Oklahoma Baptist University conferred an honorary Doctor of Ministry upon Nick Garland during a special service Sunday, Nov. 10, at First Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The service was a celebration of Garland’s 33 years as the church’s senior pastor. He is retiring at the end of December.
Garland has served at FBC BA since 1986. Prior to coming to Broken Arrow, he spent 15 years pastoring and serving in churches in Alabama, Arkansas and Texas. He is a 1973 graduate of Florence State University in Florence, Alabama, with a bachelor’s degree in English. He then attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned a Master of Divinity in 1977.
He has served in multiple leadership roles for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma including as BGCO president from 2012-14. He has also served on the board of directors and as chairman of the budget committee, resolutions committee, director of evangelism search committee and strategic planning committee. He likewise has served on the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the LifeWay Board of Trustees from 1990-98 and the Executive Board of Trustees of the SBC for 22 years. He served as a member of the OBU Board of Trustees from 2006-08 and was appointed to serve as vice-chair of the presidential search committee for OBU in 2008.
In addition to his involvement with and service for the BGCO and SBC, Garland has led a number of mission trips around the world to locations international and domestic including Israel, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, East Asia, Russia, Romania, Alaska, Hawaii and Nevada. He has preached at numerous state conferences, Falls Creek, Southern Baptist seminaries, churches around the nation, and in both chapel and commencement services at OBU. He has led FBC BA to minister locally and reach thousands of people in surrounding communities, including through the adoption of and assistance to more than a half dozen churches in the area, all of which are now strong, viable ministries in their communities.
Once retired, Garland plans to spend more time with his wife Jenine, son Joshua, daughter Jodi and his three grandchildren.
Dr. Pat Taylor, OBU’s interim president, presented the honorary doctorate and was assisted by Dr. Susan DeWoody, provost, and Dr. Will Smallwood, senior vice president for advancement and university relations.
“Nick Garland has served faithfully as senior pastor at First Baptist Church Broken Arrow for more than 33 years,” Taylor said. “During this time, he has preached the Gospel, ministered to, and shepherded God's people. He has led First Baptist Church Broken Arrow to be a global focus church in home and international missions, adopting the Acts 1:8 model as its vision. This has resulted in more than 200 members annually going on mission trips around the world.
“In honoring Nick Garland today, Oklahoma Baptist University is keeping faith with the high ideals we have set for granting such degrees. His life exemplifies high standards, excellence in achievement, and genuine concern for others.”
Prior to the conferring of the honorary doctorate, Smallwood presented Garland with the JM Carroll Award. The award is given in recognition of outstanding denominational service in the state of Oklahoma. It is named for Dr. J.M. Carroll, who served as OBU’s first president, helping establish the foundation upon which OBU’s tradition of excellence has been built.
Garland was awarded this recognition for his faithful service and dedication to FBC BA, and to the BGCO. The award recognized him as serving with great distinction and integrity, with steadfast leadership, Godly counsel and a passion for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ at FBC BA and in churches throughout the BGCO.The service was highlighted by powerful worship experiences, video segments of both interviews with Garland and of some humorous moments through the years, recorded messages of gratitude from former and current church staff and members, as well as messages delivered by longtime friends and colleagues. Two guest speakers included Dr. Anthony Jordan, retired executive director-treasurer of the BGCO, and Jimmy Draper, retired president of LifeWay Christian Resources and former president of the SBC.