COLVILLE, Wash.—First Baptist Church hosted Baptist Network Northwest’s Refine: All-Church Ministry Conference April 22–23. This annual event “is designed for the whole church with a goal of strengthening the ministry,” says Baptist Network Northwest.

Keynote speaker Mike Hess, GARBC national representative, says, “I’m grateful to Dave Lunsford, executive director of the Baptist Network Northwest, for giving me the opportunity to share my passion for leadership development, church planting, church revitalization, churches working together, and pastoral encouragement.”

In addition to sharing those passions for strengthening ministry, Mike addressed the conference theme, “Restoring the Mindset of Joy in Ministry.”

“God makes it very clear that the path to joy comes by following His principles,” Mike said in the last of four main sessions.

“I’ve never met anybody who said, ‘Sin has brought me everlasting joy.'” Rather, in Scripture, joy is associated not with selfish living but with selfless living, Mike pointed out.

“Jesus, the most joyful individual who ever walked upon the face of the earth, found joy in obeying the Father; submitting to the Father; giving up His own will, saying, ‘Not My will but Yours be done.’

“That doesn’t mean He didn’t have trials. It doesn’t mean that He was never attacked, He was never betrayed, He never had anguish. . . . But He knew what true joy is, and joy is not an external thing; . . . it’s not based on external circumstances.”

Joy, as Mike once heard someone describe it, is “an inner peace and contentment that comes with knowing and following the truth.”

Sharing his own story of professing Christ as Savior when he was 17 years old, Mike said, “The most joyful living I’ve ever had in life has been living for God.”

“God is very interested in you having joy. He’s so interested in you having joy that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and be buried and rise again from the dead so everyone who trusts in Him as Savior will have everlasting joy. That’s how important joy is.”

Dave Lunsford thanks Pete and Deb Steele for coordinating the conference. “They always work hard and are very conscientious about so many details,” Dave says.