KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Churches in Michigan’s lower peninsula gathered at Northeastern Baptist Church for the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches Annual Conference, Oct. 17 and 18. That location was selected in honor of host pastor Dr. George Coon, who is retiring at the end of November. He is a longtime member of the MARBC Council of Sixteen. Meanwhile, churches in Michigan’s upper peninsula met at the Northland Camp and Conference Center in Dunbar, Wis. The conference schedule was formatted to accommodate people not only in both peninsulas but also in both Eastern and Central time zones.
The conference speakers—all pastors from MARBC churches—spoke on the theme “Invested.” Their sermons also addressed the MARBC’s core values, recently updated by the Council of Sixteen:
- Biblically grounded and doctrinally conservative
- Progressive methodology: understanding the culture in order to be relevant and effective
- Innovative: trying new ideas in order to apply Biblical truths and values
- Nonhostile environments: recognizing that truth-based love and unity are essential ingredients of church life
- Connecting with the community: creating connective points with the unsaved
- Accepting of differences: not all persons/churches must look the exactly the same
- Multigenerational: all ages worshiping together
Watch the messages or download the mp3s at marbc.net.
Two additional sessions featured testimonies pertaining to creative outreach strategies across the state of Michigan: At a luncheon sponsored by Regular Baptist Church Planting, Clare Jewell, national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Churches, presented opportunities for assistance with church planting. In another session, pastors testified about ways in which they are leading their churches to engage with their communities. Three pastors related how work as police and hospital chaplains has opened doors for sharing the gospel, while other pastors shared about outreach endeavors based on unique aspects of their communities.
Church messengers were able to vote during the conference business session, with materials and ballots being provided at both locations. They heard various reports, including an update on the MARBC’s financial situation: churches increased their giving to the general fund by 63 percent during the past year, and the association received many onetime gifts. During the business session, the Council of Fifteen honored Executive Director Ken Floyd and his wife, Sharon, with a love gift in recognition of the 10 years they have invested in representing the association.
Floyd closed the conference by suggesting that the MARBC’s partnership in Christ’s command be dubbed “The Great Co-Michigan.” Messengers left the conference sensing a greater commitment in the Great Co-Michigan strategy.