Hance Dilbeck was elected as the next executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) in a unanimous vote by the BGCO Board of Directors Dec. 11 in Oklahoma City.
Dilbeck, who has served as senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City since 2003, will become the ninth executive director in the convention’s 101-year history. Dilbeck will succeed current BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan, who has led the convention since April 1996.
Members of the BGCO Executive Search Committee, who began their search last September, spoke enthusiastically about Dilbeck during the Dec. 11 meeting at the Baptist Building, voicing how they believe God guided the decision process.
Committee chairman Nick Garland, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, said, “We all looked to Jesus to guide us to find the man to lead us as our next executive director-treasurer. Because of His working in us, there was a clear unity in our decisions, and we believe God led us to Dr. Dilbeck, and we know he will continue the great work here in Oklahoma that God has brought about.”
BGCO President Joe Ligon, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marlow, an ex officio search committee member, spoke heartily in favor of Dilbeck, saying he has been “raised up to lead for such a time as this,” while Jordan said he believes God has “uniquely prepared Hance Dilbeck to serve, from [his] first days of ministry up to now.”
Dilbeck, 52, will officially begin his service as BGCO executive director-treasurer-elect on Jan. 15. The board also voted to approve a transition period between Jan. 15 and Feb. 28 for Jordan, 68, and Dilbeck. Following the time of transition, Dilbeck will assume all administrative leadership of the BGCO on March 1, with Jordan’s retirement to become official on April 15.
Dilbeck has served in a number of leadership roles in Southern Baptist life, including BGCO president and terms of service as chairman of the board for various Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and BGCO-affiliated entities.
Under Dilbeck’s leadership, Quail Springs has tripled in size since 2003, led the entire SBC in Cooperative Program giving and played an active part in 29 church planting efforts and one church revitalization effort.
He has been a pastor in Oklahoma for more than 27 years, including First Baptist Church in Snyder; First Baptist Church in Noble; and First Baptist Church in Ponca City. He served at Little City Baptist Church in Madill while he was in seminary.
Dilbeck was born in Pawhuska and graduated from Pawhuska High School. His undergraduate degree in religion is from Oklahoma Baptist University and he is a two-time graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), where he earned a master of divinity degree in 1992 and a doctor of ministry degree in 2002. In addition to the pastorate, he also has served as adjunct professor of preaching at both Oklahoma Baptist University and SWBTS.
He has served in numerous other areas of denominational work, having been the featured preacher for Falls Creek Youth Camp, chairman of the board of trustees at Oklahoma Baptist University, chairman of the board of trustees at SWBTS, second vice president of the SBC, BGCO president and, most recently, chairman of the board of trustees for the International Mission Board.
Dilbeck and his wife, Julie, have been married for 32 years and have three grown sons, D.H., Dax and Leighton, and three grandchildren.
In addition to Garland, search committee members who addressed the board prior to the Dec. 11 vote were Kevin Baker, pastor of Martha Road Baptist Church in Altus; Blake Gideon, pastor of First Baptist Church in Edmond; Mike Keahbone, pastor of Cherokee Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City; Rusty McMullen, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sayre; and Doug Melton, pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Reported by the staff of The Baptist Messenger, baptistmessenger.com, news journal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.)