VALLEY FORGE, PA (7/12/19)—Dr. Robert Dennis Cochran, Executive Director/Minister of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC), has announced his planned retirement as of March 31, 2020.
Dr. Cochran has served as the region’s Executive Director/Minister since February 2015. He has served the region for 25 years; prior to his call as Executive Director/Minister, he served as Associate Executive Director of the Convention.
“Robert Cochran’s strengths and character have been a blessing both to the region and denomination,” said C. Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for Regional Ministries with American Baptist Churches USA. “He has provided gifted leadership in several venues, including his most recent assistance with the Orientation to American Baptist Life event at the Biennial Mission Summit in Virginia Beach. He will be missed.”
Cochran began working with DCBC 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. Dr. Cochran worked to restart (revitalize) D.C. congregations that were declining and to obtain 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 also helped to convene the Haiti Working Group, which worked to help that country rebuild following the devastating earthquake in 2010 and more recently the Burma Working Group.
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 and in partnership with the Union of Baptists 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 and commissions for the Baptist World Alliance and 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.
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 retired as an Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C., a DCBC member congregation, having also served as Acting Pastor there. They have two adult children, a daughter, Natalie, and a son, Kenneth and three grandchildren.
Organized in 1877, the District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC) consists of more than 150 churches in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia working to have a bold, Christ-centered and spiritually transformational impact on the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. DCBC churches vary in size, worship styles and ministry activities but each one is committed to building God’s kingdom in our community, nation and world.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.