By Robert Dilday
A longtime mission leader and advocate of urban ministry will become pastor of First Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., on March 2, after almost a decade serving as pastor of First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Tom Ogburn told his Oklahoma congregation Feb. 2 he will wind up his ministry there Feb. 16 to prepare for the move to the 171-year-old downtown Knoxville church.
For five years before assuming the Oklahoma City pastorate, Ogburn was the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s associate coordinator for volunteer and partnership missions. Earlier he was the CBF’s missionary/strategy coordinator for an unreached people group in Southeast Asia.
Four years ago Ogburn was a catalyst in a meeting of about 50 pastors who met in Oklahoma City to explore collaborative ways of sharing mission strategies and initiatives.
He has been a strong advocate of churches in urban settings, leading the downtown Oklahoma City church to engage its neighborhood. The church has voted twice — once in the 1980s and again in 2003 — to remain where it has been since 1912.
“For us, that decision wasn’t a death sentence. It was a gift of life,” Ogburn said in a 2012 story on urban churches. “It’s not an urban challenge; it’s a call from God. This is where God has placed us.”
Ogburn is a graduate of Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. He also holds a doctor of ministry degree from Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary. He has served on the staff of several Baptist churches in North Carolina.
He and his wife, Beth, have two children. Aaron, is pastor of Spring Creek Baptist Church in Iredell, Texas; he and his wife are students at Truett Seminary. Elizabeth is a student at Baylor University.