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Dr. Kevin Smith called as new executive director

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2016

By Shannon Baker

COLUMBIA, Md.—The General Mission Board of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, doing business as the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network, in Columbia, Md., unanimously named Kevin Smith, assistant professor of church history and Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church, in Louisville, Ky., as executive director.

After a special called board meeting on June 7, 2016, Michael L. Trammell, board president, announced, “Today, the General Mission Board of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, acting in accordance with its bylaws, voted to call Dr. Kevin Smith as our new Executive Director.”

Smith was “thoroughly vetted by our Executive Director Search Committee, the Administrative Committee of the General Mission Board, and by the full membership of the General Mission Board,” said Trammell, senior pastor of Mt. Airy (Md.) Baptist Church.

“Simply stated, we believe Dr. Smith is the man God has chosen for us. Dr. Smith is a scholar and is a tremendously gifted leader. He has outstanding people skills, and has a deep passion for reaching the lost. We are excited that Dr. Kevin Smith has accepted the call of our board to serve alongside Mid-Atlantic Baptists," Trammell added.

Photo (left): Bill Warren, President of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (left), and Michael Trammell, president of the Convention’s General Mission Board (right), congratulate Kevin Smith on his election as the executive director.

Victor Kirk, speaking on behalf of the state convention’s search committee, shared, “We are honored and grateful to God for the assignment He placed in our hands in regards to finding our next Executive Director.”

Kirk, pastor of Sharon Bible Fellowship in Lanham, Md., served as chairman of the committee, which also included Charlie Arnold, pastor of Seaside Church in Lewes, Del., vice chairman; Helen Corrothers of Georgia Avenue Baptist Church, Silver Spring, Md.; Keith Corrick, director of missions for Potomac Baptist Association, Hughesville, Md.; Michael Mattar, pastor of Hope Fellowship Church, Loudoun, Va.; Brad O’Brien, pastor of Jesus Our Redeemer Church, Baltimore, Md.; and Thomas Winborn, pastor of Welsh Memorial Baptist Church, Frostburg, Md. Curtis Hill, pastor of Ogletown Baptist Church, Newark, Del., and James Pope, North Arundel Church, Glen Burnie, Md., also served early on in the process.

“We reviewed, vetted and interviewed many candidates and through our process. Dr. Kevin Smith emerged as the one that God has chosen for our state convention,” Kirk said. “His credentials, his personality, his love for his family, his love for God and his love for and command of God's Word were determining factors in our decision. His report within and without was without scrutiny.”

Kirk added, “We further believed that what our convention needed going forward was not only a leader and administrator, but someone who has a Shepherd's heart. Our staff, leadership team, pastors and churches need healing and unity. We believe Dr. Smith who previously has been a pastor for over 15 years was the right person to aid in that mandate. His relational skills are exceptional, and he has the heart to bring the body of Christ together.”

In conclusion, Kirk noted, “We welcome Dr. Smith to our great convention, and we look forward to what God has in store for us.”

Presenting Smith before the General Mission Board, Convention President Bill Warren said, “We need a leader who is filled with the Holy Spirit. We need a leader whose walk with the Spirit yields God's vision for our Network. We need a leader whose heart yearns to make disciples for the Lord. We need a leader who walks humbly with our God and with man. We need a leader who preaches the Word of God with excellence and anointing. We need a leader with skills to create faithful relationships and powerful partnerships. We will have that leader if today we select Dr. Kevin Smith as our new Executive Director. I endorse him without...a single reservation.”

Photo (left): Glenn Leatherman (left) and David Hall (right) greet Kevin Smith.

Smith, a native of Washington, D.C., grew up in Prince George’s County, where he attended DaMatha Catholic High School. Now almost 50, he has fond memories of many weeks spent at the YMCA summer camps in Edgewater, Md., as well as many teenage nights at the Inner Harbor and the Woodlawn Mall.

He earned a bachelor of sciences degree from Hampton University, a private, historically black college in the Tidewater, Va., area, where his father is an alumnus.

It was there that Smith met Christ.

“I have the most boring testimony,” Smith shared, noting he had grown up in church, but not in a Christian family. His grandmother picked him up every Sunday and took him to church, but it wasn’t until he was attending Hampton that God became real to him.

“My life was changed my freshman year at college… in the chapel there,” he recounted, crediting a chaplain’s sermon. “My life really changed when he was preaching John 3:16!”

Later, after serving in New York City as an auditor, Smith moved to Kentucky to study tax law and sat under the ministry of Elder D.J. Ward, pastor of Lexington's Main Street Baptist Church. There, he was discipled and called into ministry—and there he met his wife, Patricia.

They soon married and moved to Chattanooga, Tenn., where Smith studied at the Church of God Theological Seminary, now called Pentecostal Theological Seminary, in Cleveland, Tenn., earning a Master of Divinity degree (with honors) in historical studies in 2001.

While in Chattanooga, Smith served as associate pastor of Olivet Baptist Church and then as senior pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, before planting Love Fellowship Baptist Church, a mission-church in a housing development/low-income area.

After nearly a decade in Tennessee, the Smiths moved to Louisville, Ky., to attend The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where Smith was the recipient of a presidential scholarship and is completing his doctoral studies.

In 2006, Smith was appointed to Southern Seminary’s faculty, after serving as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow.

At Southern Seminary, Smith formerly worked alongside Russell Moore, now president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Danny Akin, now president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

“Kevin Smith is an excellent preacher who handles the Scripture with care and communicates its truth with power,” wrote Russell in a letter of recommendation for Smith, dated August 17, 2015. “He has years of experience ministering to the church and is a convictional, committed Southern Baptist. He is a natural leader, and has an exceptionally godly character.”

Russell added, “His family is a key asset to his ministry and the way that he loves and shepherds his wife and children exemplify his ability to lead God's church. Beyond his own family, Kevin Smith is committed to discipling and mentoring pastors and leaders, helping them grow in both their leadership abilities and their personal devotion to Jesus.

“Kevin also has an exceptional understanding of the issues in the culture and how to address them from a gospel perspective. He is a faithful guide in changing times, anchored to God's Word.

“I have known Kevin for years and could not recommend him more highly for this position. I am confident he has all the skills necessary to lead the Baptist Convention of Maryland & Delaware well,” Russell said. (Note: Full text of Moore's statement follows article.)

In a recommendation dated August 14, 2015, Akin “enthusiastically” commended Smith for the position of executive director. “I've known Kevin for many years. He is one of the finest and most outstanding men I've ever met,” Akin wrote. “And, he is a phenomenal preacher! He is godly, convictional, and has a passion for the gospel and the church. He would bring many gifts and talents to the position of Executive Director.” (Note: Full text of Akin's statement follows article.)

Since 2013, Smith has served in the preaching/teaching ministry at Highview Baptist Church, a multi-site, 60-year old mega-church, where he was charged to bring multi-ethnic leadership to mostly-white congregation.

Smith currently serves as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. In that role, he successfully mediated between diverse Kentucky Baptists, leading pastors and their churches to focus on their shared mission. More recently, he served on a Great Commission Task Force, encouraging church leaders to increase Cooperative Program giving. He also served on the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Committee on Committees (2006-2009), Mission Board (2007-2010), Administrative Committee (2007-2010), and Committee on Credentials (2012-2015).

In his recommendation dated May 18, 2016, Paul Chitwood, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, noted, “Kevin Smith may not be a name familiar to some members of your board but his is a name above reproach in the Kentucky Baptist Convention. In addition to his significant responsibilities as teaching pastor of one of our key churches and a professor at Southern Seminary, Kevin is currently serving as president of our state convention and chairman of our KBC Mission Board. In all of these roles, Kevin has been used of God as an agent of reconciliation.”

He added, “Kevin is a very gifted preacher, being among our most sought after for speaking engagements in Kentucky and beyond. He connects effectively with churches of every size and in every setting. Kevin knows how to ‘speak pew’ with an energetic delivery that the Spirit of God is using to encourage saints and convict sinners. He is also an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Great Commission and the Cooperative Program. He is Southern Baptist ‘through and through’ and maintains strong relationships with leaders across our state convention and in the broader Southern Baptist Convention.” (Note: Full text of Chitwood's statement follows article.)

Smith also has extensive denominational service, having served on the SBC Committee on Resolutions on five separate occasions, most recently in 2014. Also, SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page and North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell appointed him to the SBC African American Advisory Council, a position he held from 2012-2015.

He additionally has been a visiting professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and an instructor at Simmons Bible College in Louisville (from which Smith was given an honorary doctorate) as well as Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. He has led short-term missions trips to the Caribbean and Africa.

Tom Stolle, outgoing interim executive director for the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network, shared, “I’m thankful that God has called Kevin to come serve our network of churches. We, as staff, are looking forward to his leadership and are excited for our future. I know that God has great things in store for our churches, and I can’t wait to see what He will do in the days, weeks and years ahead.” Stolle serves as chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the Network.

The Smiths have three children, JeMichael, Dane, and Keturah, and two adopted nephews Timothy, born in 2002, and Josiah, 2004.

Among Smith’s favorite past-times is riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which he has ridden to several annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention. He and his family also enjoy traveling to area beaches.


Full Statement from Daniel L. Akin, President,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

SOUTHEASTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Daniel L. Akin, President

August 14, 2015

Baptist Convention of Maryland & Delaware
Attn: Executive Director Search Committee
10255 Old Columbia Road
Columbia, MD 21046

To Whom It May Concern:

Let me take this opportunity to enthusiastically commend to you Kevin Smith for the position of Executive Director. I've known Kevin for many years. He is one of the finest and most outstanding men I've ever met. And, he is a phenomenal preacher! He is godly, convictional, and has a passion for the gospel and the church. He would bring many gifts and talents to the position of Executive Director. Again, I'm extremely enthusiastic in making this recommendation. If you would like to talk with me further about Kevin. Please do not hesitate to contact me at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. May God lead you in your search for this important position.

In His Name,
Danny Akin


Full Statement from Paul Chitwood,
Executive Director-Treasurer, Kentucky Baptist Convention

May 18, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware,

Know that your name is being lifted to the Father! Southern Baptists in Maryland/Delaware have entrusted a momentous stewardship to your Executive Director Search Committee. Far be it from us that we should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for them (1 Samuel 12:23).

While I am certain that the members of the search committee had the names of many noble sons presented to them, I am encouraged to know that they are recommending a devoted brother who is helping tend the sheep in Kentucky. Kevin Smith may not be a name familiar to some members of your board but his is a name above reproach in the Kentucky Baptist Convention. In addition to his significant responsibilities as teaching pastor of one of our key churches and a professor at Southern Seminary, Kevin is currently serving as president of our state convention and chairman of our KBC Mission Board. In all of these roles, Kevin has been used of God as an agent of reconciliation.

Kevin is a very gifted preacher, being among our most sought after for speaking engagements in Kentucky and beyond. He connects effectively with churches of every size and in every setting. Kevin knows how to "speak pew" with an energetic delivery that the Spirit of God is using to encourage saints and convict sinners. He is also an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Great Commission and the Cooperative Program. He is Southern Baptist “through and through” and maintains strong relationships with leaders across our state convention and in the broader Southern Baptist Convention.

Kevin's effectiveness in so many ministry roles is a testimony to the rare combination of gifts with which God has equipped him. He is intelligent, seeks to guard his heart from pride, and walks humbly with his God and the brethren (Micah 6:8). While he exhibits all of the qualities Jim Collins describes in a "level five leader," Kevin's persistence in seeking the advancement of the Kingdom and the organization he serves rather than his own advancement would be a tremendous blessing to the churches and mission of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. To elaborate, Kevin Smith's agenda is not Kevin Smith. He is a servant leader who desires to honor his Lord (Philippians 2:1-4).

God has entrusted Kevin with a remarkable number of ecclesial, academic, and denominational leadership roles. His faithful stewardship of those significant roles causes me to believe that our Lord will likely entrust to him even greater things. If those greater things prove to be the stewardship of leading your convention as she serves her churches, Kevin's age would allow for a significant tenure. His passion and gifts would allow for a successful tenure. His vision and humility would allow for a Kingdom-advancing tenure. His genuine love for the Lord's churches would allow for a Christ-honoring tenure.

I would be pleased to share additional insights concerning my enthusiastic endorsement of Kevin Smith for the role of Executive Director. Please call me at 502-741-4696.

Blessings,

Paul Chitwood

Executive Director-Treasurer, Kentucky Baptist Convention


Full Statement from Russell Moore, President,
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:

ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION
OF THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

August 17, 2015

Attn: Executive Director Search Committee
Baptist Convention of Maryland & Delaware
10255 Old Columbia Road
Columbia, MD 21046

To the Executive Director Search Committee, Baptist Convention of Maryland & Delaware:

It is my honor to recommend Kevin Smith for the Executive Director position at the Baptist Convention of Maryland & Delaware. Kevin is a phenomenal leader and teacher. Beyond that he is wise, mature, and servant hearted.

Kevin Smith is an excellent preacher who handles the Scripture with care and communicates its truth with power. He has years of experience ministering to the church and is a convictional, committed Southern Baptist. He is a natural leader, and has an exceptionally godly character.

His family is a key asset to his ministry and the way that he loves and shepherds his wife and children exemplify his ability to lead God's church. Beyond his own family, Kevin Smith is committed to discipling and mentoring pastors and leaders, helping them grow in both their leadership abilities and their personal devotion to Jesus.

Kevin also has an exceptional understanding of the issues in the culture and how to address them from a gospel perspective. He is a faithful guide in changing times, anchored to God's Word.

I have known Kevin for years and could not recommend him more highly for this position. I am confident he has all the skills necessary to lead the Baptist Convention of Maryland & Delaware well. I am happy to speak to the committee about Kevin at any time should you have questions. I will be praying for you as you seek the Lord's will in this decision.

For the Kingdom,
Russell Moore