DEARBORN, Mich.—Guests are arriving at the Adoba Hotel and Convention Center in preparation for the 2013 GARBC Conference. “This is an annual tradition since 1932 in our association of churches,” says GARBC National Representative John Greening. “We get to see the association as an actual face-to-face entity at our annual meeting.” While summer church meetings are sometimes known for their denominational business sessions and political statements, Greening described the GARBC Conference as a time of great fellowship, wonderful preaching, and worship. To reflect the “Renew our Strength” theme, the featured speakers are teaming together to present 10 expository sermons on prayer, faith, steadfast ministry, and the inner spiritual life. Preaching sessions and workshops reflect the Isaiah 40:31 theme verse: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Conference guests immediately noticed the impressive facilities and beautiful 15-story atrium, a fitting backdrop for physical rest and rejuvenation. The afternoon schedule allows time for families to visit popular Dearborn locations such as The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. The conference center is located near the world headquarters for the Ford Motor Company and adjacent to Fairlane Town Center, a popular regional mall. Other events include workshops, ministry receptions, youth activities, and the annual Talents For Christ competition. During the Tuesday business session, messengers from GARBC churches will vote on revisions to the GARBC Articles of Faith (see “Proposed Amendments to the GARBC Articles of Faith”). “It is a serious issue for an association of churches to consider amending its Articles of Faith—an issue that demands thoughtful and prayerful consideration,” says Tom Alexander, a Wellington, Ohio, pastor who serves on the policy committee of the GARBC’s Council of Eighteen. The proposed changes will clarify the GARBC’s position on marriage and church leadership. “Sometimes situations arise that demand our response. Concepts that were universally accepted and even assumed many years ago are now being questioned and denied,” Alexander says. Nineteen GARBC staff members arrived here in Dearborn on Sunday evening, meeting with Andrea Gower, Regular Baptist Ministries conference coordinator. On Monday morning they will work together to unload the truck from Schaumburg, Ill., where the GARBC Resource Center is located. The conference is organized with the help of a regional committee chaired by Ken Floyd, state representative for the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. Other committee members include Rick Yokel and Julie Yokel (nursery), Michael Breznau (preschool), Deanna Miller (primary), Jerry Diserens (ushers), Ken Pierpont (communications), Bill Jenkin (outreach), and Chuck Smalley (transportation). With 179 churches, the Michigan association is the largest state fellowship in the GARBC. The conference participants represent about 1,200 GARBC churches in 45 states, Canada, and Saipan. Several related ministries will give reports during the conference:
- Regular Baptist Press, a church education publishing ministry that serves 12,000 churches;
- Gospel Literature Services, an international distribution network that reaches 111 countries;
- Regular Baptist Chaplaincy Ministries, which services the military, hospitals, prisons, professional sports, and corporations;
- Baptist Builders Club, a ministry of providing grants and loans to churches in the association; and
- International Partnership of Fundamental Baptist Ministries, a network of international organizations.
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