Coronavirus Response

Thank you for visiting Oklahoma Baptists’ COVID-19 (Coronavirus) resources page. We will be posting links and information that pastors and churches may find helpful, as together we pray for the Lord’s help.

New Featured Resources

Guides for Reopening Your Childhood Ministry

In our churches, we are making plans to resume children’s ministries and other functions. Use these resources and your city’s guidelines to re-open your childhood ministry in the best way possible!

Summer Camps

Leaders with Oklahoma Baptists announced that Falls Creek Youth Camp and CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp will not hold any camp sessions during the summer of 2020, due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Messenger Insight 374 - An Interview with IMB President

Hear Oklahoma Baptists’ Hance Dilbeck talk to International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood about his background, as well as an important update on the status of IMB missions work amid COVID-19.

Reopening Our Churches

A pressing question on the minds of pastors and church leaders today is related to the reopening of church buildings for worship. The following resource contains the state guidance for reopening and a number of ideas for consideration that have been compiled by Oklahoma Baptists’ Church Resources and Church Relations groups.

Caring for Children: A new ministry opportunity for Oklahoma Baptist churches amid COVID-19

With the announcement of schools moving to distance learning and an increased number of daycares closing, the Oklahoma Human Services Director Justin Brown is asking the faith community to open their doors to care for children of first responders and health care workers.

Important CARES Act Information for Churches

In response to the financial crisis created by the COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) pandemic, the United
States Congress recently passed two laws aimed to provide relief. Both laws were signed by PresidentTrump; one of which is the “CARES Act” that others potential payroll financial relief to churches who
wish to pursue it.

Lankford addresses issues related to CARES Act

The office of Senator James Lankford (R-OK) has launched a webpage that is compiled with information for Oklahoma workers, businesses, students and parents.

Ministry Partners Encourage

Watch videos of Oklahoma Baptists Ministry Partners sharing words of encouragement.

Take the 21 Day Challenge

The 21 Day Challenge will help you grow in your personal relationship with Christ as we focus on a specific spiritual habit every day.

Online Giving for Oklahoma Baptist Churches

Online Giving from The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma is a simple, fast and very affordable online giving solution. It provides your church with the ability to receive online donations given by credit card, debit card or e-check (electronic check).

Events

Summer Camps

Leaders with Oklahoma Baptists announced that Falls Creek Youth Camp and CrossTimbers Children’s Mission Adventure Camp will not hold any camp sessions during the summer of 2020, due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cancelled Events

Church Weekday Education Conference - Dates for 2021 will be announced soon.

All GoStudents and BCM mission trips for 2020 have been cancelled until further notice. Fall and winter trips are a possibility, but not certain at this time.

Postponed Events

Worship Leadership Summit

New date TBA

New Pastor/Staff Orientation

Now September 21

Cooperative Program Summit

New date TBA

GoStudents Training Retreat

New date TBA

National African American Conference

Now October 26-28

Resources

Updates from Hance Dilbeck

Oklahoma Baptists Executive Director-Treasurer

April 7, 2020

Dear Pastor,

As Easter Sunday nears, I am writing to you about some important matters. Even though we are in a challenging season of the Coronavirus, I have been encouraged by the ways you have served and led.

Your Oklahoma Baptists convention ministry partners have prayed for you daily, and we want to be a continued resource to you, as the unprecedented events surrounding the COVID-19 unfold. Here are a few of the resources and opportunities that I see before us:

  • Easter Outreach. I believe God wants us to embrace this time of brokenness as opportunity for the Gospel. While we may not be able to meet in person as churches on Sunday, we can still preach Christ crucified and risen from the dead. Visit our web page today at www.OklahomaBaptists.org/Easter2020 to find new resources that you and your church members can use this Easter.
  • Ministry Helps. From articles to podcasts to helpful links, we have sought to publish information daily at our “Coronavirus Response” landing page to help you in this season of ministry. From advice about livestreaming services, to how to take advantage of payroll funding relief under the CARES Act, we will feature practical ministry helps.
  • Encouragement. Our Oklahoma Baptists Church Relations Group have sought to make personal contact with the pastors across this state. If we can be a better resource to you, please contact James Swain (jswain@oklahomabaptists.org) or your regional ministry partner today.
  • Online Giving. The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma has introduced an online giving option that provides your church with the ability to receive online donations given by credit card, debit card or e-check (electronic check). Find out more at www.bfok.org.
  • Event Cancellations. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the ability to hold events, with nearly all of our spring events in Oklahoma cancelled, as was the SBC Annual Meeting. Visit www.OklahomaBaptists.org for the latest event information.
  • Falls Creek Camp Status Pending. Falls Creek and CrossTimbers hope to move ahead as normal this summer. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and make decisions by May 1. Until that time, please proceed with your camp preparations, but try to avoid making financial commitments. Please pray for wisdom and unity in this important decision.
  • Prayer Focus. In the Kingdom of God, opportunity and challenge often come together. People are more aware of how fragile and uncertain life is. I would encourage us to dive even deeper into His Word and prayer. Let’s continue to lead our church members toward prayerful dependence on Him.

As your convention ministry partners, we are seeking to be good stewards of every ministry dollar and every day God gives us. I thank the Lord for you and for other pastors across this state. With God’s help, I believe we will see the Gospel advance in this season of great need… this Easter and beyond.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Hance Dilbeck
Executive Director-Treasurer
Oklahoma Baptists

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.” Philippians 1:3-4

March 17, 2020

Greetings. I want you to know that your ministry leaders with Oklahoma Baptists’ convention continue to follow closely the developments surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). I have been greatly encouraged to see pastors and churches across the state step up to serve their communities in need, as well as continue to worship the Lord as a church body, whether in person or online.

We will be a continued help for you in these challenging times, as you serve, lead and minister. To that end, we have established this ministry resource page for churches, to better assist the ongoing work: OklahomaBaptists.org/Coronavirus.

We have been connecting with many of you, to come alongside you in this time. As a convention staff, many of our employees are working remotely, and we have ceased all staff travel out of state.

Further, we have cancelled or postponed a number of events, including most recently cancelling the Women’s and Men’s Retreats that were set for next month. For a complete listing of event cancellations, as well as a timetable for decision on pending events, please continue to monitor our Coronavirus Response web page and our news page at the Baptist Messenger, in the days ahead.

At these links, we will continue to highlight the great ways our pastors and churches are responding to this. We will offer practical helps in key areas of service, communications, online giving, holding church services through technology and more. We likewise urge you to stay connected with the latest information provided by various federal, state and local health care authorities.

In the Kingdom of God, opportunity and challenge often come together. We are in a challenging season with the Coronavirus. But we have an opportunity as well, because people are more aware of how fragile and uncertain life is. I thank God we have faithful pastors and churches in every corner of this state. With God’s help, we advance the Gospel together in this season of great need.

With prayers and gratitude for you,

Hance Dilbeck
Executive Director-Treasurer
Oklahoma Baptists

March 16, 2020
Video: Coronavirus and Churches: A message from Hance Dilbeck

March 12, 2020
Dear Pastors,

Earlier this week, we sent an email to all the pastors in the state with some preliminary information about the Coronavirus. Since that time, much has developed around this issue.

With schools, universities, and even seminaries closing, along with reports of one state governor even asking churches not to meet, we decided to send you the latest information we have at our disposal. With Sunday coming and many people with questions, we want to highlight some information:

The CDC is an immediate and official source of information about this and related medical issues. Their website is https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

Another source that offers practical, church-centered information can be found in Facts and Trends, a magazine from LifeWay. The article, “Free Coronavirus Response Training and Resources Available for Churches,” can be found at https://factsandtrends.net/2020/03/11/free-coronavirus-response-training-and-resources-available-for-churches/.

Todd Gray, executive director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, recently addressed this issue. He offered the following simple but important advice:

“If I was pastoring a church today, I would do the following to shepherd the flock as it relates to Sunday services and the current state of the coronavirus:

  1. I would ask those who are sick to please stay home, which is good for them and good for the congregation.
  2. I would encourage those who are concerned to also feel free to stay at home.
  3. If our church did not offer live streaming of our services, I would enlist the help of those with technical skills to help us make that service available to our church members and others.
  4. I would see to it that we have plenty of hand sanitizer on hand and that our facility was thoroughly cleansed and sanitized.
  5. I would urge the church members to avoid shaking hands and hugs, though many of them would forgo that advice.

Having done all that, I would continue to monitor the situation, consult with my leadership, pray for wisdom, and prepare to spread the gospel to those in attendance at the upcoming service.“

As far as the third point on this list is concerned, Randy Lind, who serves Oklahoma Baptists, is putting together a webinar that will help churches livestream their services. This will be made available to all who want to access it.

Finally, there have been questions about Oklahoma Baptists’ upcoming events, retreats, and camps. We have compiled the following list to help with that. It is not inclusive, but perhaps it will be helpful:

  • The Native American Evangelism Conference for this weekend (March 14-15) will be held as planned.
  • A decision will be made by Monday afternoon concerning the Native American Evangelism Conference scheduled for March 28.
  • The National African American Conference has been postponed until October 26-28.
  • The CP Summit scheduled for March 26 has been postponed until October (date to be determined).
  • The “Ask Anything” events with Dr. Albert Mohler (April 1 and 2) and pastors’ luncheon (April 2) have been cancelled.
  • The Collegiate Spring Retreat at Falls Creek has been cancelled.
  • All BCM Spring Break trips have been cancelled, with the exception of the RCC/OSU-OKC trip to New Orleans.
  • Women’s Retreat * – A decision will be made before April 1.
  • Men’s Retreat* – A decision will be made before April 1.
  • GoStudent trips are on hold pending information from the IMB. The East Asia trip has been cancelled.
  • A meeting with conference and camp leadership will be held Monday afternoon to develop an appropriate decision-making timeline for our summer programs.

* If those retreats are cancelled, we will work on reimbursing registration fees.

We have added a page to our website that we will use to keep you updated on this issue. It will have information about upcoming events as well as links to helpful resources. The link to that page is www.oklahomabaptists.org/coronavirus-response.

This situation is still a very fluid and, in some ways, unprecedented. We have been working diligently to protect and inform our staff. We stand ready to assist you and your church through these challenging days and beyond.

Your Partner in the Gospel,

Dr. D. Hance Dilbeck, Jr.
Executive Director-Treasurer
Oklahoma Baptists

March 11, 2020

Dear Oklahoma Baptists,

Like so many other organizations around the state and country, Oklahoma Baptists are closely monitoring news and information about the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

We want to highlight some resources (please see above) that are pertinent to churches, as we all take precautions against any potential risks. At our convention-held properties, we are taking increased steps toward clean and sanitary facilities. While now is no time to panic, this situation does call for prayer and the best precautions possible.

I also want to make sure you have seen the news that “the International Mission Board’s coronavirus task force and senior leadership recommend that mission volunteers from U.S. churches postpone international mission-trip travel through April 30. This date could be extended and will be reevaluated by April 15.” Read more here.

We will be praying with you, including those who may have illness issues or are vulnerable in other ways. I am so personally grateful for each one of you, as we advance the Gospel together in Oklahoma and to the nations.

Sincerely in Christ,

Hance Dilbeck
Executive Director-Treasurer
Oklahoma Baptists

Church Updates

Churches from around the state have shared their communication strategies as a resource for other Oklahoma Baptists.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…”

Psalm 46:1