By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
MIDDLETOWN, Md.—BCM/D General Mission Board (GMB) members met at scenic Skycroft Conference Center for their Sept. 15 meeting. They gathered outside the newly remodeled Shepherd’s Rest for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour before trekking up the hill to the Skyview conference room.
Members heard what God is doing throughout the convention and got an update of this year’s upcoming annual meeting. They also approved the 2010 proposed BCM/D and Skycroft budgets, authorized a called meeting of messengers of the BCM/D to consider the sale of a portion of the BMRC building.
Outgoing GMB President Ron Stanley, Jr. called the meeting to order and introduced BCM/D Executive Director David Lee.
Executive Director Report
Lee thanked GMB members for making the special trip to Skycroft. “In addition to dedicating Shepherd’s Rest, I want you to have the opportunity to see the fruit of your decision to allow Skycroft development resources to expand our capability and ministry here. The staff does a tremendous job. There is a special presence of God’s Spirit on this mountain,” Lee said.
He reiterated the mission of the BCM/D, to intentionally assist in the starting and strengthening of congregations so that together we can accomplish the Great Commission as stated in Matt. 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8.
Lee said he would start with the “strengthening congregations” part of the mission statement.
“I can think of nothing that we can do as a state convention that can have greater impact on the health of our churches than to intentionally seek to develop and support our leaders,” Lee stated.
“You have witnessed the dream of a permanent Shepherd’s Rest come to reality as we dedicated that wonderful and comfortable facility for our ministers and their families,” Lee said.
Lee introduced his wife, Sherry, missionary for ministers’ wives and families. Sherry has been the driving force behind Shepherd’s Rest and has been overseeing the renovation and interior design to the last detail.
Sherry Lee also updated GMB members on upcoming women’s ministry events including a brunch at the BCM/D annual meeting and a Minister and Mates’ Retreat in January. A spring retreat is planned in March at the Doubletree Hotel in Annapolis.
There are ministers’ wives networks established in all 11 associations, Sherry informed members. There is also a Hispanic pastors’ wives network, and she hopes to have an Asian network soon.
There were two staff transitions since the last meeting, David Lee told board members. Thom Thornton, missionary for adult and collegiate evangelism, accepted a call to serve as student minister at Vanderbilt University. Maina Mwaura, missionary for student and children evangelism, has resigned effective Oct. 21.
Other positions to be filled include: an associate missionary for ministry evangelism, who would work with Ellen Udovich, an African-American church planting/evangelism missionary; a missionary for collegiate evangelism who will also serve as the campus minster at the US Naval Academy, missionary for adult and student evangelism and a church/minister relations missionary.
Lee told of his busy weekend. He spent his Friday evening watching Sherry work on Shepherd’s Rest, attended an appreciation luncheon for the Embrace Baltimore staff on Saturday, had lunch with a pastor on Sunday where the two talked about how God was at work in the pastor’s church. While there, he received a text that Infinity Church launched their Morgan State collegiate focused church with more than 200 present.
Lee said he concluded the weekend at the Asian Concert of Prayer.
“There is a stirring spirit that is coming out of that event. Keep your eyes on what is happening with our Asian brothers and sisters in Christ.
“I tell you all of this to tell you that God is blessing our cooperative missions effort,” Lee said.
He asked that GMB members take seriously the season of prayer and offering for State Missions.
Bob Simpson, BCM/D associate executive director/COO, presenting the financial report, stated that as of Aug. 31, Cooperative Program (CP) receipts were trailing last year by 3.4 percent, slightly below the $4.6 million budgeted. Tom Stolle, BCM/D CFO was not able to be present. Interest income significantly trails the budget due to extremely low market rates.
There is a reduction for year-to date spending in the areas of church services, church multiplication and Acts 1:8 missions involvement, contributing to the BCM/D positive “bottom line” of $15,584.57. Expense savings have contributed to offsetting the year-to-date spending slightly over budget in the areas of BMRC operations, communications and leadership development, largely due to timing.
State missions offering receipts of $203,850.54 in 2008 support this year’s State Missions ministries. This year’s offering will support 2010.
The balance sheet shows the BCM/D to be in a strong ready cash position, Simpson said. Obligations are paid in full and on time. The endowment funds continue to recover as the market rebounds and now exceeds $1.5 million.
Total escrows are $932,682.28, which includes $610,291.22 for BCM/D church planting and $87,058 for Embrace Baltimore church planting.
Administrative Committee Report
Rick Hancock, pastor of Dunkirk Church, reported for the Administrative Committee.
Members voted unanimously to approve a $6.5 million dollar BCM/D budget and a $1.8 million dollar Skycroft budget.
They also approved calling a special meeting of the BCM/D messengers on Oct. 20 to consider the sale of a portion of the 10255 Old Columbia Road building.
Currently, the BMRC has just less than 20,000 square feet. With the sale, BCM/D would retain 11,000 sq.ft. and sell just under 9,000 sq.ft. The sale would not impact the classroom, conference rooms or auditorium.
“Our missionary staff is on the field the majority of the time. They have virtual capabilities to stay in touch through computer and cell phone access. We are heating, cooling and maintaining a facility much larger than what we need to effectively accomplish our work now and in the foreseeable future,” Lee said.
If the transaction is approved by the special called meeting on Oct. 20, the buyer will make an escrow deposit, followed by a thirty-day study period with a closing date scheduled for around Dec. 1.
“Looking from a Kingdom standpoint, it’s stewardship,” Lee said. We will have more opportunity to put more money in ministry.
Agencies and Committees
Bob Gerstmyer, executive director of Baptist Family and Children’s Services, said BFCS continues to be faithful in the mission of giving children, families and individuals in crisis a new start, physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
Gerstmyer thanked the administrative committee for approving $10,000 for the back-to-school stores in several churches in Baltimore City. Statewide, 1,560 children received school supplies through ten churches located in or near distressed communities. The churches are following up with many of the families to invite them to church and minister to them. Many of the churches are also giving referrals to BFCS from some of those families.
The Help Line had 467 calls for assistance this year, exceeding the goal of 450. The goal for 2010 is 600.
The Eastern shore BFCS branch received a grant to begin an emergency respite program for youth whose families are in crisis.
Seventeen churches have outstanding loans from the church loan fund. For the year ending Sept. 30, the foundation anticipates earning income in excess of $130,000 from church loans. This income will be given to start and strengthen churches in the BCM/D.
Four churches have loans from the Arthur Nanney church loan fund, used for small emergency loans.
As of Aug. 31, the market value of the investment portfolio was approximately $5,075,000, reflecting returns of 18.7% year to date and 2.7% for the past year. The five-year return is 3.1%
The foundation trustees approved moving the investment portfolio from the management of PNC Institutional investments to the Kentucky Baptist Foundation. The transfer began on Sept. 1.
Strategy Team Reports
Ellen Udovich reported for the Acts 1:8 Missons Involvement Team. Udovich praised the work of the summer missionaries. Udovich said the missionaries blessed the churches, but they too were blessed by the churches.
Many churches can’t go away during she summer, but they can still do missions, Udovich said.
“This year we had 30 to 40 churches making health kits,” she told GMB members.
She told members she has had many meetings with state and county officials and everyone is taking the possible pandemic very seriously. “Whether or not flu does come, being prepared will help prepare your church for anything.” Udovich said.
Church members should know to have a three-day supply of food and water in the house, and to be in a position to help others around them also.
She told members to be preparing now to make sure contacts are current, and that there are plans to help vulnerable people.
“Make sure your folks know our neighbors are our mission field,” she said.
David Jackson, in a written report, said the Church Multiplication Team is on track to have the best year since 2006 and possibly 2004. As of July, 21 new works began in the convention—19 church plants and two multi-site satellite locations. These include African, Anglo-American, Asian Indian, Burmese, Filipino, Haitian, Hispanic, Korean and Vietnamese plants.
At least ten other new works are prepared to take place this year.
More online training videos for church planting and development are now available.
David Jackson wrote, “In July the North American Mission Board recognized the BCM/D with an award as the state convention that is ‘First in Enlistment.’ Some of the reasons for this recognition include our efforts in assessment; indigenous recruitment; online training and a language training center; the book, PlantLIFE; social media and the responsiveness of so many planters to the opportunities for service here at this time. We want to acknowledge BaptistLIFE, Dr. Lee and our General Mission Board and the churches these people represent for creating a climate that facilitates effective church planting here in the BCM/D.”
In a written report, Bob Simpson wrote that the Church Services Strategy Team (CSST) studied, researched and worked hard at enhancing the partnership between the BCM/D churches and the team.
One hundred twenty two people from 30 churches, representing ten associations, attended the annual Horizons Conference in July. The theme was “Navigating the Future.”
Randy Millwood reported for the Leadership Development and Support Team (LDST). The team is working with Robert Mathis, statistics professor of Southwestern Theological Seminary, in developing an evaluation system that protects anonymity and is reliable. Surveys were emailed and the data will be collected, collated and reported. The team will send random surveys out twice a year. Each will show “where we are” and “how we are tracking” toward turning mission into reality.
The team is also partnering with The Next Level Leadership Network, a sub-group of the North American Mission Board, to certify local facilitators in a comprehensive ministry teams strengthening model called ”Building Powerful Ministry Teams.
The Resource Development Team continues to focus on promoting the Cooperative Program and on planned giving. The team strives to find ways to educate churches about the value and purpose of the Cooperative Program. A promotional mailing was done in March and another in September.
Ad Hoc Committees
John Dixon reported for the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
The committee recommended amending Article IV of the BCM/D bylaws regarding a “convention attorney.” Currently the bylaws state that the “convention attorney” should be an ex-officio member of the General Mission Board and the Administrative Committee.
Dixon said the convention is now working with an attorney outside of the convention so the committee is recommending that the term “convention attorney” be removed and no longer considered an ex-officio member.
Messengers will vote on the constitutional change at this year’s annual meeting in November.
Other Business Reports
David Lee told members that this year’s annual meeting, on Nov. 8-10 will be different than it has ever been. It will begin Sunday evening and end Tuesday afternoon. There will be several brunches, training sessions and an opportunity for a first-hand mission tour of Baltimore. Details are on pages 12-13 in this issue of BaptistLIFE.
BCM/D President Byron Day spoke from Matt. 11:1-6. He told how John the Baptist sent word, asking if Jesus was indeed the Messiah.
Day said maybe John had in the back of his mind a Messiah on a white horse, kicking the Romans out of town.
“Very often, it doesn’t happen the way we think it’s going to happen. It doesn’t happen when we think it will happen,” Day said.
“In my ministry it’s a lot like that. Do you start to doubt? We’re human,” he said.
“Let me encourage you,” Day told members, “maybe you’re not getting as many baptisms but the results are not our responsibility. They’re His.”
“Aren’t you glad he went to Calvary so we could be qualified for heaven? I’m glad He decided to do it His way.”