The church will not be changing its name, since the word Conservative represents the church’s stand on the Bible rather than its association with a particular Baptist group. As Deacon Denis Rundle says, “We want the name to stay the same, specifically keeping the word ‘Conservative,’ because the Bible does not change.”
While the name will remain, the church wants to move toward fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. The GARBC constitution spells out the steps that the church must take to become a fellowshipping church.
First, Lakewood Conservative Baptist had to vote to seek fellowship. The pastor, deacons, or other leaders could not take this action on their own. Second, the church had to hold a “Recognition Council of Regular Baptist pastors and messengers for the purpose of examining the Constitution and Bylaws of the church to determine if it is a properly constituted and functioning Baptist church.” On April 16, Clare Jewell, national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Churches, moderated a recognition council for the Lakewood church.
Pastor Dennis Stevenson, deacons, and members explained to the council statements in the church’s covenant, declaration of faith, and bylaws. They also responded to questions from the council members: Pastor Tim Kluver of Strait View Baptist, Port Angeles; Pastor Lonnie Jacobson and Associate Pastor Jeremy Fodge of Faith Baptist, Sequim; and Ron Hill of Southside Baptist, Tacoma.
After executive session, council members voted unanimously to recommend that Lakewood Conservative Baptist Church fellowship with the GARBC. They also commended the church for its strong and loving pastor and leaders, and for its separation, evangelism and discipleship, love, and emphasis on Bible teaching.
Lakewood Conservative Baptist Church will take the final step at the GARBC Conference in Oswego, Illinois, June 28—July 1. There, the church will be received into the fellowship upon recommendation of the Council of Eighteen and a majority vote of the conference attendees. In advance of the GARBC Conference, churches still have time to apply for full fellowship, as in the manner of Lakewood Conservative Baptist Church, or for fellowship as a church plant or mission church. A welcome of new churches into the association will take place during the Wednesday evening session at the conference.