BCM/D Second Annual Town Hall Recap

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Pastors from across the BCM/D gathered at Bethany Church, Columbia, for BCM/D’s second annual Town Hall. They heard updates on church partnerships, church planting, the sexual abuse task force, and Skycroft Conference Center. Additionally, they heard from directors of missions. BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle addressed everyone, encouraging pastors, sharing goals, and inviting all to the upcoming BCM/D Annual Meeting on November 10 – 11. Additionally, attendees heard resolutions for the upcoming Annual Meeting and a second reading of proposed constitutional changes. Church Planting Team Leader Jamie Caldwell served as the emcee.

Adron Dozat (l) and Ellen Udovich (r) greet visitors at the BCM/D Town Hall. (Photo by Dominic Henry)

Stolle began the meeting, sharing from Matthew 22:37-39, “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (ESV) As we move forward and partner together, we’re to love each other – pastors, deacons, elders, lay people, people in our communities – we are to love each other.” Stolle’s words set the theme for the day – partnership!

Dan Hyun, BCM/D church partnership team leader, told the group partnership is really about relationships. “Ministry is really hard. Some of you are walking through that right now. But at the same time, though ministry is complicated, there’s also a simplistic aspect to it. Ultimately, it’s about relationship. Ultimately, it’s about doing what we can to create space for people to be in better relationships with God and one another, and that’s why our state staff exists.”

Caldwell told pastors, “We have one of the most fruitful partnerships in all the northeast, between NAMB (the North American Mission Board), Send Network, and the BCM/D.” Caldwell thanked pastors and the BCM/D for supporting church planting through funds, attention, and much work. “At the end of the day, as a convention and a denomination, we support and send missionaries. That’s what made us Baptists almost from the beginning is this mission effort.”  And it continues today.

Keasha Wormley, Freedom Church, Baltimore, led worship during the BCM/D Town Hall. (Photo by Dominic Henry)

Skycroft Conference Center Director Emily Reedy reported that 2023 marked the return of summer missionaries to Skycroft. She said 83 churches sent groups of youth or children to camp this summer, and 85 individuals made decisions to follow Christ. One individual made that decision at the Everyone Belongs Camp and was baptized following camp. Additionally, over 50 teens expressed that they felt called into ministry service, and countless took steps toward Christ. Three teens were baptized in Skycroft’s swimming pool.

Associational Update
Fred Caudle, the director of missions for the Potomac Baptist Association, said associations exist for the church and are provided for by church contributions. Summarizing several associational events and ministries over the past year, Caudle listed youth events, international student ministry, missions scholarships, workshops, conferences, assisting in planting churches, revitalization, and introducing partnerships between two or more churches for support. “We always do better together,” he said.

Potomac Association Director of Missions Fred Caudle shared an associational udpate at the BCM/D Town Hall. (Photo by Dominic Henry)

Caudle also emphasized the strong partnership between BCM/D and associations. “In the last two years, a great and better partnership has emerged between the convention and local associations.” Caudle said BCM/D leaders are joining DOMs in monthly meetings, and their presence has “been a tremendous blessing” and helped strengthen the relationship. Caudle said, “This past August, we met and joined 11 associations of calendars with the BCM/D calendar coming up for 2024. The biggest benefit is that you will be able to see how we’re using your gifts without duplications and competition but working together.” Caudle also referenced the BCM/D providing associations $10,000 each per calendar year for the past two years — $5,000 for ministry to do local work and $5,000 for special work to support churches.

Resolution Committee
Greg Kame, the Arundel Baptist Association director of missions and chair of the resolutions committee, reviewed two new resolutions. One from the BCM/D expressed appreciation for Kettering Baptist Church for hosting the BCM/D Annual Meeting in November. The second resolution affirmed biblical values in an ungodly society. They will be voted upon at the annual meeting. There was no discussion.

Keith Myer, the Eastern Baptist Association director of missions and chair of the BCM/D Sexual Abuse Task Force, shared an update regarding the task force, including the recent Caring Well Sunday, and then discussed the information on the second reading of the changes in the BCM/D Constitution, Article III Section 1 that will be voted on at the annual meeting. The changes are regarding churches seeking to protect vulnerable adults and children from sexual abuse and an amendment to the article adding a disaffiliation clause (see the official proposed changes by clicking on the button below). Myer said we want to assist churches affiliated with the convention to ensure the protection of the vulnerable and take the issue seriously “for the sake of the reputation of the Lord Jesus, for the safety of people, and for the reputation of the Gospel.” He emphasized the follow-up would be through questions on the Annual Church Profile. Responding to questions on the floor, Myer said the task force is there to help any church that has questions on how to handle various issues that arise and that the convention stands ready to help churches in these areas.

Regarding the disaffiliation clause, Myer, while still emphasizing church autonomy, said, “If a church has behavior or belief contrary to what we believe, we will approach the church, ask questions, and, if necessary, disaffiliate.” Myer emphasized, “We are primarily a relational organization and view churches as partners and friends. If someone reaches out and says there’s a situation in a church that’s not being dealt with correctly, the BCM/D will come along and ask, ‘How can we help?’”

Keith Myer gave an update from the BCM/D Sexual Abuse Task Force at the BCM/D Annual Town Hall. (Photo by Dominic Henry)

African American Fellowship
Byron Day shared about the African American Fellowship of Maryland/Delaware (AAF). “It started in 1998 with three DOMs — Prince George’s, Montgomery, and Baltimore, meeting with (then) executive director Charles Barnes and seeing a need to reach out to African American churches that were growing and wanted to be a part of and learn about SBC life.” Day said the fellowship seeks to provide a united base for churches that identify as African American congregations to connect together and build relationships.

At the end of the Town Hall, Jamie Caldwell led everyone in a time of corporate prayer. (Photo by Dominic Henry)

Day shared about the new George Liele Leadership Institute, a vehicle for church planting, revitalization and missions. “We just launched our first semester, just two classes, and had over 40 different people register, and that’s exciting. We believe it’s only the beginning, and God will continue to bless.”

Executive Director
Tom Stolle shared, “We believe in partnership and want to emphasize it. Our primary priority is partnership and it has to be more than lip service. Partnership doesn’t mean one person walks out in front and one person follows behind. Partnership means we hold hands. Partnership means we serve alongside. When we come alongside each other, we can accomplish more for Jesus than we can apart.

“We can partner together, but without a deep relationship, there cannot be a deep partnership. I believe what God wants is a deep partnership between His believers.

“I believe it takes an army of people to meet a multitude of needs. We’re part of God’s army in Maryland/Delaware and we need to serve together. We should strive to love each other and those around us.” Stolle said, ”I believe we can partner in three primary ways: prayer, service and giving.

He shared, “As we partner in prayer, our love will grow and our priorities will become more aligned. When we serve others, we become the hands and feet of Jesus.” Service, he said, is “love in action.” Another way to partner is in giving, he said. Though it does involve money, it goes far beyond that. “Are we willing to give ourselves wholly to what God has called us to do as individuals, churches and ministry partners – not for our glory, but for God’s glory?”

Jamie Caldwell led in a time of corporate prayer, followed by a time of fellowship over a catered meal.

Watch the entire Town Hall with much more information and discussion on Facebook live.

Click on the button below to read the proposed constitutional changes.