GMB Approves 2022 Budget, Prays for Transition

MIDDLETOWN, Md — The Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware’s (BCM/D) General Mission Board (GMB) gathered at Skycroft Conference Center for their Sept. 14, 2021 meeting. In addition to sharing updates and handling general business, members approved the 2022 budget and prayed together for Dr. Kevin Smith after announcing his resignation.

Executive director resigns
Smith informed GMB members that after serving for over five years, he is resigning from his role as executive director and returning to the pastorate.

Reflecting on his tenure, Smith said, “This is a wonderful position of denominational service, and I enjoyed this work tremendously … I simply miss the local congregation.”

Smith (l) resigns. Dooley (r) is serving as the interim executive director. Smith will assist Dooley until Oct. 15 (photo by Rosalie Chesley).

He stated that he valued continuity and that his resignation would not derail the convention’s efforts. The Administrative Committee (AC) appointed Mark Dooley as the interim executive director beginning Sept. 15, 2021. Smith will continue to work with Dooley through Oct. 15.

Dooley and BCM/D President Harold Phillips will jointly present Vision 2025 at the Annual Meeting in November.

GMB President Frank Duncan expressed his appreciation for Dr. Smith’s leadership, and he stated that the GMB is responsible for selecting the executive director. The Administrative Committee (AC) will form a search committee. When a candidate is found, the AC will present that person to the GMB for approval.

Executive director’s report
Smith expressed his gratefulness to Associate Executive Director Tom Stolle for his tireless work, Emily Reedy for her leadership at Skycroft, and the GMB and their faithfulness to serve.

He introduced the 2022 proposed budget, which reflects the Cooperative Program (CP) split remaining at 48/52. The split refers to sending 48% of CP funds received to national Southern Baptist entities and keeping 52% for Maryland/Delaware ministry.

Board members approved the motion to accept the budget. It will be referred to messengers at the Annual Meeting as presented.

Financial report
Sharing the financial report, Stolle informed messengers that CP receipts for the eight months ended Aug. 31, 2021, totaled $2,169,104.24. This is $(25,373.17) or (1.2)% behind 2020’s year-to-date results, trailing the year-to-date budget by $(264,229.09) or (10.9)%. “Basically, we are tracking at the 2020 pandemic level of receipts,” Stolle said.

All major expense areas, except Church Planting, are running below the year-to-date budget. This is expected as the staff has 75% spending limits on most non-salary budget line items. Stolle said that the staff has held the COVID-19 protocol in place while navigating the economics associated with the pandemic.

Currently, the bottom line shows a deficit of $(119,654.54). While breakeven for the year is possible, it will be tight, Stolle shared. CP will have to at least meet 2020 levels, and staff will have to hold the line on reduced expenditures. 

State Missions Offering
“The State Missions Offering has declined in receipts over the last couple of years,” Stolle reported. The $103,041.90 received in 2020 is funding the 2021 initiatives, he explained. There are three funded 2021 initiatives: special needs, Disaster Relief, and Kenya missions. 

Regarding Skycroft Conference Center, receipts totaling $744,602.36 are running approximately $555,064.31 behind the year-to-date budget. While full forgiveness of the PPP loan will result in income recognition of an additional $384,000, this will not cover the revenue shortfall.

Expenses totaling $886,344.19 are running far behind budget as well. While fewer guests equate to lower receipts, this also results in lower expenses.

President’s message
Phillips shared a closing devotion. Reading from Psalm 91, he emphasized the transformational power of prayer.

Phillips led GMB members in praying for Dr. Smith as he transitions to his new calling.

New pastor orientation
While the GMB met, at least 15 pastors new to Maryland/Delaware attended a BCM/D orientation session. Prior to lunch, Dooley shared about the CP and and how it funds the BCM/D’s cooperative ministries. Following lunch, convention staff shared their roles and how the convention assists churches.

Stolle shared about special ministry and how churches can partner with the BCM/D to minister to individuals and families affected by special needs. Church Services Consultant Randy Millwood, using a trivia-type game, shared about BCM/D’s history. Kris Buckman used object lessons to share about children’s and youth ministry consulting. Pastors pulled paper bags with items inside from under their chairs, such as a combination lock (she helps churches with their security needs) or legos (she connects leaders for collaboration and idea-sharing).

Dooley shared about the role of Church Services and Michael Crawford, Send Network director for MD/DE, shared about the role of Church Planting.

Other consultants also shared: Melody Knox explained her role as a women’s ministry consultant and Ellen Udovich shared about disaster relief and community engagement. Emily Reedy, director of Skycroft, provided information about the conference center.

Sharon Mager is a Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware communications specialist and BaptistLIFE church correspondent.

Cover photo: Smith prays over Dooley (photo by Rosalie Chesley).