GMB Meeting: Nothing is Impossible With God

Top view of hand holding teal ribbon on dark background with copy space. Cervical and ovarian cancer, sexual assault, pcos, ptsd, anxiety disorder, agoraphobia and scleroderma awareness concept.

COLUMBIA, Md. — The General Mission Board of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware had their final meeting of 2023 on Dec. 5 at the Baptist Center. Highlights included a presentation by Jess Senasack, BCM/D Collegiate Ministry Missionary, who shared about God’s astounding work on campuses throughout Maryland/Delaware and the opportunities churches have to partner; a discussion about the recent BCM/D Annual Meeting and Skycroft’s remarkable turnaround since Covid. They also heard Fred Caudle’s first BCM/D president’s address to the GMB — Caudle was elected to the office in

New General Mission Board members met for GMB orientation with BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle (second from right) and BCM/D President Fred Caudle, second from left (front) . (Photo By Sharon Mager

November. GMB President Byron Day shared a short devotion from Psalm 103, the well-known Psalm that begins with “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

Day shared that in the Psalm, David says God deserves all praise, honor, credit, applause, and so on. “He deserves all of that,” Day said. “All that is within me from my head to toe – body, soul, and spirit is to be involved in praising our God,” Describing the end of the Psalm, Day said David “explodes like a volcano” in praise, as he invites angels, the heavenly host, and all the works of His hand in all places to praise Him.

Having recently attended a funeral, Day encouraged members to keep eternity in mind. “We are here for just a little while. We’re just passing through…we are just a vapor. We want to make sure that while we’re here, we complete our assignment to glory and honor God, tell everyone we can about Jesus, and make disciples of all nations for His glory and honor — not for us to be seen and heard, but for His glory because we love Jesus so much for what he has done for us.”

Executive Director’s Report
In light of the Christmas season, BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle shared the annunciation scriptures in Luke 1:30-38, as the angel Gabriel speaks to Mary.

“And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant[e] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.

Executive Director Tom Stolle with Communications Director/Human Resources Manager Megan Jones. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

You know the story, Stolle said, Gabriel tells Mary you’re going to have a son, and He will save people from their sins. “Mary asks, ‘How is this possible?’ Gabriel tells her how, and Mary says, ‘I don’t know what people are going to think of me, but I’m In.

“I want to focus on ‘Nothing is impossible with God,’ and I want this to be our manta in 2024.”

Stolle invited members to be all in as well. He said, “I ask you to join with me in prayer …

  • That our BCM/D would experience a continued advance in ministry to women – ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’
  • That our BCM/D would experience a continued advance in our ministry to men – ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’
  • That our BCM/D would experience a continued advance in efforts with our affiliated churches in our commitment to ensure that churches are safe spaces for children and vulnerable adults – ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’
  • That our BCM/D would experience a continued advance in sharing the Gospel with the world’s largest lost people group, individuals affected by disabilities – ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’
  • That our BCM/D would experience a continued advance in ministry to the poor – ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’
  • That our BCM/D would experience a continued advance in church planting – ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’
  • That our BCM/D would experience a continued advance in care for individuals that are in crisis – ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’

“And you could all think of 50 other things and we could all end it with — ‘For nothing is impossible with God.’

“I could go on and on, but the point is that if we pray, believing that nothing is impossible with God, If we put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving

GMB members Nathaniel Thomas with Harold Phillips. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

forward in the confidence that nothing is impossible with God, we just might look around one day and recognize that God did a lot.

“Why is partnership the way forward? Why do we partner in prayer, service, and giving? Do we do it in vain? No. We do it because we believe ‘nothing is impossible with God.’

Collegiate Ministry Update
Stolle said he has been praying, asking God to show him how the BCM/D can reach college students and God is answering those prayers. He introduced Jess Senasack, recently promoted to BCM/D Collegiate Ministry Missionary, to share how God is moving throughout college campuses.

Senasack praised God for the quick growth of collegiate ministry since she stepped into her new leadership role earlier this year, and she attributes it all to God.

“In May, when I started, I knew of five active Baptist Ministries with full-time staff on college campuses. Since then, I have discovered a handful of BCM/D churches doing ministry on campuses. We started two new BCMs this fall at Montgomery College Germantown and Salisbury University.

Jess Senasack shares about collegiate ministry opportunities. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

“For the spring semester, we have at least four campuses where we are hoping to get Bible studies happening (including Morgan State), and I have eight other pastors who have reached out to me to talk about how they can get something started on campuses near them.

“Do we have enough resources? No. But nothing is impossible with God,” she said with a smile and nod to Stolle.

I’ve got a lot of work to do! I appreciate your prayers, and if you want to get involved through finances, intentional prayer, or want to be on campus, I am here to help you with that.”

Senasack also urged church leaders to contact her when they have college students, preferably before they start classes, so she can help them get plugged in with a BCM group. Contact Senasack at [email protected]

Annual Meeting Review
Stolle took the time to review the BCM/D Annual Meeting last month at Kettering Baptist Church and asked for feedback.

He commended Megan Jones, BCM/D Communications Director/Human Resources Manager, who handled operations for the event. “We couldn’t have pulled it off without Megan. She rallied all the staff and made sure everything got done.”

BCM/D Executive Director Tom Stolle addresses the BCM/D General Mission Board (Photo by Sharon Mager)

“I thought worship was outstanding, energetic and was high quality, which is really important,” he said. Worship prepares the heart for the message,” Stolle said, adding, “It was also some of the best preaching I’ve heard in the 20 years since I’ve been serving with the convention. I listened to Glenn (Swanson), Victor (Kirk), Jay (Jones) and Jimmy (Painter) lay down four of the most outstanding sermons we’ve had in an annual meeting. I look forward to the future.”

Stolle said, “The Spirit of the meeting was the best I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never seen an altar call at an annual meeting. The moment was powerful, and the fellowship was really good. Also, that (Mid-Maryland sponsored) associational prayer meeting added a lot of value! It was great and helped to set the tone for the meeting. Stolle said I hope we’ll have different associations partner and do prayer meetings in the future.

“I believe prayer moves the hand of God, and if we’re not praying before we go into a meeting like that, it is foolish.”

Jason Pamblanco, senior pastor of Leonardtown Baptist Church, commended the BCM/D staff for communicating well, mentioning the 2023 Town Hall, where specific information about the meeting and resolutions was provided in advance.

Stolle said he will continue incorporating the directors of mission (DOMs) into the Annual Meeting programs. “They are faithful men who serve Jesus,” he said. He noted that there are now DOMs serving on the GMB, including the president and first vice president. “That pulls us more together,” Stolle said.

GMB members met in groups to pray. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

The 2024 meeting will be in Ocean City and go back to the Sunday/Monday time slot, and we will be adding be high-quality breakouts and a worship set playlist furnished in advance.

Financial Report
Stolle, sharing the financial report, shared that Cooperative Program receipts for the ten months ended October 31, 2023, total $2,544,753.89. This is $(162,370.07) or (6.0)% behind the last year-to-date (YTD) actual results. Receipts also trail the YTD budget by $(288,579.44). Concerning direct giving to the BCM/D, note we are already $24,326.74 over the entire year budget of $120,000.

All major expense areas except for Finance/Facility Operations are running below the YTD budget. The Finance/Facility overage is related to the higher-than-budgeted legal, insurance and technology expenses. Stolle said the staff will be asked to closely monitor expenses and tighten where necessary.

Currently, the bottom line shows a deficit of $(198,370.22). Management believes breakeven for the year is possible, but if December Cooperative Program giving is lower than anticipated, we could end the year with a slight deficit.

Regarding State Missions Offering, the $90,659.83 that was received in 2022 funded the 2023 grants to churches.

Looking at Skycroft Conference Center financial reports, Stolle said, “This has been a good year for Skycroft. We had seven weeks of camp. Every day was sold out, and we had 85 professions of faith in Jesus. We’ve had so much demand that we’ve added an eighth week of camp for next summer.”

Stolle said he asked Skycroft Director Emily Reedy how she and her staff can handle an eighth week with all the work involved, and she replied, how can we not?

Executive Director Tom Stolle shares the financial report with the GMB. (Photo by Sharon. Mager)

Receipts totaling $2,410,159.78 are running ahead of the YTD budget. Skycroft is experiencing stronger usage from both camp attendees and general usage. Demand has increased. Necessary price increases have helped.

Expenses totaling $2,243,398.15 are running ahead of budget as well. Stolle pointed out that higher numbers of guests equates to higher receipts but also results in higher expenses.

For the ten months ended July 31, 2023, the net Skycroft surplus is $166,761.63.  Although November and December attendance at Skycroft is lower than in the summer months, management believes the conference center will end the year in at least a break-even position. “We are positioned to build on our post-pandemic recovery as attendance is very high,” Stolle said.

He brought the report to a close with his familiar words, “The BCMD is in a good ready cash position with its bills paid on full and on time.”

Baptist Foundation Report
Stolle shared the Baptist Foundation report. As of September 30, 2023, the Baptist Foundation of Maryland/Delaware reported managed assets of approximately $12.5 million dollars ($9.4 million in invested funds and $3.1 million in church loan funds).

Through the Foundation’s Church Loan programs, 17 churches affiliated with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware are being assisted with approximately $2.5 million dollars in outstanding loans. The advantages of these church loans are favorable interest rates and low closing costs. The Foundation makes a distribution annually to the BCM/D to be used to start churches and to strengthen existing churches. The distribution for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2023, totaled $120,637.87. This investment into BCM/D church planting and strengthening efforts was celebrated at our annual meeting.

BCM/D President Fred Caudle shares his inaugral president‘s messasge at the GMB meeting. (Photo by Sharon Mager)

The Baptist Foundation is positioned to manage endowment funds for churches while saving them money on administration. Even churches with modest investment needs may take advantage of discounts typically offered only to much larger dollar investors simply by using the services of the Baptist Foundation. We encourage churches to partner with us to create Heritage Funds to ensure funding for their future ministry efforts.

An additional investment option exists via our partnership with the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, offering BCM/D affiliated churches a low-risk investment alternative to traditional money market and savings accounts. The “Maryland/Delaware Investment Fund” is an investment option for our churches with an interest rate of 4.25%.

President’s Address
In his inaugural address to the General Mission Board, BCM/D President Fred Caudle shared a short devotion on love. He referenced 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins.”

“That verse pierces my heart,” Caudle said. “Love is a verb. It is never described as a feeling or mood — it‘s always an action. Our natural selves don’t lean towards love, but rather to sin. This is displayed in all of the broken lives around us,” he said.

“I want to encourage us to live in the witness of the Thessalonian church.” Caudle said, quoting 2Thess 1:3, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.”

Caudle asked, “Is our love always increasing? A noticeable and great mark of a healthy church is an ever-increasing love — not only toward our Lord Jesus Christ but to one another,” he said. “Jesus demonstrated His love. The encouragement to love one another is from God. God taught us how to love.”

In closing, he said, “If you think you’ve loved enough, love more.”

Caudle re-iterated, “Love covers a multitude of sins.”