By Mike Hess
God gave Regular Baptist Ministries and Regular Baptist Press an extraordinarily fruitful 2019. We are humbled that God would sovereignly choose to bless this ministry. It’s a stewardship we do not take lightly.
I don’t mind the word resolution, but I think it misses the mark of heart-targeted growth—the kind of growth that God wants for His people. Listed below are what I like to refer to as projects for growth, or goals, for God’s glory in 2020. Goals can help serve the cause of Christ well. They provide for us a tangible way to measure gospel growth. Please join me and the Council of Eighteen in prayer as we keep these goals in front of us in 2020.
1. Collaborative disciple making
- Thriving churches helping to plant new churches and revitalize struggling churches
- Seasoned and mature pastors providing internships for young men who desire pastoral ministry
- Independent churches functioning as interdependent churches, helping one another more effectively fulfill the Great Commission
- Churches not competing with each other but serving and assisting each other
2. Associational buy-in
Your love and commitment to the doctrinal purity of our fellowship of local churches has helped make the GARBC what it is today—a thriving fellowship of local churches aggressively making disciples because we know the time is short. This is your fellowship! Prayerfully consider how you can be involved in the life of this association.
Make every effort to attend the highlight of the year for our family of churches—the GARBC Annual Conference, June 29—July 2 in Sacramento, Calif. It promises to provide exceptional preaching, relevant and constructive modules, refreshing fellowship, and updates on how God is richly blessing our association.
Attend your local, regional, and state conferences. These conferences help you build relationships and expose you to more preaching, valuable workshops, and networking opportunities. As a young pastor years ago, I was greatly influenced by the men and fellowship at the local level of our association.
Take advantage of the exceptional discipleship materials provided by Regular Baptist Press. The doctrine your church subscribes to is the same doctrine you can expect from everything RBP publishes.
Consider a group subscription to the Baptist Bulletin for every member of your church. This is a financially feasible way for you to get outstanding discipleship materials into the hands of your people.
Encourage your church or consider personally giving to the GARBC. Your support frees us to expand our influence and build more connections with other doctrinally aligned churches. In a fellowship of over 1,200 churches, only roughly 200 give to support the association on a consistent basis. Our “220 in 2020” campaign is recruiting 220 new churches to give at least one gift to the GARBC in 2020. Please prayerfully consider this opportunity through either a onetime gift, adding the GARBC to your missions budget, or a special onetime love offering.
Get involved with the National Association of Regular Baptist Camps in your state. These camps provide a great opportunity for campers to disconnect from the world and get maximum exposure to the Word, fellowship, encouragement, and tons of fun.
3. Fervent in prayer
Be in prayer for churches in dire need of revitalization and for new churches to be planted.
Pray for our GARBC-endorsed chaplains who are facing political and cultural pressure.
Pray for our international partnerships that continue to expand in great ways around the world. There’s still a great need for funds and educational resources.
Please keep churches without pastors in prayer. Pray for patience as some churches have grown discouraged, going months and sometimes years without a pastor.
Pray for our annual conference and for Christina and me as we travel representing the association in various ministry contexts.
4. More churches planted/replanted, revitalized/rescued
As the world’s population continues to expand, the need for more vibrant local churches also expands. It’s no secret that many churches have seen better days. Some are on life support in desperate need of revitalization. There’s also a great need for more churches in some of the world’s most populous places: billions are without Christ, and multitudes have never heard His name or the good news of the gospel. The GARBC wants to maximize God’s resources to do everything we can to plant churches and reach every individual we can with the gospel.
Let’s commit ourselves to work together for God’s glory in 2020 to make disciples in healthy local churches.
Mike Hess serves as national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.