By Sharon Mager and Tally Wilgis
BALTIMORE, Md.—The Baltimore Baptist Association celebrated its 87th annual meeting at Freedom Church, Baltimore, on October 16. Led by Moderator Tally Wilgis, the messengers worshiped through song, celebrated several testimonies of God’s goodness, voted on a new budget, adopted a revised constitution & bylaws, elected a new Leadership Team and made history.
After voting on the leadership team, composed of three Caucasian members, an Asian American, and three African Americans, Wilgis said the BBA is now led by a “minority-majority.” “The BBA is now the most diverse it has ever been,” Wilgis said.
Upon making this announcement, the room erupted with applause. “It became clear to everyone present that God had been orchestrating something beautiful, and it was truly a ‘New Day’ in the BBA,” Wilgis said.
The new leadership team includes: Tally Wilgis, Captivate Christian Church, moderator; Jeremy Dickson, Freedom Church, vice moderator; Glenn Leatherman, Middle River Baptist Church, treasurer; Ryan Preston Palmer, Seventh Metro Church, at large; Dan Hyun, The Village Church, at-large; Montrel Haygood, The Garden Church, at-Large; and Andy Bell, Tabernacle Baptist Church.
“This year has been a very productive year in the life of the BBA,” said Wilgis. “Operating under an initiative called ‘New Day BBA,’ this year’s leadership team undertook many significant matters in order to create a stronger and more vibrant local association. After several years of deficit spending to cope with budgetary decline, the team took on the task of ‘reimagining’ the purpose and structure of the local association. The question the team asked was this: “If we were to start an association from scratch, what would it look like?”
The BBA, believing that there is a great role in the future for local associations, focused on providing great value to local churches, revised nearly every aspect of their organization. The leaders felt that if the BBA were to once again become the most relevant and most welcomed partner to the churches in the area of local missions, it had to become more efficient and effectual, which meant cutting back on overhead spending and focusing instead on getting resources “to” and “through” their member churches.
The decision was made to become an association without a full-time director of missions. The leadership team also decided to stop leasing real estate as a source of revenue and to become laser focused on increasing what the team called “perceived value.” The BBA Leadership team decided that every dollar of the organization would now be focused on ministry and mission. “Ministry” is where resources are directed “to” the local churches while “mission” is where resources are directed “through” local churches. To create an environment where more resources are being spent on ministry and mission, the BBA created a self-imposed limit of 35 percent of their projected budgeted income or all costs associated with overhead including salaries and property.
At the conclusion of the meeting, pastors stayed into the evening socializing and enjoying a great meal prepared by their hosts at Freedom Church.