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Maryland/Delaware Baptists given challenge to reach ‘a messy world’

SOLOMONS, Md. (BP)–David Lee, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, told messengers at the annual meeting that God has called them to reach a world fearful of “smallpox, anthrax, nerve gas, dirty bombs, nukes, Al Qaeda and Saddam.”

“It is a messy world. We are an imperfect church. But we serve a mighty God,” Lee said. “And God uses imperfect people who are faithful to him to reach a messy world with the gospel. Therefore, no matter how messy the world gets, no matter how frustrated we get with our brothers, because we serve a mighty God and for the sake of the gospel, we cannot quit.”

The theme for the Nov. 11-12 meeting at the Holiday Inn Select in Solomons, Md., was “Walking Together for the Sake of the Gospel.”

Jerry Rankin, president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, in a keynote address, said if Christians walk together for the sake of the gospel, they must be consistent with God’s purpose, confident in God’s providence, compelled by God’s passion and characterized by God’s power.

He also made note of the new kind of missionaries being called today, including firemen, football coaches, attorneys, businessmen and plumbers instead of just seminary graduates.

“They came and laid their lives on the altar. It wasn’t about them,” Rankin said. “Because of their diverse backgrounds, they are able to gain access in areas where traditional missionaries could not go.”

Messengers elected Tim Simpson, pastor of Greenridge Baptist Church in Clarksburg, president. James Nichols, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Glen Burnie, nominated Simpson and then said the new president’s most important attribute is integrity.

“When you see him on Monday, he’s the same guy you saw in the pulpit on Sunday,” Nichols said. “He knows there will be disagreements, but when there are, he’s willing to listen, to sit down at the table and share his views. He’s fair-minded and even-keeled.”

Robert Anderson, pastor of Colonial Baptist Church in Randallstown, was elected first vice president and Robert Lilly, pastor of First Baptist Church in Essex, was elected second vice president.

Messengers approved a budget of $6,233,365, which is up $374,544 from last year. Recommendations also were passed encouraging churches to promote the Legacy of Faith campaign that provides funding for new churches, to promote special seasons of prayers and offerings, including a Mother’s Day offering for Baptist Family and Children’s Services, and to develop church members as responsible stewards.

A motion was made to adopt the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. After much discussion, the motion was referred to the convention’s general mission board to be presented again after a year of prayer and closer consideration.

The 2003 annual meeting will be Nov. 10-11 at the Clarion Hotel in Ocean City, Md.
Adapted from articles by Sharon Mager and Iris White.

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