WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis.—Calvary Baptist Church hosted a Biblical Counseling Ministries discipleship development seminar, “Weathering Storms in Relationships.” Dan Pugh, pastor of Montrose Baptist Church, Montrose, Mich., taught a pre-seminar the prior evening called “Getting Along at Work.” His wife, Kathy, joined him at the podium the next day. They taught what the Bible says about living God’s way in the midst of difficult relationships in four everyday settings—with friends, at church, in marriage, and in parenting.
Dan and Kathy say they have always done ministry together. They met while working at Regular Baptist Press—Kathy was the Baptist Bulletin circulation secretary from 1978 to 1983; Dan operated a sheet-fed press, the last working press at RBP.
The Pughs’ GARBC roots go even further, as Dan’s parents were members of the historic Belden Avenue Baptist Church then located in Chicago, where the GARBC was formed in 1932. “My mother (Doris) was ministered to through several faithful Belden ladies who were also active in the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) at Louisa May Alcott Elementary School where us kids attended.” Under the women’s discipleship, his mother, Dan says, “more fully understood a childhood salvation decision leading to a recommitment to Christ.” “That set off a chain reaction of events leading to her bringing us boys to church programming.” While attending Belden Avenue Baptist, Dan obtained his first Bible resource book—an orange Cruden’s Concordance that he won through a Sunday School contest. “It is a treasure to me!” he says. Meanwhile, Dan’s father, Morris, remained unsaved. Pastor Gordon Shipp diligently befriended and pursued Morris for salvation. “Dad was stubborn but finally allowed Pastor a few minutes to share the plan of salvation.” About a year later Morris gave his life to Christ. “Both my parents have died in the past three years,” Dan says, “but their lives were changed, full, and meaningful ever since those Belden days.”
Now married 29 years, Dan and Kathy Pugh have been missionaries to street gang youth in Chicago and house-parented 11 boys, and Dan has pastored churches in urban, suburban, and rural communities, as well as served as youth pastor and pastor of counseling ministries. Trained in counseling through Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries in Lafayette, Ind., Dan is a certified conciliator with Peacemaker Ministries. Dan says, “I largely do what I do today because of the heritage of Belden and RBP folks who mentored and modeled for me.”
In addition to the Pughs’ teaching, Calvary Baptist’s seminar offered two tracks—“Basic Skills for Giving Wise Counsel” with Sue Nicewander and “Developing Leaders in Your Church” with Jonathan Jenks and Jack Austin. Nicewander, a Biblical counselor with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors and executive director of Biblical Counseling Ministries, taught attendees how to bring the hope of Scripture to those who are hurting. Jenks and Austin both minister at Calvary Baptist Church, with Jenks serving as pastor and Austin as pastor of church education. Through this “Pastor’s Toolbox” track, pastors, deacons, and elders learned how to keep church growth Biblical, by writing a plan to develop godly leaders and incorporate consistent discipleship in ways that fit the needs of their churches. A forum answering attendees’ questions about the day’s topics and Biblical counseling in general ended the sessions each day.
Biblical Counseling Ministries maintains its headquarters at Calvary Baptist Church and operates through the cooperative efforts of four additional churches in Central Wisconsin, two of which fellowship with the GARBC: Grace Baptist Church in Plover, Faith Baptist Church in Wisconsin Rapids, First Baptist Church in Waupaca, and Berea Baptist Church in Stevens Point. Through the teaching of BCM, churches learn how to build Biblical discipleship ministries, enabling church members to help hurting people around them.