Terry Dorsett, a New England director of missions and church planting catalyst, was elected executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE) March 12 by a unanimous vote of the convention’s board of directors.
Dorsett, who succeeds the retiring Jim Wideman, will assume his new role April 1.
“My vision for the Baptist Convention of New England,” Dorsett told Baptist Press in email comments, “includes: engaging ethnic pastors in key leadership roles, increasing our leadership development ministries, building a sense of team ministry between the state convention, our seven associations and [the North American Mission Board (NAMB)], enhancing our efforts through the Baptist Foundation of New England to provide additional resources for ministry and partnering with other New England evangelicals who share our love of the Bible and burden for lost souls.”
Dorsett added, “I plan to invest a portion of my time building relationships with pastors and key leaders so that I can hear their real needs and respond accordingly.”
Since 2012, Dorsett has worked for the BCNE as a NAMB church planting catalyst based in Hartford, Conn. Before that, he was director of missions for the Green Mountain Baptist Association in Barre, Vt., for 12 years.
Dorsett is coordinator of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s My Hope outreach campaign in Connecticut and Rhode Island. He has served on church staffs in Vermont, South Carolina and Virginia, planting one church in Vermont and revitalizing another.
After interviewing Dorsett, the BCNE board of directors “took some time to pray for clear discernment,” board chairman and BCNE interim executive director John Revell wrote in a letter to New England Baptists. “It became clear to us all that the Lord had His hand on this process and on this conclusion, and we all felt compelled to vote accordingly.”
The author of seven books, Dorsett holds a doctor of ministry degree from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, a master of religious education from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor of science from Liberty University.
Dorsett is married to Kay and has three adult children and one grandchild.
Wideman, who retired in December after 13 years as the BCNE’s executive director-treasurer, served in January as interim executive director before Revell took over in February.
Wideman led the six-state convention with “a passion for building missional churches,” according to a resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee in September. He helped the convention minister amid “changing regional demographics by nurturing numerous ethnic congregations” and by nurturing “a growing number of native New Englanders who have chosen to establish themselves in their home region to serve as pastors, church planters and lay leaders.”
During Wideman’s tenure, the number of BCNE cooperating churches increased from 230 to 340, baptizing more than 17,000 people, an average of 1,300 per year, the resolution states. In Cooperative Program giving, the BCNE has increased the percentage of church gifts forwarded to SBC CP missions and ministries from 21 percent in 2001 to 25 percent in 2013.
“BCNE Baptists have deeply appreciated the leadership and ministry of Dr. Jim Wideman over the years and are grateful for how the Lord blessed the BCNE through him,” Revell, pastor of Stamford (Conn.) Baptist Church, wrote. “Now, on behalf of the board of directors, I can share that we are excited at how the Lord has set the stage for taking the BCNE to the next level in the passionate pursuit of making disciples of all nations.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)