Mike Hess (center) gathers with the ministry team of Prior Lake Baptist Church.

PRIOR LAKE, Minn.—At Prior Lake Baptist Church, “the Lord has been kind to knit together a group of people who love the gospel and who love each other,” says Pastor Sam Choi.

Prior Lake Baptist Church has existed since 1967 but joined the GARBC only in 2020. Many of the church’s members were familiar with the GARBC, so the church wanted to join the association to fellowship with other churches that have the same passion for God’s Word and making disciples.

“We match up perfectly with the GARBC doctrinally and with the GARBC’s mission,” Sam says. “We as a church want to be involved with what this fellowship is doing, and we believe churches are better off when they cooperate together for the gospel.”

Mike Hess, GARBC national representative, “has been really an instrumental part of us joining the GARBC,” Sam told his congregation on Sunday morning, Aug. 29.

Sam had invited Mike to speak in that worship service. That day was the second time Mike had visited the church. “If I could summarize what it’s like to come here . . . and rub shoulders with your pastoral staff—if I could summarize it with one word, it would be encouragement,” Mike told the church body. “I am so richly encouraged when I am with your pastoral staff.”

After the worship service, the congregation and leaders fellowshipped over coffee and then regathered to attend a Q and A with Mike. The group discussed how the church family “could be more of an aid to the association with the intention of advancing the gospel,” Sam says. “That’s really what we’re trying to do: make disciples.”

Churches’ “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,” Mike says.

He tells churches, “This is your fellowship” and encourages them to “be involved in the life of this association” by attending local, regional, and state conferences; using the exceptional discipleship materials published by Regular Baptist Press; attending camps that are part of the National Association of Regular Baptist Camps; and financially supporting the GARBC, which frees the association to expand its influence through its many ministries and to build connections with other doctrinally aligned churches.

Sam says that as the leaders of Prior Lake Baptist Church have gotten to know Mike, they “have found in him, really, a kindred spirit.” Those leaders thank God for the ministries of the GARBC, which aim to make disciples in healthy local churches.