“Making disciples through healthy local churches” is the heartbeat of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, a voluntary partnership of independent Baptist churches committed to the Great Commission mandate. Since its beginning in 1932, the GARBC has been synonymous with an allegiance to the Word of God, a focus on the local church, and a passion for the spread of gospel worldwide.
The GARBC builds its movement on sound Biblical doctrine and purity. Our commitment to biblical sufficiency and inerrancy means that Scripture and the gospel drive our mission. The GARBC’s stand on doctrinal purity means that our unity is centered on our doctrinal statement. We guard the integrity of this network, choosing at times to not fellowship with those who do not share our doctrine and values.
The GARBC embraces its mission of
- Making disciples by God’s sufficient Word
Scripture is both authoritative and sufficient for everything God wants us to be for His glory (2 Timothy 3:15–17; 1 Peter 1:3). We commit to communicating the whole counsel of God in its timeless relevance.
- Making disciples globally
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that can transform a person’s heart. The gospel transcends every culture and is the one message that God has mandated that we take to the nations of the world. We determine to obey the Great Commission assignment of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18–20).
- Making disciples through local Baptist churches
Our doctrinal framework is how we understand what a local church is, how it should be governed, and what a church’s distinctives should be.
- Making disciples by advancing our association
God’s program for this age is the local church. We desire to steward our resources to strengthen existing local churches and to plant more churches.
As a network of independent churches, the GARBC provides opportunities for churches to partner for initiatives such as church plants, missions consortiums, camping programs, the endorsement of chaplains, literature distribution, ministry training, and international outreach. The association provides fellowshipping churches with biblically faithful resources, biblically-based support services, and spiritual encouragement to carry out their ministries.
Mike Hess serves as National Representative of the GARBC. Mike grew up in the Chicago suburb of Oswego, Illinois, and came to know Christ as his Savior at the age of 17. He and his wife, Christina, met in college and have been blessed with two children, Joseph and Hannah.
In Mike’s role as National Representative, he serves the association by encouraging local churches, counseling churches and pastors in need, assisting in pastoral placement, speaking in various churches and ministry settings, mentoring and training other pastors, and by championing our fellowship’s doctrinal statement.
Before assuming the role of National Representative, Mike served as a senior pastor in the states of Illinois and Iowa. He has served consecutive terms on the GARBC Council of 18 and has been heavily involved in our association with speaking, writing, biblical counseling, and facilitating our national conference. He has been blessed to speak in various countries including Australia, Argentina, Haiti, Mexico, Italy, and Israel.
Mike received his bachelor’s degree from Clarks Summit University and his master’s degree from Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Currently he is pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree. He’s a certified biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.
Mike and his wife, Christina, enjoy traveling, reading, encouraging their children’s sports endeavors, enjoying their Labrador retrievers, and faithfully following and rooting for the Chicago Cubs.
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