DAVID STROPE, Interim National Representative
2022—A Retrospective: Given my slightly lighter travel schedule in December, allow me to provide a 35,000-foot retrospective on 2022.
My entry into the role of interim national representative in December 2021 was unfortunate and unexpected. Having been conscripted into service by the GARBC Council of 18, I now often note, “I know what it’s like to be drafted.” Despite the sudden change in my life and the life of the GARBC, I trust the good hand of the sovereign God. “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him” (Ps. 18:30).
One of my great delights has been traveling extensively to minister in churches and state associations. It has been a joy to visit large and small churches, places where God is doing profound work in prominent or obscure locales. I have been privileged to fellowship with churches, associations, colleges, and universities from California to New York, from South Carolina to Colorado. In the 48 weeks since February 2022, I have preached and presented Regular Baptist Ministries in 47 locales. Hilton.com and United.com are now my favorite websites, and my path from Iowa to Illinois has been well traveled.
God has allowed significant progress in Regular Baptist Press’s recovery from the effects of COVID-19. The sale of Regular Baptist Ministries’ office in Arlington Heights, Illinois, was particular evidence of God’s provision for us, as was moving to a new office in Elgin, Illinois. How good God has been to us!
The 2022 GARBC Conference in Grand Rapids was a special encouragement. Though I have attended many GARBC annual conferences during my pastoral ministry, this was my first as interim national representative. No fights. Unity of the brethren. Great preaching and fellowship. I wanted to make a button to wear exclaiming, “I Survived and Thrived at My First Annual Conference!”
I have been particularly impressed with the integrity and service of the Council of 18. Eighteen Baptist pastors! Imagine a group of pastors—independent Baptists, type A individuals—agreeing on anything. Yet present in the council’s work is a genuinely collegial spirit communicating a love for Christ and our fellowship.
I have also grown in friendship with and appreciation for the nearly 30 staff members of Regular Baptist Ministries. We have a great group of servants for Christ.
Psalm 79:8 declares, “O remember not against us former iniquities: let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low” (KJV). “Prevent” in this text is old English for “precede, move in advance.” For my wife, Debbie, and me, this verse is indeed true. Our present ministry came out of the blue. But looking back upon 46 years of pastoral service, I can see that God’s mercy “speedily prevented” us! God has prepared us for this moment—both for our good and, we trust, for the benefit of the GARBC.
I have taken to heart 1 Peter 4:11 (CSB): “If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever.”
December Ministry: God gave me opportunities to preach and present Regular Baptist Ministries last month in Sioux City and Ankeny, Iowa. It was a delight to fellowship with John and Tara Woodford and Shon and Angela Lundberg and their church families. I also spent time at the Regular Baptist Ministries home office in Elgin, Illinois, the highlight of those days being a staff Christmas luncheon.
Delay: January’s conference of the Biblical Baptist Partnership International in India will be postponed. The new dates will be communicated soon. As I often pray, “Heavenly Father, You have every right (and my permission) to rearrange my life at any time in any way in order to fulfill Your plan for its influence for Your glory.” This prayer includes both “stops” and “starts.”
January 3–5: Regular Baptist Ministries home office, Elgin, Illinois
January 8: Emmanuel Baptist Church, Des Moines, Iowa
January 19: Meet with pastoral majors at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
January 20: Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary chapels
January 22: CrossRoad Baptist Church, Ames, Iowa
January 29: Carlisle Baptist Church, Carlisle, Iowa
January 31–February 3: Refresh Conference, Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
2023 GARBC Conference: The 2023 GARBC Conference will take place June 26–29 at Corban University, Salem, Oregon. Philip De Courcy, pastor of Kindred Community Church, Anaheim, California, and host of the daily media program Know the Truth, will serve as the keynote speaker.
The Promise of 2023: God is faithful to His Word and promises! He will build His church—our churches—“and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:17–19, ESV).
KERRY WATKINS, Director of Church Engagement
Alan Wilson, the US sales manager for Regular Baptist Press, retired December 31. In the 21 years Alan worked for RBP, he met ministry leaders at churches and conferences all over the country. His passion for and knowledge of RBP products will be missed. For any questions about RBP curriculum, please visit our customer support page or call RBP’s customer service: 800-727-4440.
Would you like to better understand the purpose of the GARBC? Do you have a question for the interim national representative, David Strope? If yes to either of these, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will get you scheduled for one of our online meetings, designed for pastors and ministry leaders to learn the purpose and vision of the GARBC. The meetings are about an hour long. David Strope speaks for about 20 minutes, and the rest of the time is available for you to ask questions.
The GARBC has also sent a short survey to pastors of GARBC churches. If you have not seen it, please check your church’s general email address. We are seeking input regarding the purpose of the GARBC. The information gathered will be helpful to us for future planning. Please complete it soon. It should take only about five minutes. At the end of the survey, we ask you to provide us with an email address that you access regularly. If you choose not to complete the survey, we would still like your email address. You can send your email address to email@example.com and we will get it updated in our system. Thank you.
MARK JOHNSON, Treasurer and Controller
Are you a pastor or church staff member looking for a way to save and invest for your future? Look no further. The Regular Baptist Ministries Retirement Plan for pastors and church staff is the perfect solution.
Our 403(b)(9) plan is designed specifically for GARBC churches and offers low-cost, high-quality, and tax-advantaged features that would be difficult and expensive to access in a single-church plan. We’ve recently made additional improvements to the plan structure to ensure even more cost savings for all participants while maintaining high-level service and features.
Getting started is easy. Enroll today and take advantage of all the benefits available to you.
CLARE JEWELL, Director of Generate
Generate is praising God for the opportunity to help church plants, church facility improvement projects, and church renewals over the past year. Despite economic turmoil, Generate was able to give significant assistance to a number of churches.
Please pray as I work with a couple of churches that are on the verge of closing. Generate wants to give them sound, Biblical counsel and help them in any way it can.
Generate is also praying that God will continue to use the Church Solutions Conferences to help pastors and GARBC churches get on a path to reproducing disciples, leaders, and churches. Generate will sponsor Church Solutions Conferences in the following locations:
Schererville, Indiana (January 28)
Cicero, Indiana (February 11)
Spring City, Pennsylvania (March 16)
Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania (March 17)
January 10–20: Leadership Summit for ABWE, Orlando, Florida
January 28: Church Solutions Conference, Schererville, Indiana
January 29–February 3: Orientation for Afghan missionaries
MANNING BROWN, Director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy
There is no corner of the earth where God is not there. And sometimes chaplains are called to the remotest of areas.
One of our Air National Guard chaplains returned from ministering for several weeks to the scientific team at McMurdo Station in the Antarctic. His ministry was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Look for his story in an upcoming issue of The Baptist Bulletin. His service in the Antarctic is another example of how God uses our chaplains to provide Christ-centered, Biblically based counsel, comfort, and care.
Around the globe (and sometimes at the bottom of it), Regular Baptist chaplains are intersecting lives with truth at the greatest points of need. Your financial support helps make this ministry possible.
DARRELL GOEMAAT, Coordinator of Regular Baptist International
Regular Baptist International continues to receive reports about challenges in ministry and testimonies of God’s saving grace and provision.
Last fall, Regular Baptist International gave a $3,000 grant to Joshua Masaba, president of the Eastern Uganda Baptist Association. He used the grant to buy food, firewood, and educational materials for orphans at the Kayango New Image Orphanage Education Centre. “Many thanks to your office and the donors who showed such big hearts to the hurting children of God,” Joseph says.
The Community of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Congo is rebuilding one of its churches, with help from a $5,200 grant from Regular Baptist International. The new facility will replace the association’s church in Mahanga that was destroyed amid rebel fighting. The congregation and community “are very happy to see the work started,” says Bertin Mwema, president of the Congo association. Thanking Regular Baptist International and its donors, Bertin says, “Without you and your support we could not start this work of construction.”
In November, more than 700 people attended the annual conference of the Association of Independent Baptist Churches in Liberia. James Togba, pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church in Caldwell–New Georgia, Monrovia, Liberia, hosted the conference. He had asked Greg Linscott and Bill Brittain to speak. Greg is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Rochester, Minnesota, and a member of the GARBC Council of 18. Bill is a missionary serving in Liberia with ABWE. Both men addressed the theme “Except You Abide,” based on Jesus’ words in John 15:3–7.
Greg says he was moved by what he observed in Liberia. “The people here were thrilled to be together. Many sacrifices were made for people to attend both the conference and training sessions. Many traveled long distances over rough roads in overcrowded vehicles. But the refreshment, encouragement, and joy they experienced was evident in their faces. God is producing fruit in Liberian churches, and I praise Him for it!”
We are grateful for reports like these of how God is using resources from Regular Baptist International and people from GARBC churches to spread the gospel and to equip ministry leaders.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support for Regular Baptist International.