BCM/D Represented Well at SBC

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By Sharon Mager

INDIANAPOLIS —  Many Maryland/ Delaware pastors, wives, and other messengers traveled by air or car to Indianapolis for the 2024 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, joining the throng of over 16,000 attendees. While there’s no way to know how many from BCM/D were at the event, several messengers said they were pleased with the representation.“Everywhere I went, I ran Into BCM/D pastors and members,” said BCM/D President Fred Caudle.

At the business sessions, messengers elected Clint Pressley, the senior pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist Church near Charlotte, North Carolina, as the new SBC president; voted against the “Law Amendment which defined a cooperating church as one that “affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture;” and adopted resolutions on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, religious liberty, parental rights, and various other topics. Read the Baptist Press “Wrap-Up.” for more details.

Chris McCombs, with daughter Savannah and wife, Shawnetta, made SBC24 a family affair. (photo courtesy of the McCombs family)

Over 50 motions were presented, including one from BCM/D messenger Benjamin Hankin, the pastor of LifeHouse, Salem County, New Jersey, who made a motion requesting the executive committee create a task force to study how best to minister to the special needs community. Hankin, reading the motion, said, “I move that the Executive Committee (EC) create a study group or task force that would study how churches are engaging the special need community. This group or task force would also research and compile resources recommended as tools for churches in the SBC to utilize in reaching individuals and families in this often overlooked community. This group or task force would report back to the convention in 2025 at the annual meeting in Texas. This report would include recommendations on how SBC churches could implement processes and procedures to help them start special needs ministries, further equipping churches for special needs ministries, and also providing encouragement for those already engaged in special needs ministries, as well as those seeking to begin special needs ministries.” This motion was referred to the EC committee.

Kris Buckman, second from left, served on the ARITF Task Force and developed the five essentials the new sexual abuse awareness curriculum is based upon. (Baptist Press photo)

BCM/D Children’s and Youth Missionary Kris Buckman, who serves on the SBC Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF), was visible throughout the convention, at the ARITF booth in the expo area, and on stage during the task force report. Buckman developed the five essentials the new sexual abuse curriculum is based upon. Read more here.

Harvest Baptist Church, Salisbury, Pastor Keith Myer led the opening prayer of the Tuesday afternoon meeting before the business session.

BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle took the stage with state executives nationwide during a North American Mission Board presentation.

Others served on a variety of boards and committees.

Stolle was pleased with the motion brought by Benjamin Hankin regarding special needs. He was encouraged by the way NAMB highlighted baptisms.  He especially emphasized the work of the ARITF. “I loved the work that Kris Buckman developed that was adopted by the National SBC,” Stolle commented, referring to the new ARITF ”Essentials’ sexual abuse prevention curriculum.

BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle with Fred MacDonald, executive director of the Dakota Baptist Convention. (courtesy of Tom Stolle)

Additionally, Stolle noted the address by outgoing SBC President Bart Barber regarding unity. Barber said, “It’s breathtaking, once you see it, because we know how high of a value God places upon theology and ethics and the separation of His people from worldliness. This passage devalues none of those things; it just shows us how very highly God values unity and mutual respect among His children.” In Romans 15:1, he stressed, “God obligates us “to accept and bear the weaknesses of one another even when the other guy is wrong.”

Katie Matthews, BCM/D Disability Missionary, was also pleased with Hankin’s motion saying, “It had a loud, powerful ‘seconds’ from the crowd.”

Chris McCombs, the pastor of Lexington Park Baptist Church, especially enjoyed Jeff Iorg’s inaugural presentation as president of the Executive Committee and CEO. Iorg emphasized four missions that, though good, are not the church’s “eternal mission.” These are political activism, social justice, convention reform and doctrinal conformity.”

McCombs said he and his wife, Shawnetta, and their daughter, Savannah, enjoyed the excitement of the meeting and the voting process—all of it.

In addition to the meeting itself, McCombs added, “I loved the expo center, getting ideas, meeting people and the swag.”

Hankin was excited about the International Mission Board (IMB) sending celebration: “I think the fact that many cannot be videoed or have their voices heard makes the situation they are going into very real.”

Benjamin Hankin made a motion from the floor regarding special needs ministry. (Photo submitted)

Associate Executive Director Mark Dooley was also touched by the celebration. “Seeing the commissioning of 83 international missionaries was a highlight,” he said

Glenn Swanson, the senior pastor of Bayside Baptist Church, Chesapeake Beach, also noted the sending celebration. He was especially touched by the couple going to serve the deaf community.

Richard Pope, pastor of Canvas Church, Salisbury, and his wife Payton were pleased to connect with the president of Send Network, Vance Pitman. They also enjoyed hanging out with fellow BCM/D pastors and planters.

Carissa Beard, the wife of Jay Beard, pastor of First Baptist Church of Thurmont, said, “Any Southern Baptist who has never been to an IMB sending celebration should go. It‘s worth going to the annual meeting just for that.” Jay agrees, saying, “While we have some differences in the SBC as far as how we may do things from church to church, missions and church-planting represent the best in what we do as Southern Baptists.”

Pastors and planters enjoy spending time together at the SBC in Indianapolis.  (L-R)  CJ Matthews (Bethany Church, Columbia), Richard Pope (Canvas Church, Salisbury), Katie Matthews (Bethany Church, Columbia), Payton Pope (Canvas Church, Salisbury), Helen Choi and Eli Choi. (Home Church)  (Photo submitted)

]BCM/D President Fred Caudle said, “It was a great networking and cooperative fellowship. We are better together and must keep the main thing the main thing — evangelism and missions!  Our commitment to God’s work is noticeable and exciting. Let’s not slow down or grow weary, but keeping our eyes on Jesus and His glory, let us in faith do even more to share Christ and make disciples!”

Feature photo: (Back row l-r) Pastor Chris Davis with wife Morgan Davis, Northwest Baptist Church, Glenn Swanson, pastor of Bayside Baptist Church, Chesapeake Beach, and (front l-r) Anna Swanson (daughter of Glenn and Sherri), and Sherri Swanson. (Photo courtesy of the Swanson family)