Maryland-Delaware Baptists meet ‘In Jesus’ Name’
By Sharon Mager/BCMD
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (BP) – BCM/D’s Annual Meeting ushered in a new direction for Maryland/Delaware Baptists, led by Executive Director Tom Stolle, who was called to the position in March 2023.
The 187th meeting brought 226 Messengers and guests to Kettering Baptist Church’s Legacy Center in Upper Marlboro, just 20 miles north of Washington, D.C., on Nov. 10-11. The theme was “In Jesus’ Name,” emphasizing prayer and partnership.
Partnering with Jesus to reach the lost
Outgoing BCM/D President Glenn Swanson, who also serves as the pastor of Bayside Baptist Church, Chesapeake Beach, Md., thanked Maryland/Delaware churches and his family for their support over the past two years.
Addressing attendees, Swanson said the church’s priority should match Jesus’ No. 1 priority referred to in Luke 19:10: “‘For the son of man came to seek and save the lost.’”
He shared about a lost child near the church and how the entire community — hundreds of people, along with police and rescue workers were frantically searching for the little boy and used Bayside Church as a command post. Swanson shared how fraught people were until the child was thankfully found, and the atmosphere immediately changed. “The quiet sorrow turned into an exuberant celebration,” he said.
Swanson compared the situation of the lost child who was found to lost souls who turn to Jesus, referring to Luke 15:10, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Swanson encouraged pastors and church leaders to “keep pressing forward.”
We need each other
In his address to messengers and guests, Stolle said, “I have served for more than 19 years at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in a variety of roles. One thing I know is we need each other!”
Stolle emphasized partnerships. Referring to 1 Corinthians 12:12-22, Stolle said God gifts individuals differently, and since churches are collectives of individuals, churches also possess different gifts. “We must recognize that we cannot do this work alone! God has gifted us the way He has chosen,” he said. “We must be unified. We must relate to one another as partners.”
“When I was asked by the General Mission Board to accept the position of executive director, and my wife and I prayed and agreed to do it, I told myself, ‘I will not stand before God and waste this position and not do what I believe the Bible says that I should do and that we should do collectively.’ That is why I’ve introduced to our staff what I call our pillars.”
The pillars are members to missionaries, disability care and community, poverty ministry, BCM/D Ready and Gospel-centered mental health ministry.
- Members to missionaries — “We can partner in our efforts to equip everyone — every man, woman, and child to be missionaries where they live, work, and play.”
- Disability care and community— “The level of lostness in this community is staggering. If you added up all the individuals with disabilities on Earth, you would have the third largest country on the planet. Per Joni & Friends, 1.3 billion people on our planet live with a disability. Yet, we don’t see many of these precious people in our churches.”
- Poverty ministry — We can make a difference in the lives of those living in poverty. Approximately 40 million people in the U.S. were living in poverty from 2021-22, and the child poverty rate in America has more than doubled. If God has blessed us with resources, shouldn’t we help?
- BCM/D ready — We can bring relief to individuals affected by disasters, not just natural disasters but social disasters. We focus on hurricanes and tornados, but where are we when cities are torn apart? This is such an opportunity to share Jesus, and when people are experiencing the unexpected collapse of the world around them, we can come in with the love of Jesus, as hands and feet of Jesus when they are most receptive.
- Gospel-centered mental health — “We can share the love of Jesus with those struggling with mental health. We can bring them to our church families. We can connect them with resources to receive the care they need.
“How do we accomplish what God wants us to accomplish when the needs are so great? By taking one step at a time,” Stolle said.
“I believe our actions need to center around three things — prayer, service, and giving. No matter what gifts God has given us, we can all partner in prayer; we can all serve; and we can all give.”
During the business session, messengers elected officers, approved the 2024 budget, unanimously approved the second reading of a constitutional amendment and a clause and passed two resolutions.
The following officers were elected: President Fred Caudle, pastor of The Church @ St. Charles, and the Potomac Baptist Association director of missions; First Vice President Ron Blankenship, Montgomery Baptist Association director of missions; Second Vice President Anthony Minter, pastor of First Rock Baptist Church, Washington D.C.; Recording Secretary Stephanie Greer, a member of The Garden Church in Baltimore; Assistant Recording Secretary Michael Fillis, pastor of Fenwick Island Baptist Church, Delaware.
Additionally, messengers approved a 7.12 million budget (2.5 million allocated for BCM/D’s Skycroft Conference Center) and to continue forwarding 37 percent of Cooperative Program receipts to national SBC causes.
On a required second vote, messengers unanimously approved a constitutional change requiring churches to take steps to protect children and vulnerable adults and as a requirement for affiliation. They also passed a disaffiliation cause for churches when they are found to be in open and unrepentant behaviors that are contrary to the Baptist Faith &Message 2000.
SBCV announces foster care initiative; record giving to national SBC partners
By SBCV Staff
SOUTH CHESTERFIELD, Va. (BP) – One of the many highlights from the SBC of Virginia (SBCV) Annual Homecoming included the presentation of a financial gift for Guidestone Financial Resource’s Mission:Dignity, in memory of the convention’s first executive director-treasurer Doyle Chauncey.
The gift, which comes from the SBCV Foundation, was presented to GuideStone President Hance Dilbeck on Sunday night (Nov. 12). The Foundation’s contribution comes in addition to a “13th Monthly Check” given by the SBCV towards Mission:Dignity to help provide an honorarium in support of retired pastors and their widows in Virginia.
Chauncey, who died on March 21, 2023, at the age of 81, served as the SBCV’s first ever full-time executive director from the convention’s constituting in 1996 until 2008. He then transitioned to focus on the development of the SBCV Foundation and served as treasurer of the convention until 2014.
The Lord is with you – relying on his strength
The theme for the Homecoming, held at The Heights Baptist Church in South Chesterfield, Va., was “The Lord is With You – Relying on His Strength.”
During the meeting, messengers conducted business, heard from a variety of keynote speakers, received financial updates, and learned more about various SBCV ministries.
The convention celebrated a record year of giving and other significant financial milestones.
SBCV churches gave record totals to the Cooperative Program ($9,868,224), the Lottie Moon Christmas offering ($4,130,990), and the Annie Armstrong Easter offering ($1,298,935).
Additionally, all-time SBCV giving to the Cooperative Program, since the convention’s inception in 1996, surpassed 200 million with a total of $207,350,112.
Upon recommendation from the executive board, messengers approved the proposed Ministry Investment Plan (MIP) of $10,400,00 million for the upcoming 2024 fiscal year, which is a slight increase from the 2023 Ministry Investment Plan.
Of the total adopted Ministry Investment Plan amount, $10 million comes from SBC of Virginia churches giving related to Cooperative Program contributions. The adopted plan will be distributed with 51 percent going to national Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program ministries and 49 percent distributed to state level SBC of Virginia Cooperative Program ministries. This is the same percentage of allocation as previous years.
Upon recommendation, 13 churches requesting partnership with the SBCV were approved by messengers at Annual Homecoming, and 16 new church plants were announced.
This marks a combined total of 29 new SBCV churches, bringing the total number of affiliated churches to 831.
Newly elected SBCV officers received unanimous approval by messengers. Rob Pochek, senior pastor First Baptist Church of Charlottesville, Va., was named president. Josh Carter, senior pastor of Hyland Heights Baptist Church in Rustburg, Va., was named first vice-president. Chris Kesler, senior pastor of Midway Baptist Church in Phenix, Va., was named second vice-president. Sean Couch, who serves as minister in residence at Northstar Church in Blacksburg, Va., was named secretary.
Messengers heard ministry updates and highlights from a variety of different initiatives including church planting, church revitalization, missions, kid’s ministry, youth ministry, college ministry, men’s and women’s ministry, foster care and adoption, as well as work with crisis pregnancy centers throughout the state.
Additionally, the SBCV launched a new James 1:27 fund for Foster Care and Adoption ministries as a part of the Vision Virginia State Missions Offering.
The 2024 SBCV Annual Homecoming will take place on Nov. 10-12 at River Oak Church in Chesapeake, Va. Keynote speakers include Dondi Costin, president of Liberty University; Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS); and H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.