By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
COLUMBIA, Md.—During the November 14-16 annual meeting of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, Byron Day, outgoing BCM/D president and senior pastor of Emmanuel Church, will pass on the gavel to a new president. BaptistLIFE correspondent, Shannon Baker, spoke with him as he reflected on his ministry the past two years.
BAPTISTLIFE: What are some of the highlights of your ministry as BCM/D president?
BYRON DAY: It seems that I have served as president during a time of significant transition at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware: the sale of a portion of the Baptist Missions Resource Center, the staff conversion to a more virtual staff, and being a part of the New Day experience [an effort to promote racial reconciliation]. This has been a lifelong dream of mine to have these dialogues. Though I did not seek this position, it does seem that God brought me here “for such a time as this.”
The Great Commission Resurgence issues were another transition. I tried to be a mediator in many ways with those who felt strongly for or against the initiative. My goal was to maintain unity, so that we could all stay together. The Bible tells us in the book of Ephesians that we are already one in Christ; but we must strive to maintain that unity. I feel that God allowed me to be a useful and hopefully effective vessel in maintaining that unity among Southern Baptists in Maryland and Delaware.
BAPTISTLIFE: How have you seen yourself grow while in this position?
BYRON DAY: It’s been challenging—a big time commitment—because of all the changes in addition to the meetings of the General Mission Board, the Administrative Committee, the Order of Business committee and so on. I’ve found myself involved in a lot of efforts, such as the dedication of the recently renovated Shepherd’s Rest and more than usual outside preaching requests. I also believe that God expanded my own leadership skills. It was a different type of burden than the normal pastoral burden. I often felt the weight of being in a way responsible for and to such a large and diverse constituency. I found it very challenging and obviously a huge responsibility to lead the Convention.
I thank God for that responsibility, that He sustained me through the process, and that He allowed me the joy of seeing things come to fruition: new church plants, the Antioch Experience, [church-planting training for African Americans] and so much more. All through my tenure, it has been great.
I’ve also been able to consistently pray for the Convention staff. Every Tuesday, I spend time in prayer specifically for them.
I have benefited also from building relationships with people throughout this process. I’ve built relationships with not just staff, but also other committee members. You become concerned for each other. You weep when they weep, and you rejoice when they rejoice.
BAPTISTLIFE: What is your advice for the next president?
BYRON DAY: I would say, pray a lot. Pray for wisdom and for God to keep your walk right. I was very mindful of who I was whether I was on vacation or on the job. I am the BCM/D president, and I should act accordingly.
Also, how to respond in the right manner is important. Don’t depend on your own knowledge, expertise or talents. Depend on God.
BAPTISTLIFE: Thank you, Byron, for all of your efforts and prayers. We thank God for you!