lives out and have sought to do the very best we can, ultimately, it comes back to this: If God does not put His hand upon us, if God does not cleanse us and forgive us -- if God does not show up -- the darkness will continue to surround us.

"We don't need perfunctory prayers in church," Jordan said. "What we need is prayer that brings us before a holy God and recognizes that we're not in the presence of the 'Big Daddy'; we're in the presence of Holy God of heaven. And when we get in His presence, we come to bow down low before Him and confess our sins and cry out to Him. [We must] understand that the church will not move forward without moving forward on our knees!"

Jordan said he sees only one result when Oklahoma Baptists humble themselves and confess their sins to God with pure hearts.

"I see a Holy God moving in this place, changing culture, where gambling and drinking and abortion and all of those things are so much darkness in our land. I see God shining the light of His holy power with glory coming down in a place called Oklahoma and doing a work that we cannot lay at the feet of any human being or any individual.... We just have to declare, 'Holy God of heaven, You showed up, you answered us.' That's what I see.... We just have one thing to do: We'd better pray."

Kelly King, women's missions and ministries specialist for the BGCO, prayed for the lost family living next door to her and for an unsaved relative. She urged each messenger to pray specifically for at least two people they know who need Jesus.

In other business, messengers adopted a record-setting budget for 2008, up $1.1 million from last year's budget, anticipating $24.6 million in Cooperative Program gifts from the convention's churches and missions. The BGCO will continue to utilize 60 percent of the budget for state CP ministries, with the remaining 40 percent marked for SBC national and international missions and ministries.

Messengers re-elected Alton Fannin, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ardmore, to a second one-year term as president by a 292-208 vote over Ernie Perkins, a retired director of missions. Doug Passmore, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lawton, was elected as first vice president, along with Aaron Summers, pastor of First Baptist Church in Perry, as second vice president and Pat Wagstaff, member of First Baptist Church in Maysville as recording secretary.

In a miscellaneous business session, Bruce Mason, director of missions in Craig-Mayes Baptist Association and an adviser to Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children board of trustees, made a motion that the annual Mother's Day Offering be taken only for OBHC. The past few years, the offering has been divided between OBHC and Baptist Village Retirement Communities. Messengers voted to refer the motion to the BGCO executive board for consideration.

Next year's meeting will be Nov. 10-11 at the Church at BattleCreek in Broken Arrow.


Adapted from a report by the staff of the Baptist Messenger, newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

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