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CARBC Conference Delivers as Promised

By May 9, 2015May 13th, 2015No Comments

VisaliaCA_inlineVISALIA, Calif.—The California Association of Regular Baptist Churches met at First Baptist Church for its 2015 Bible Conference.

Bruce McLain, CARBC representative, gave churches several benefits of attending the April 14–16 conference: go for the fellowship, preaching, and CARBC business, and to strengthen your brothers and sisters of the CARBC while gaining a better understanding of identity with the association. “You will be blessed by those who minister alongside the CARBC in education and missions,” he wrote in the CARBC Messenger. John Murray, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hawthorne, Nevada, reports that attendees received just what McLain had said they would.

Murray says First Baptist “provided wonderful facilities conducive for fellowship, ministry conversation, and developing new relationships.” The church provided several delicious meals, including a barbecue that Murray says “almost convinced me I was back in Kansas City.”

Workshops were led by Steve Little, president of Baptist Church Planters, and Alan Wilson, regional manager of Regular Baptist Press. Victor Ordonez also addressed attendees. He is the pastoral staff leader for Iglesia Bautista La Fe (the Spanish-speaking congregation of Faith Baptist Church) in Strathmore. The key speaker was Steve Viars, pastor of Faith Church in Lafayette, Indiana, and contributing author in The Pastor: A Guide for
God’s Faithful Servant (Regular Baptist Press).

Viars focused on the idea that churches should view their communities’ needs as opportunities from God and then meet those needs. To understand the myriad needs of their communities, Viars suggested that churches contact representatives from the police and legal communities, medical personnel, and educators. His take-away directed attendees to “go find some captives” of both spiritual and physical problems.

In the last meeting, Viars took questions from the audience and distributed an overview of his church’s ministries. “It could be a bit overwhelming,” says Murray, “as his [Viars’s] church has approximately as many people as my community!” But Murray was encouraged that Viars’s vision can be scaled “both up and down.”

Viars’s outline highlighted four ministry responsibilities that can be developed in a congregation of any size, says Murray: First, equip believers to live godly lives. This includes many traditional ministries of the church. Second, encourage others to become followers of Christ. This basically means training for and launching believers into ministry. Third, meet human needs with love and compassion. This focuses on a community’s real needs, such as emergencies, hunger, unwanted pregnancies, and results of divorce. Fourth, take a stand, with civility and love, for righteousness in the public forum. “It is not a matter of facilities, but a matter of the heart!” says Viars.

Murray says, “I came looking for spiritual challenge, refreshment, and new ministry partners. I found all of that and more!”