$21.6M tithe propels church to record Cooperative Program gift
OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) -- Quail Springs Baptist Church already had given nearly $1 million through the Cooperative Program for the year. When the Oklahoma City church, which forwards 13.5 percent of its offerings to the Cooperative Program each year, received a historic $21.6 million tithe at year's end, it propelled the church to unprecedented levels of giving.
"Frankly, it is a bit overwhelming," pastor Hance Dilbeck said of the tithe to Quail Springs.
"The church members [an unnamed husband and wife] who gave this did so as a matter of principle," Dilbeck noted.
"They tithed on a large increase just as they have in the past on a smaller scale. Quail Springs followed the same pattern. God has blessed us as we have given 13.5 percent [of offerings] through the CP. This has been our pattern through multiple building campaigns and a rapidly growing budget. We believe it would be a mistake to change our pattern of giving now," Dilbeck said.
Of the total contribution, Quail Springs sent $2.916 million through the CP, making its annual total more than $3.8 million. Of the $2.916 million CP contribution, 50 percent was sent to the Southern Baptist Convention for national and international missions and ministries.
Through the SBC, Quail Springs' tithe will include more than $725,000 for the International Mission Board, more than $330,000 for the North American Mission Board and approximately $320,000 to be shared by the six SBC seminaries. In addition, $162,000 from the tithe was sent by Quail Springs to the Capital Baptist Association in the Oklahoma City area.
In Oklahoma, nearly $1.5 million will be directed by Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony L. Jordan and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma board of directors to boost ministries like Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, with its evangelistic camps attended by thousands of youth each year; BGCO partnership missions; and the convention's various affiliates.
"The Lord is amazing," Jordan said. "The CP process, which is based on biblical principles, shines through.
"This is an instance where someone is hugely blessed by God. They are faithful to tithe, the church is faithful to give through the CP, and the state and national conventions wisely steward the monies. A rising tide lifts all boats, and we will ensure each penny is invested in Kingdom work," Jordan said.
"I commend not only these generous givers," Jordan added, "but also Pastor Dilbeck for his faithful leadership and stewardship."
The contribution propels Quail Springs, already a national leader and the state's leader in total CP giving, to all-time record giver, according to research from the Executive Office of the SBC.
"From everything we can tell, this appears to be a record-setting gift of a local church in a single year through the Cooperative Program," said Frank Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee. "We thank the Lord for this gift -- and for every gift -- that enables the convention to further its Kingdom work of reaching people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Dilbeck announced the momentous gift to the church congregation at a church business meeting Jan. 27 and called on members to pray about how God would lead them to use the funds.
"God is faithful," Dilbeck said. "He has provided for His church through the stewardship of faithful church members. Now we as a congregation will work to be faithful stewards." To quote Haggai, 'The silver and the gold are mine says the LORD.'"
Quail Springs, which offers four Sunday morning worship services with multiple styles of music, was founded in 1950 as Nichols Hills Baptist Church. The congregation moved to its present location on North May Avenue in 1982. Quail Springs has had four senior pastors in its history: Rupert Naney, Charles Graves, Brian Waite and Dilbeck.
"The church maintains an active role in the Oklahoma City metro area, as well as missions activities throughout the world," Jordan said. "Whether through helping public schools with tutors to its active food pantry ministry, Quail Springs has a heart for reaching the world at its door. The church's ministry staff has proven their commitment to taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth."
Dilbeck, who holds master's and doctoral degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has been Quail Springs' pastor since 2003. The church's budget at that time was $1.5 million, and average Sunday School attendance has more than doubled since then.
"Our faithful people have been giving sacrificially through back-to-back-to-back campaigns in order to provide facilities to reach our growing community," Dilbeck said. "This major gift allows us to move forward with our plan to gather people together, build them up and send them out with the Good News of Jesus."
Prior to his time at Quail Springs, Dilbeck served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Ponca City, Okla. A native of Pawhuska, Okla., he has been the featured preacher for Falls Creek Youth Camp, chairman of the Oklahoma Baptist University's board of trustees (2001) and currently is a Southwestern Seminary trustee.
"I have been privileged to serve in various capacities of SBC and BGCO life, and I cherish the role Southern Baptists play in the Kingdom of God," Dilbeck said. "This is a key moment in the life of our church. We hope this historic, beyond generous gift will lead to even more unity and maturity as we seek the Lord's will as to how to invest every dollar in Kingdom work."
Brian Hobbs is editor of The Baptist Messenger (www.baptistmessenger.conm), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.