OBU hosted a Pastors Conference Oct. 21-22 on its campus in Shawnee. Around 55 pastors, church staff and members of the OBU community attended the free event. The conference kicked off activities for “The Weekend,” OBU’s homecoming celebration on Bison Hill.
Guest speakers included Dr. Todd Fisher, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee and president of Oklahoma Baptists; Dr. Heath A. Thomas, OBU president; and Dr. D. Hance Dilbeck, president-elect of GuideStone Financial Resources.
Fisher taught the first session Thursday evening, followed by a free fish fry dinner, sponsored by GuideStone. Thomas then led the second evening session. Dilbeck led the third session Friday morning, following a breakfast also sponsored by GuideStone. The conference concluded with a 10 a.m. panel discussion.
Fisher is the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee and has been nominated to serve as the next executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists. He has 30 years of pastoral experience and has served in a number of leadership roles in SBC life, including his current term as president of Oklahoma Baptists. A 1992 OBU alumnus, he continued his studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he completed a Master of Divinity in biblical languages in 1996. In 2001, he earned a Doctor of Ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and later earned a Ph.D. and Th.M. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has taught for OBU, Southern Seminary and Southwestern Seminary and has also served on various boards, including as chair of the Southern Seminary board.
Thomas is the 16th president of OBU. Before assuming the presidency, he served as dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and associate vice president for church relations. He also served as the Floyd K. Clark Chair of Christian Leadership and interim dean of the Divisions of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Language and Literature. Before coming to OBU, he served as director of Ph.D. studies and associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from OBU in 1998. He then earned a Master of Arts in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Old Testament from the University of Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom.
Dilbeck is the president-elect of GuideStone Financial Resources of the SBC. Before assuming that role earlier this year, he served as executive director-treasurer for Oklahoma Baptists. He previously served as senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. He graduated from OBU in 1987, continuing on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned both a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry. He has been an active participant in denominational life, serving as chairman of the Board of Trustees at OBU, Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, as well as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He will assume the role of president and chief executive officer of GuideStone in first quarter 2022.