By Doug DuBois and Sharon Mager
COLUMBIA, Md.––Doug DuBois, executive director of Skycroft Conference Center and Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware student evangelism missionary, is enjoying where God has placed him. It’s evident in his smile and demeanor. At the Sept. 11 General Mission Board meeting at the Baptist Mission Resource Center, DuBois was animated and excited as he reported what God is doing at Skycroft and with student ministry.
“As I stand here today, I am a little sentimental. You see it was in this building, in the middle of September back in 1996 that I met with Charles Barnes (former BCM/D executive director), John Faris (former BCM/D director of finance and development) & Beryl Little (former director of Skycroft) to discuss my taking the job of assistant manager of Skycroft. It has been a great 16 years and I have had the chance over the past month or so to look back at where Skycroft was then and where it has come.
“In 1997, after Skycroft had finished paying back the loan it took from the convention to build the motel buildings, it began to contribute $100,000 back to the general budget of the convention. Over the years that amount has grown to an annual amount of $150,000.
“In my discussions with other state conventions and associations that own conference centers, the Baptist Convention of MD/D is in a position that no other state or association relates. Other states have begun to close or sell their properties due to the financial strain that comes with owning the property. As of 2010 Skycroft was one of three conference centers that did not receive funding from the parent organization and the only one that contributed money back.”
DuBois’ position changed two years ago. In 2010, DuBois met with BCM/D Associate Executive Director Bob Simpson and discussed the possibility of taking on the responsibility of Student Evangelism Missionary along with his position as director of Skycroft.
“While this new position sounded great and re-energized me personally for ministry, it also combined two areas that have seemed to work very well together. I will admit that sometimes the two positions seem overwhelming, however they are very rewarding.
“With holding the positions of Director of Skycroft and also the Student Ministry person, I have been able to look at vacant dates at Skycroft and then plan events for students that we could offer at a reduced rate. One example of that is our winter retreats, ‘reBOOT.’
“Years ago, some of you might remember, associations used to book all of Skycroft for winter youth weekends and they would have to guarantee the reservation. When their attendee numbers were low, the association would lose thousands of dollars. This caused associations to stop booking events.
“Two years ago I decided to pick a date in December that Skycroft was normally vacant and create a student event. We named that event ‘reBOOT.’ The first year we had 180 students attend, last year we had 400 students attend and this year we have two weekends scheduled with one of those weekends currently closed with 330 students registered.
DuBois shared the following statistics from just eight weeks this summer at Skycroft:
• Over $7,000 was raised for missions. Half of that money went directly to a church plant in our convention. The other half was spent on a four-week tutoring program for students in the poorest areas of Frederick City. We also provided 40 backpacks with all school supplies and paid money towards their school lunch program. Next year our goal is to move from four weeks of tutoring to eight weeks and we already have one church signed up for a mission camp that will take care of that for one of those weeks.
• Over 900 students attend our teenage camps and over 1,400 attend our children’s camps.
• During their teenage camps, DuBois teaches a leadership lab directed towards the next generation of leaders. During this 6:30 a.m. class, there were 157 students that attend over a period of three weeks.
• This year alone, during those eight weeks, 159 students made commitments to follow Christ and another 212 made other decisions.
• Twelve from the summer camp staff came from our BCM/D churches and 10 of those had come as a camper with their church in the past.
“It is my belief that Skycroft is a key part of our two-state convention,” Dubois said. “I can’t tell you how many people that I have had the chance to speak with that made life decisions on the mountain. When I think about the future of Skycroft, there are many things that come to mind.”
He added, “Here is just a small glimpse of my personal vision for Skycroft that falls under the mission and vision of our state convention, to assist in starting and strengthening congregations:
• A church planting training center for the Northeast
• A place that provides specific retreats designed and focused on the health and rest of pastors and church leadership
• A training location for the next generation of church leaders
• The state of the art location for churches across our two state convention to train their congregation or staff
• A place that provides short term, in state, mission trips to Frederick and the surrounding area. Frederick is the second largest city in Maryland and one of the largest growing Hispanic populations in the state.”
For more information about Skycroft Conference Center, see http://skycroft.org/ or call 1.800.536.6759.
(This is an excerpt of a report given by Doug DuBois at the BCM/D General Mission Board Meeting on Sept. 11)