By Shannon Baker
COLUMBIA, Md.—The General Mission Board (GMB) of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) has named Tom Stolle, current chief financial officer and chief operating officer, as associate executive director of the convention.
Bringing his recommendation to the GMB, BCM/D Executive Director Kevin Smith said, “The new title will allow all staff to be accountable to me through the associate executive director, who will have supervision over the operations staff and extended supervision through our three team leaders and all other staff.”
The supervision for the NAMB-provided Church-Planting staff is by Michael Crawford, state director of missions, and the daily supervision of our Church Services staff will reside with the future state director of evangelism, he said.
Smith further explained that the titles of chief financial officer and chief operating officer are very helpful external titles when dealing with businesses and regarding engagement with the Baptist Foundation of Maryland/Delaware, but as far as the BCM/D staff and as far as Baptist life, the associate executive director title “makes it very clear about who makes decisions while I am away or out of the country or something like that.”
Harold Phillips, chairman of the BCM/D’s administrative committee, which serves as the personnel committee, said the new title reflects much of what Stolle has already been doing to support Smith, whose responsibilities require a considerable amount of traveling away from the Columbia office.
Noting Smith’s great capacity to represent, promote and build partnerships for the BCM/D with other state conventions and national entities, Phillips explained the board’s desire for Smith to be able to use his abilities to his full capacity.
“But things still need to operate smoothly in the office, too,” Phillips said, noting Stolle has been a “stable settler,” whose strong relational and leadership skills have helped immensely through the convention’s recent transitions.
“I have nothing but great respect for Tom, who has a been a solid force in the office and the BCM/D world,” said Phillips, senior pastor of Pleasant View Baptist Church in Port Deposit, Md.
He said Stolle’s role as associate executive director allows for a decision-maker to be present in the office for day-to-day operations.
At its September 4 meeting, GMB President Curtis Hill also explained Stolle’s new title to the board.
“What we are voting on is more than a name change,” explained Hill, senior pastor of Ogletown Baptist Church in Newark, Del. “We are recognizing a high degree of confidence we have in Tom and also his loyalty to Dr. Smith, and Dr. Smith’s commitment to him.”
“While [Stolle’s former] titles are meaningful names in other organizations, we do believe the ‘associate executive director’ title communicates better in the church setting,” Hill said, noting Stolle’s title as certified public accountant (CPA) still will be represented in official, legal and financial capacities.
“The way we worded it is that the staff is accountable to Dr. Smith through the associate executive director,” Hill explained, thereby giving Stolle wider oversight over the staff.
Hill stressed that Stolle did not seek out this change, which required board approval. The GMB unanimously approved the change.
In his remarks, Hill also expressed appreciation for all BCM/D’s staff.
“I want to thank you for what you do and the way you serve,” Hill said. “You humbly come alongside the church and you pray for us…. You lead us and encourage us and communicate, so we want you to know how much we appreciate you… for all your efforts, whether it is out-front or often behind-the-scenes.”