By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—Carol Moore, executive assistant to former BCM/D Executive Directors Ken Lyle and Charles Barnes and currently assistant to David Lee, began her ministry at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware in 1981. She will retire on Dec. 31.
Moore smiles demurely and says she’s seen the ups and downs of convention life through the years. She’s seen the convention in times of loving harmony and she’s seen it polarized. But she’s always seen the spirit of God moving in men and women’s hearts.
“The love of the Lord draws us together,” Moore says.
She grew up attending Middle River Church and accepted Christ when she was eight years old during an altar call at a revival meeting. Moore remembers the song playing, “For you, I am praying.” Roy Gresham, then pastor of Middle River Church, baptized her.
She took business classes in high school and in college. Through the years, Moore said there were different “seasons,” some where she was closer to the Lord than others, but that God never let her far from His grip. She always felt His protective hand around her leading and loving her.
Moore said she was managing an office for three pediatricians when she received a phone call one evening from Minor Davidson, then, state director of missions. He asked her to come for an interview. Roy Gresham was the executive director. She discovered later that Maxine Willey, wife of James E. Willey (former pastor of Middle River Church and director of missions for Baltimore Association) had made the suggestion. Moore worked with Davidson and with Ron Rogers, then director of Christian Social Ministries, for four years before Ken Lyle asked her to move to the executive office, where she has remained.
“I was happy working in the pediatrician’s office, but I felt the call of the Lord and I answered that call,” she says. She began her work when the Baptist Mission Resource Center (BMRC) was located at 1313 York Road, next door to LifeWay. At that time, there were 370 churches including missions. Today that number has grown to 538.
Reflecting on the leaders she has served, she’s grateful for the ministry God has given her.
Each director she has assisted has been special she said, each in his own way.
“It was a great joy working with four men who were so different. It was a joy to have a small part in their ministry.
“Dr. Gresham was a diplomat and a friend to all,” Moore says.
“Ken Lyle was a visionary and a gifted orator. And he was a prolific writer as well. He dictated multitudes of letters each week, which I happily typed (most days) and mailed. He was a very detailed person.
“Mr. Barnes was a strategist and a humorist. On your worse day, Mr. Barnes could make you smile. And, he has a very generous heart. World hunger was his passion. I’ve known him to go without to help others.
“Dr. Lee, what is there to say? I have worked with him the longest. He is an encourager extraordinaire. He has the patience of Job and a heart like Jesus. Dr. Lee has wisdom, courage, and integrity. He is a natural leader, one that people want to follow.”
Moore said very few people, other than the Lord, their wives and assistants, know how much executive directors give of themselves and what they endure, “…how they hurt when other ministers they are shepherding and their families are having difficulties. No one knows the time they spend and the pain they feel,” she says.
Moore said she has also had a wonderful relationship with executive director wives.
“Judy (Lyle) was a woman of prayer. Laura (Barnes) was a strong supporter from afar, and Sherry (Lee) has a deep love for ministers’ wives and their families,” she says.
Moore knew from the beginning that discretion was a priority.
“Secrets?” Moore laughs, “You know the first six letters of secretary spell secret. Yes I have secrets.” And she’s managed them well, understanding the sensitive nature of the position and her responsibility before other ministers and before God.
Reflecting over the last 30 years, Moore says she’s seen many changes. The word “Internet” was first used the year Moore stepped into the BMRC office. It had been a world of dictation and typing.
“We did have electric typewriters,” Moore points out with a chuckle. She and other staff had to faithfully take classes to learn how to operate computers, hating it every step of the way until realizing how it revolutionized the work.
In church life, Moore says she’s seen a definite shift in worship styles.
“Thinking back, music in our churches has definitely changed. Where most churches sang the traditional hymns, accompanied by an organ and piano, and were led in worship by a choir wearing robes, today, we see the use of many instruments, praise teams, and loud, joyful singing.
“As with many traditions, this change in our music has been debated at length. Personally, I love all types of music – hymns, praise songs, classical, southern gospel… I believe the more important issue is that we want to introduce people to our loving Heavenly Father who cares for all and desires that none should perish.
“Another change that I have seen through the years is the support of the Cooperative Program (CP) – the unique way that Southern Baptists support missions and ministries,” Moore reflects.
“I don’t believe we are telling folks how effective CP is like we once did. In past years, the Convention had the solid support of our churches contributing through the Cooperative Program. Today, many question its effectiveness.
“The Cooperative Program allows the 42,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention to do what no one church could do alone. CP helps us to support 5,000 missionaries here in North America, and another 5,000 in 153 nations around the world, not to mention many other ministries and programs.
“The saying, ‘If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,’ seems to me to apply to CP. It works wonderfully when used the way it was meant to be. It also allows everyone to participate. Not every individual or church can give hundreds of dollars, but everyone can give something. Little is much, when God is in it.”
Moore has been a fixture in BCM/D life. She’s the smiling face taking notes at General Mission Board meetings, the drive behind logistics at the annual meeting, and the pleasant, organized, efficient force that manages the executive office.
She has organized and managed for three decades, all behind the scenes and that’s where she feels the most comfortable.
“I’m a back row person. I like to make things happen from afar,” she says.
But Moore definitely makes things happen. “I know of no one single person who has had more impact on the ministry of the Baptist Convention of MD/DE for the past three decades than Carol Moore,” says David Lee, current BCM/D executive director. “I speak for all the Executive Directors who have served alongside Carol when I say that her selfless service to us and to our Lord, her focus on things being done well and with integrity, and her tireless willingness to go beyond the call of duty greatly impacted our ministries.”
“I heard someone refer to her recently as a ‘legend.’ I would agree with that.”
As Moore retires from the office she’ll have more time to spend with her husband Harold and to enjoy listening to music, singing and writing. But she’s not retiring from God’s call. She doesn’t know what she’ll do next, she’s waiting for God to open the door He has for her, knowing His plans are not always hers.
Her favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”