VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/30/15)—The D.C. Baptist Convention is pleased to announce that Dr. Robert Dennis Cochran has been called to serve as its next Executive Director/Minister. DCBC’s Board of Directors voted to approve the Search Committee’s recommendation to hire Dr. Cochran during a special called meeting that was held last week. Dr. Cochran, who currently serves as Associate Executive Director of the Convention, accepted the offer and is expected to begin his new post in February.
Dr. Cochran has been on staff at the Convention for 20 years and has considerable experience working with DCBC congregations, church leaders, immigrant congregations, denominational partners and community groups. He began as the Director of Missions/Evangelism under appointment of the Home Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and related to American Baptist Churches USA as well. He later became the Principal Coordinator/Consultant of the Center for Congregational Health, Evangelism & Discipleship and also led the Center for Church and Community Ministries. Having worked to begin congregations in Western Europe and the United States, Dr. Cochran has used this experience to help new churches begin in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Moreover, Dr. Cochran has worked to restart (revitalize) D.C. congregations that were declining and has obtained grants to assist new churches and existing church programs.
Dr. Cochran is a founding member of the Ministers’ Council of the “Reentry Project” working in partnership with the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) of the District of Columbia, structuring and implementing a plan of mentoring for those formerly incarcerated with 35 churches of the DCBC involved. Among numerous other efforts, he has worked with DCBC congregations to coordinate disaster relief and engage in missions projects. Dr. Cochran has also helped to convene the Haiti Working Group, which is helping that country rebuild following the devastating earthquake in 2010.
According to DCBC President Rev. Larry E. Hentz, “Dr. Cochran has not only served the Convention faithfully for years but he will also bring an abundance of knowledge and experience to the executive director/minister position.
“I am looking forward to working with him in this new role as the Convention continues to move forward under his leadership,” said Rev. Hentz, who also serves as pastor of True Gospel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
In addition to his work as a staff member of DCBC, Dr. Cochran has served previously as a catalytic missionary and church planter strategist in West Palm Beach, Fla., theological education coordinator of the East European Division for the Foreign Mission Board (FMB) and a general evangelist/pastor with the FMB in Belgium. His ministerial experience includes serving as a pastor and as an interim pastor of churches in the U.S. and abroad including in Indiana, Maryland and Belgium. He has also taught courses as an adjunct faculty member for a number of schools, including New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at the South Florida Center, West Palm Beach Satellite; Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond; Maple Springs Bible College and Seminary in Capitol Heights, Md.; and, the John Leland Center for Theological Studies in Arlington, Va.
Dr. Cochran has served in various roles on committees for the Baptist World Alliance and now serves as the treasurer of the North American Baptist Fellowship of the BWA. He is widely regarded as a historian of Baptist life and is studying the history of how DCBC churches began life together.
Rev. James Tiefel, who served as the chair of the search committee and is pastor of First Baptist Church of Camp Springs, Md., said, “Following an extensive nationwide search, God ultimately led us to one of our own. Having worked with this Convention for 20 years, Dr. Cochran brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of our churches and our challenges. We are looking forward to what God has in store for DCBC through Dr. Cochran’s leadership.”
The search for the new Executive Director/Minister began in July 2014. The committee received and prayerfully considered more than 60 applications from across the country before calling Dr. Cochran to the position.
A native of Baytown, Texas, Dr. Cochran is a graduate of Howard Payne University and earned both his M.Div. and his Ph.D. at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. His wife, Rev. Deborah Cochran serves as Acting Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C., a DCBC member congregation. They have two adult children, a daughter, Natalie, and a son, Kenneth.
The District of Columbia Baptist Convention is an “International Missional Network” of more than 155 member churches working together to strengthen Baptist congregations and advance God’s kingdom in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Georgia and beyond. DCBC is aligned with American Baptist Churches USA, the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention. DCBC is also a member of the Baptist World Alliance.
American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.