Mike Hess speaks at New Life Baptist Church, Lake in the Hills, Ill.

LAKE IN THE HILLS, Ill.—After a successful first-ever virtual GARBC Annual Conference, broadcast live from Bethel Church in Crown Point, Indiana, June 29–30, one of the messages has received even more listeners.

Pastor Mark Wood of New Life Baptist Church invited GARBC National Representative Mike Hess to repeat his conference message titled “Stay in Your Lane” on Sunday, July 12. Wood says, “I really appreciated Mike’s message. I needed to hear his message, and I think it will be helpful for our church to hear too.”

In his message, Hess urged people not to compare themselves to other people or ministries. “It doesn’t matter what God has ordained in the lives of others,” he said. Rather, believers should focus on being faithful stewards of what God has given them. The principle of not worrying about what God is doing in others’ lives is so important to Hess that he recently wrote the book No Contest: Overcoming a Competitive Spirit.

Wood says, “Here in the northwest suburbs we are ministering in the shadow of two megachurches.” Further complicating ministry, he says, is that a number of the church’s families have moved away in the last year, so the church’s attendance is down. “It is easy to get caught up in the comparisons and feel envy or frustration in our hearts toward others who are ministering near our church. We are always getting compared to what others are doing.”

From Hess’s message, Wood says he learned this important truth: “When we complain and compare ourselves with others, we are questioning the wisdom of God. We think we deserve better than what we have. . . . Mike challenged us to (1) love the Lord supremely, (2) follow the Lord relentlessly, and (3) examine our motives. He said we need to recalibrate and realign our perspective and follow Christ.”

Wood was grateful to have attended the Annual Conference online. He says that having a special-needs son makes traveling difficult, so the conference’s virtual format enabled Wood to attend all the sessions from his home. “It was the best of both worlds for our family.”

Referring to the virtual format, Hess says, “We are grateful that technology is allowing us to make the conference available to more people and that even more continue to benefit from this.”

Listen to audio recordings, view photos, and read news from each day of the conference at garbcConference.org.