Coronavirus Response

Page Last Updated: March 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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

7 Keys to a strong offering time during an online service

At first it was unsettling as we walked through the reaction stage two weeks ago. Pastor after pastor was going live and communicating a brand new plan as changes were being forced upon us in uncontrollable ways.

COVID Pandemic Phase III Stimulus Package makes churches eligible for relief.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Phase III Stimulus Package signed into law today by President Trump will provide potential relief for churches and pastors, thanks to efforts by the Church Alliance, a national coalition of large and historic church benefit boards, including GuideStone®, and Southern Baptist partners to ensure churches and pastors have the same options as small businesses and self-employed individuals attempting to financially weather the economic turmoil wrought by COVID-19.

Ministry Partners Encourage

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

IMB postpones volunteer trips through June 30, personnel ‘shelter in place’

International Mission Board senior leaders have directed IMB missionary personnel around the world to postpone hosting any ministry volunteer groups through June 30, leaders announced Wednesday, March 25. The directive will be reassessed on May 1, leaders reported.

2020 SBC Annual Meeting cancelled

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)—In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting has been canceled for the first time in 75 years.

Citing authority provided by the SBC Constitution “in the case of grave emergency,” the decision was made Tuesday, March 24, in a unanimous vote of a body composed of SBC officers, the SBC Executive Committee and leaders of the SBC’s boards and institutions.

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).

Cancelled Events

March 20: Forklift/Skidsteer Training

March 26: Community 94

March 27-28: Literacy Missions Workshop

March 27-28: Critical Incident Stress Management Training

March 31-April 2: Falls Creek Pre-Camp Gatherings

March 29: SCM at BCMC

April 1-2: Ask Anything Tour - OU & OSU Campuses

April 3-5: Collegiate Falls Creek Spring Retreat

April 4: Disaster Relief Training

April 6: Potential & New DOM Training

April 17-18: Women's Retreat

Cancelled Events

April 21: Chaplain Refresher Training

April 24-25: Rewired Men's Conference
May 2: Oklahoma State Bible Drill

June 9 - 10: SBC Annual Meeting

June 20 - July 1: GoStudents - East Asia Trip

Due to the recent and ever-changing challenges of COVID-19 or coronavirus, Oklahoma Baptists have decided it is in the best interest of everyone involved to cancel the upcoming retreats scheduled for April 17-18 (Women’s Retreat) and April 24-25 (Men’s Rewired). Registration fees will be refunded. Our team is actively working to issue each registrant a refund in a timely manner. This may take some time due to the volume of registrants. Unfortunately, we will not be able to host a live feed for these events.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience but would like to prioritize the health of all Oklahoma Baptists.

Postponed Events

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

Summer Camps

Falls Creek Youth Camp and Crosstimbers planning is moving ahead as normal. Our intention is to have camp. We will continue to closely monitor and make further decisions May 1, 2020.

Events Now Online

OKYM Network Meeting - April 9

More information coming soon.

Messenger Insight 367 – Guidance for Pastors concerning Church Finances

This episode is part 4 of 4 in the Coronavirus and the Church podcast series. In this series, hear Oklahoma Baptist leaders and pastors share practical insight for churches amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Messenger Insight 366 – Advice on Shepherding the Flock in this Season of Uncertainty

This episode is part 3 of 4 in the Coronavirus and the Church podcast series. In this series, hear Oklahoma Baptist leaders and pastors share practical insight for churches amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Messenger Insight 365 – Preaching to an Empty Room

This episode is part 2 of 4 in the Coronavirus and the Church podcast series. In this series, hear Oklahoma Baptist leaders and pastors share practical insight for churches amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Messenger Insight 364 – Q&A with Sen. James Lankford

Hear Sen. Lankford talk about important issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Messenger Insight 363 – Elements of Online Worship Services

This episode is part 1 of 4 in the Coronavirus and the Church podcast series. In this series, hear Oklahoma Baptist leaders and pastors share practical insight for churches amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 17, 2020

An Update from Hance Dilbeck

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

Church Updates

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

Messenger Insight 362 – Churches respond to needs in COVID-19 crisis

Hear Pastor Brad Graves of Ada’s First Baptist church share how he and his congregation are trying to minister amid the Coronavirus crisis.

March 16, 2020

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,

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

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

Psalm 46:1