SANTA MARIA, Calif.—Pastor Bruce McLain has been encouraging people “to live by faith and follow by faith.” So when God opened the door for Bruce to serve as state representative of the California Association of Regular Baptist Churches, he realized, “It would be hypocritical to preach this for 40 years and not do it myself.”
While accepting the role of state representative will be a step of faith for Bruce and Margie McLain, they are entering the ministry with anticipation and enthusiasm. “We are a diverse fellowship—geographically, culturally, and ethnically,” says Bruce. “I like that. I believe it reflects how God designed His church to be.”
Because of his lengthy association with the CARBC, Bruce seems to be a natural fit for the position. He was saved and baptized in a CARBC church: Berea Baptist of Long Beach (now merged with California Heights Baptist). He spent many of his school years at a CARBC church: First Baptist of Santa Maria. “Those are the churches that shaped my faith,” Bruce recalls.
Following graduation from Western Baptist College and then Northwest Baptist Seminary, Bruce pastored Faith Baptist in Strathmore for 10 years, and has been pastoring Pine Grove Baptist in Santa Maria for 24 years. In addition, he has served for 20 years on the CARBC Council and Western Baptist Home Missions.
Having spent so much time in the CARBC, Bruce has developed a strong love for the fellowship to accompany his understanding of its heritage and needs: “The CARBC began in 1929 during a time of extreme need for a fellowship of churches that would stand together in difficult times,” says Bruce. “I believe the need is even greater today.”
Once his ministry begins on Jan. 1, 2015, Bruce desires to visit and get to know the churches. The CARBC Christian Workers’ Retreat will be another opportunity for Bruce and churches to interact. Held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Monterey Jan. 19–21, the retreat will feature Bruce speaking from 1 Corinthians 3 on “Laborers Together.”