BCM/D is in a Great Place, says Exec Tom Stolle

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COLUMBIA, Md. — BCM/D General Mission Board members left the March 19 meeting, the first of 2024, excited about what God is doing in and through Maryland/Delaware churches. After hearing reports from BCM/D staff regarding the incredible response to the women’s “Revive” conference, strong registration numbers for the upcoming men’s conference, an extensive waiting list for summer camps, and revival and explosion of growth through collegiate ministry, BCM/D President Fred Caudle said, God is blessing the convention.

Eli Choi leads music before the GMB meeting on March 19. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

“My dad taught me that you can tell when an organization is walking with the Lord because you see the hand of God’s blessing. We are seeing the hand of God’s blessing all over BCM/D right now. We should not take that for granted; we should not take it as something that’s always going to be there. We disciple, we grow up the next generation, we do those things that please the Lord,” said Caudle.

Danny Moore, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Damascus, said, “There is an atmosphere of joy and unity. The meeting was more like worship than a mission board.”

Bayside Baptist Church, Chesapeake Beach Pastor Glenn Swanson said it has been a year since the board called Tom Stolle as executive director and Mark Dooley as associate executive director, and the convention and staff are strong. “I feel there’s a sense of unity since the transition,” he said. Swanson said he especially enjoyed hearing all of the staff reports at the meeting.

Eli Choi, the pastor of Home Church, Frederick, led music before BCM/D President Byron Day called the meeting to order.

Day shared from Isaiah 40:31, “But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

“Sometimes we want to quit, and God says, ‘just wait,’” Day said. “We have to remember who God is. He is a God who cannot fail.”

And God has been faithful, as evidenced in testimonies of what He is doing permeating the meeting.

Executive Director Report
Stolle shared his joy in serving the convention and his love for staff and churches: “It has been a year since this body called me as executive director, and I believe the BCM/D is in a great place. We are experiencing tremendous unity and staff alignment. We will continue to invest in our staff and lift each other up. If we’re stronger, we’re better at serving you, and our desire is to be great at it.”

He emphasized keeping everything about Jesus. “It’s all about Jesus. It’s sharing Jesus in how we love, serve, and behave.

“There will be challenges, but we will meet them, relying on Jesus to see us through and, if necessary, to knock down walls. We want to do it God’s way, not our way—no caveats, no requirements. God, we want to do it your way. And sometimes it’s fast, and sometimes it feels slow, but I want us to move forward at the speed of God, whatever that looks like.

Matt McMillan, Jim Jeffries and Ken Ledwell sing during the worship. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

“To do that, all of us have to be sold out to Jesus. Are we radically sold out to what Jesus wants? Because if we are, I believe we can see what the Bible says in Luke 1:37, ‘for nothing will be impossible with God.’ I would encourage all of us…to fully embrace Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others.” (NIV)

“We will excel if we do this – we will earn the trust and respect of those we encounter every day. Everything we do matters,” Stolle said.

Stolle told the board that the convention will continue to strengthen men’s and women’s ministries, push more into evangelism, strive for more disability ministry, better serve the poor and marginalized, protect children and the vulnerable, and encourage holistically transformed lives through gospel-centered ministry.

“I pray God will give us what we need to accomplish these goals.”

Closing, Stolle said, “The title executive director is great, but other titles mean way more to me. I’ll be married to my wife Shelley for 34 years in June, and I  pray that God will confer the title of loving and devoted husband. God blessed Shelley and I with three amazing sons and I pray God will give me the title of loving and devoted father, but most of all, I pray that God will give me the title of bondslave of Jesus, because Jesus died and shed his blood for me and rose from the dead to save me and that title means more than anything. I was bought at a price, and so were you.

Missionary Reports
BCM/D staff members, including Church Planting Team Leader Jamie Caldwell, Church Partnership Team Leader Dan Hyun, Women’s Ministry Missionary Somer Phoebus, Skycroft Director Emily Reedy, Associate Executive Director Mark Dooley, and Communications Director Megan Jones, shared reports of God’s provisions and blessings and upcoming events.

GMB President Byron Day leads a time of prayer at the GMB meeting on March 19. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

Church Planting:
Caldwell said, “The mission is still churches plant churches, everywhere for everyone. So, we need you and are grateful for how much you guys have loved and supported us. The big vision for the Send Network is to see God’s kingdom expand over the next decade. For us, that means way more than we’ve ever done.” Caldwell said that means more churches started, more leaders developed, and more missionaries sent, all to honor God.

Caldwell said, “When I was a young man, my grandpa was a pastor. He talked about a call to ministry on a regular basis, and ‘calling out the called’ was just something I heard him say over and over. We’ve gotten out of that. One of the things we’re trying to do is normalize the call to church planting.”

Church Partnership
Hyun shared the overall highlights of the church partnership team. Hyun called Demetra Bennett, church partnership specialist, the “air traffic controller,” who makes everything for the church planting team come together. Adron Dozat, facility manager and prayer coordinator, is “on fire, and cultivating fire amongst our convention is prayer,” he said. BCM/D Kids and Youth Missionary Kris Buckman, among her multiple roles, cultivates partnership through her Connect Lunches, bringing youth and children’s workers together in various locations throughout Maryland/Delaware. “Kris is not only sharing her wisdom, but she has a passion to connect other workers with one another, and that’s partnership.

Hyun was incredibly excited about collegiate ministry. “We’re seeing a revival in campus ministries, and Jess is at the forefront of that in Maryland/Delaware. We are seeing a network of growing campus ministries among the established campuses, as well as new work. Pray about that because we can’t even keep up right now.“

Ellen Udovich was front and center at a national Disaster Relief (DR) conference held in Delaware earlier this year, where she met with DR volunteers and staff from around the nation doing the same work. “Look how much better we are together,”  Hyun said.

Wally Weeks and Jim Jeffries at the GMB meeting. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

Somer Phoebus and BCM/D Women’s Missionary Melody Knox, do an amazing job leading our women’s ministries. Hyun said the women’s conference was a tremendous event, and everyone was excited about the 700, but one of the reasons it was so successful was the work that had been done all year. Women have been blessed, trained, and equipped. Hyun said the numbers are impressive, but he’s especially pleased about the strong representation of different cultures. “That was pretty incredible,” he said. “That is more of a win than sheer numbers. We’re hoping to grow that as we go forward.”

Hyun commended two new missionaries, Jeremy Dickson and Katie Matthews. Dickson oversees the men’s conference, which Hyun vowed would be incredible. Matthews is championing disability ministries, with the goal that every person in every community would have access to a church equipped for disability ministry.

Dan Hyun highlighted how God is blessing church partnerships. “Partnership” is ultimately about building relationships. Hyun said, “We want to make sure we prioritize relationships so we can be on a cooperative mission together.” That isn’t just making connections to the BCM/D staff but between churches.

Women’s Ministry
Somer Phoebus, reporting on the “Revive” women’s conference on March 8-9, said, “The Holy Spirit was present in a way that was unique in a conference session.

Phoebus said women were waiting at the door, ready to go. “These women were primed and pumped. By the time we opened on Friday, they were ready. As soon as the music started, they were worshipping their faces off.”

Seven hundred women, including 120+ BCM/D churches, were represented. The youngest attendee was a sixth grader, and the oldest was in her late 80s. Seventy-five women attended the Pastor’s Wives lunch.

“Our aim for the Revive conference was to create a premiere women’s event that lightens the load for our pastors and women’s ministry leaders,” Phoebus said. “Almost half of the churches that attended made this their own women’s ministry retreat,” she said.

“There is something so powerful about bringing all of our churches together. When you set up a conference in a way where we can come together and partake in whatever is happening through the Holy Spirit, a movement of God together, and leave and have a moment and circle up as our own women’s ministries, that to me equals the formula for a successful retreat.” (Read more about Revive here.)

Phoebus also discussed new initiatives in women’s ministry, including Women in Ministry and Young Women in Ministry.

Megan Jones shares about the BCM/D Annual Meeting. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

Skycroft Conference Center
Emily Reedy, director of Skycroft Conference Center, shared that 850 students and leaders of 38 churches attended Reboot winter youth camp. Five made decisions to follow Jesus, and seven recommitted their lives.

This year’s summer camps sold out in the fall, with 80 churches registered and a long wait list for Crossings student camp. Reedy said the staff is striving to think creatively as they pray through possibilities. “We are trying to meet the needs of summer camp with a finite summer window,” Reedy said.

Evangelism Conference
Mark Dooley shared about an upcoming Evangelism Conference on August  24 at Clinton Baptist Church. This is the first in over a decade, and it will feel like the women’s and men’s conferences, with breakouts and guest speakers. The theme is “The Harvest is Plentiful.” Dooley emphasized that the conference is not just for pastors—the meeting is for the whole church. “We’ll have some amazing things take place,” Dooley said.

More information will be forthcoming. Dooley encouraged members to pray for the event.

Annual Meeting
Communications Director Megan Jones shared that the BCM/D Annual Meeting will be held November 10-11 at Ashore Resort & Beach Club in Ocean City. This year’s meeting will have a different feel, and Jones and the staff anticipate the event. “This spring, we’re spending time empowering women at the women’s conference, empowering men at our men’s conference.” The Annual Meeting will be a way to bring all church leaders together to empower them. “I would love for this to be a time where we can be together, encourage each other, and leave excited to go back to our churches,” she said. More information will be forthcoming.

Financial Report
Stolle reported for the year ended Dec. 31, 2023 Cooperative Program receipts totaled $3,030,852.92. Net income from Convention Operations and Skycroft totaled $12,751.08 and $47,215.67, respectively.

For two months ended February 29, 2024 Cooperative Program receipts totaled $603,050.85, which is 11.5% above the two months ended February 28, 2023. “We are thankful to God for His provision,” Stolle said.

State Mission Offering receipts will fund grants to affiliated churches totaling $72,728.84 in 2024.

Baptist Foundation Report
Stolle shared the Baptist Foundation report. Thirteen churches have outstanding loans from the Church Loan fund. For the three months ended December 31, 2023, the Foundation recognized secured church loan fund net income totaling $29,537.68. Ninety percent of the annual net income generated by these funds will be distributed by the Foundation to the BCM/D to start and strengthen churches.

Management currently anticipates this distribution to total $110,000 – $120,000 in 2024.

As of December 31, 2023, the market value of the investment portfolio was $10,807,648.19. The one-year performance reflected a return of 17% for funds invested in a blended mix of fixed instruments and equities. Funds invested in the “short-term fund” are currently earning 4.25% return.

Learn more about the Foundation at www.bcmd.org/baptist-foundation.

President’s Report
BCM/D President Fred Caudle referred to 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear but power, love, and sound judgment.”

Caudle said We do not earn this or strive to obtain it, but Christ Jesus has given us His spirit.

”The question for the believer is not whether I have this, but rather whether I will live in the spirit of power, love, and sound judgment.”

Caudle said Christians must rely on the power of the gospel, the power of God.