Please share a bit about yourself and your family.
My wife and I have four boys, Sam, Jack, Max, and Hank. When everyone is around our house, it is wonderful chaos. We have serious and silly discussions about Star Wars movies, politics, and pop music. I’m thankful that my boys have my eclectic tastes and Nancy’s looks and musical ability. Nancy and I have been married for 26 years, and she still laughs at my jokes.
How did you come to the Lord?
My mom left the Roman Catholic church of her youth when I was two years old. Wanting her kids to have spiritual training, she enrolled us in Vacation Bible School at a church on the corner, just a five-minute walk from our house. Twenty years later, I took that walk along with my groomsmen when Nancy and I were married. After seminary, I walked to that church from the parsonage during the two years I served them as pastor.
First Baptist Church of Union in New Jersey had all the problems normal churches have, but we had a faithful pastor who preached the Word and impressed upon me the need for repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus. During a period of teenage rebellion, people from the church loved me and prayed for me. When I came to the Lord in my early 20s, they patiently answered my questions and encouraged me to use my gifts in ministry. Words cannot convey my gratitude to the Lord for giving me such a kind and helpful family.
Each association has its own culture — how would you describe yours?
The Lord has blessed the EBA with some incredible talent. We have experienced church planters like Darrell MacCready and Andy Ehlers. We have innovative new planters like Mark Thomas of Compass Church and Richard Pope of Canvas Church, both in Salisbury. We have determined revitalizers like Larry Davis and Lee Hughart. We have the fast-paced ministry that Sean Davis oversees in Ocean City every summer and Jim McBride’s Raceway Ministries. Danny Guzman is writing his own recovery curriculum and building a network of leaders for regional disaster relief. I’m blessed to know these talented workers and to connect and build more relationships and partnerships as we try to expand our work.
How has God been blessing your association?
We’re in a season of peace and development. I’m thankful for our partnerships with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) and for how we’re working together to train transitional pastors and help churches build child protection systems. We have several churches that we’re developing partnerships with to begin the work of revitalization. We’re excited about developing our church planting team and a leadership development pipeline.
What are some challenges?
The Lord has been kind to us — the challenge isn’t a lack of blessing. Instead, our challenge is finding the time to do cooperative work.
I serve the association part-time, and the momentum we built after our former DOM resigned withered during COVID-19. We’re working at creating a network of friendships and support, but it’s challenging when everyone you’re working with is a full-time pastor or bi-vocational. Also, we’re probably the largest association geographically, and that can make gatherings challenging.
How can we pray for you and for the association?
My challenge at our last annual meeting was that we need to grow in love and friendship. Within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), there have been tensions between church planters and established churches. There’s been tension over contemporary worship and traditional worship. These conflicts only distract us from the mission Jesus gave us: to make disciples who love the Lord and love their neighbors. Deep friendships between pastors connected to a common mission and vision help us remember that we’ll always need to start new churches and that existing churches need strengthening. It’s much easier to do these things when you have the support of other pastors and churches who love you and will partner with you. That’s my prayer for our association — deep friendships that result in the advance of our mission.
If you could pray that the Green Bay Packers would win the Super Bowl and that I would stop spilling coffee on myself during my morning commute, that would also be amazing.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
It’s been my honor to lead our DOM group since December. I’m thankful for how our state leadership has been engaging with us, and I’m excited to see a strategic and measurable partnership emerging between BCM/D and the associations. Since the SBC determined in 2018 that church revitalization is the responsibility of the associations and state conventions, our growing unity and partnership are critical to developing a strategic plan to reach our region. We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us to lead within the SBC in addressing the protection of vulnerable people, championing disability ministry, and championing the development of church revitalizers and planters.
Feature photo: Keith, Nancy, Hank, Sam, Jack, and Max (photo submitted).