Q&A With Potomac DOM Fred Caudle
Please share a bit about yourself and your family
I’ve been the senior pastor at The Church @ St. Charles, chartered as the First Baptist Church of St. Charles, for twenty years this October. My wife, Kay, and I just celebrated our 30th Anniversary together, and we are blessed to have two beautiful daughters — Shelby, our oldest, and her husband Zach, who received the blessing of their first child in December 2021. Regan was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) and spent her first ten months in ICU at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and then Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as God wonderfully brought her through two heart surgeries and other procedures. Though she still is suffering from Pulmonary Hypertension, she is doing very well, and our Lord’s watchful and loving care has been and will be a wonderful testimony as she continues to grow and prosper.
Megan, our youngest, is just getting started in life and doing well in her career and helps our church tremendously in the sound and video production of our worship services.
How did you come to the Lord?
I was brought up in a very loving and godly home. I watched my mom and dad give sacrificially to the work and fellowship of the church and live out the redeemed life as an example to follow. At ten, I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and was blessed to spend my teenage years reading and studying the Bible … even weird enough to buy commentaries and theological books! When I was seventeen, I received the call to be a pastor and preached at the FBCSC that year. It was a disaster lasting five minutes which seemed to me like an eternity. I pursued the education needed, but at the age of twenty-one, I forsook much of my upbringing and what God had called me to. I went through about five years of being immersed in the world, and then by God’s grace, I was called to return to Him through a series of events — the most significant was meeting Kay, my wife, and best friend, who reminded me of God’s love and strength. Though I had wandered greatly away from the faith, the words of 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself,” proved true in my early life. After a few years of coming back to the Lord, I recommitted my life to His original call and began to preach in various ways as “pulpit supply.” In 2002, by God’s grace and mercy, He worked in my heart and the hearts of The Church @ St Charles’ leadership to call me as their pastor.
In all this, I learned that faith is a great work of examining ourselves in the Lord to trust Him in what He has written and commanded, and in trusting our Lord in whatever the outcome might be, since that too is in His hands. Though my mom and dad demonstrated great faith, I could not live on their faith; but I had to personally pursue a life of faith where I relinquished myself and believed and trusted in God and the One whom He sent. And by God’s grace, this is my daily striving.
Each association has its own culture – how would you describe yours?
If I had to describe the Potomac Baptist Association, I would say we are a modest family of thirty churches in small but fast-growing communities within our three counties. The heart of all our churches is large, and each desires, in their unique way, to work the Great Commission as God has gifted them. Each church is different in practice and gifting, but each church has a great love for the Lord Jesus.
Our pastors seek a close fellowship with one another and there is a great bond in the Spirit of the Lord to help one another and always pray for one another and the church. The PBA is committed to our core value, “Your Church Is Our Mission.” Our strategy to fulfill this value is “PBA Ready.” To be fully available and fully prepared, PBA focuses on developing and maintaining fellowship, opportunities, resources, and training.
We want to fulfill the old adage, “We can do more together than apart”. Nothing is more impactful or needful than working together to reach the lost in the Potomac Baptist mission field.
How has God been blessing your association
Like all churches and their local associations, God has blessed us through the very tumultuous time of COVID and cultural unrest. Our former DOM, Keith Corrick, retired in December 2019, and within months the world changed with shutdowns and social distancing. While we searched for where God would lead the Association, even during this challenging time, God provided strength, resources, and direction. We have restructured in many ways and, by God’s grace, are facing new challenges with fresh vision and strategies. Just short of ending my first year at PBA as Co-Vocational DOM, I am grateful and thankful for God’s wisdom as He continues to bless and lead us. There is much to do, but God is always faithful.
What are some challenges?
I believe all churches and local associations are facing the same challenge, but maybe in different contexts of large and small membership. The world around us has shifted (‘moved’ might be a better word) in gigantic ways; what was normal two years ago is now antiquated. Helping one another identify people’s needs, beliefs, and pursuits in order to give witness to the gospel will be largely challenging. This is especially true in light of ideologies and political differences causing walls that separate and damage relationships, and also the general lethargic attitude toward spiritual matters and truth in our culture.
The busyness of people’s lives and the “twenty-four-hour life” that businesses, the internet, and social media have perfected is one of the greatest challenges to meeting people where they are, even those in the church. I believe the local associations will need to help guide, train, and facilitate new and fresh opportunities to engage their communities and to reach the lostness with the gospel. We need to use all the resources God has gifted the local church for His glory to meet the “24-hour life people” with wisdom, love, and dependence on God alone.
How can we pray for you, and for the association?
We would welcome and appreciate prayers for our local churches to reach our lostness right around the parking lots of our churches. Our population statistics show our three primary counties approaching 400,000 in population with some 95,000 souls without the gospel witness. Pray that we can do more in Christ as an Association of churches than separately to reach the lostness in Southern Maryland. Pray also for our vision and strategy of PBA Ready.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
On a personal note, I am excited to see the BCM/D under the leadership of our Executive Director, Michael Crawford, emphasize the associations of the BCM/D and the new and fresh opportunities to work and partner together to strengthen churches. The Cooperative spirit of SBC life is the one characteristic I truly value and appreciate. The challenges before us are met in the Lord, and the cooperative spirit is the way we can do more together than separately.