DAVID STROPE, Interim National Representative
Encouragement: Paul greets the Corinthian church with these words: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, …with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2). They were God’s church at Corinth interrelated to other believers in other places who confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
We are God’s church, called to the “fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:9).
We live not in isolation, supposedly independent of all other believers! Rather, we are members of the larger Body of Christ, functioning in interrelationship with those of like faith and practice.
The GARBC’s tagline is “Making disciples through healthy local churches.” We assist one another, gain strength from others, and are often reproved in this fellowship, for we are God’s churches, God’s association, in cooperation with others!
It really matters to understand this: We are not alone in life and service. God is with us, and so are His churches!
Ministry: June was quite busy, capped by the ministry of the GARBC Conference. Those attending the conference enjoyed a blessed time of fine preaching, great fellowship, and graceful encouragement.
I share my thanks with the staff and membership of Calvary Baptist Church, Nicolas and Venessa Ellen, numerous local volunteers, Regular Baptist Ministries staff members, and local liaison/ministry recruiter Brian Cederquist. Thank you so much!
Also in June, I represented the GARBC at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Smithville Ohio; Faith Baptist Church, Carroll, Iowa; and First Baptist Church, Lowell, Michigan. Preaching and presenting Regular Baptist Ministries continues to be a joy and has become the favorite part of my interim role.
National Representative Search: The National Representative Search Committee reported to both the Council of 18 and to attendees of the GARBC Conference. The search committee is thoroughly reviewing every aspect of Regular Baptist Ministries while working to bring an eventual recommendation to our fellowship. Pray for the five who serve on this committee: Mike Augsburger, David King, Ken Floyd, Jon Jenks, and Brian Cederquist.
2022 GARBC Conference: The 2023 GARBC Conference will be held on the campus of Corban University, Salem, Oregon. The keynote speaker will be Philip De Courcy, pastor of Kindred Community Church, Anaheim, California, and the host and teacher of the daily media program Know the Truth. Reserve June 26–29, 2023!
Transitions: Last month we bade farewell to David Gunn, director of Regular Baptist Press. This change requires that I serve as executive editor of the Baptist Bulletin, capably assisted by Melissa Meyer, who is currently assistant editor. Despite all the change we experience, I remind myself and you that “the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isa. 40:8).
It continues to be my joy to serve Christ and our fellowship of churches.
KERRY WATKINS, Director of Church Engagement
If you are interested in being part of an online meeting with the GARBC interim national representative David Strope, please contact me. I can get you scheduled for one of the upcoming meetings. The focus of these meetings is to help our pastors better understand the purpose of the association and to encourage greater participation in the association. The meetings are about an hour long. David shares his vision for the ministry for about 20 minutes, and the rest of the time is available for you to ask questions. Our intent is to make these meetings as helpful as possible for pastors and ministry leaders.
MARK JOHNSON, Controller and Treasurer
I recently read a good blog post from Bob Haymond, a leader at our retirement partner Servant Solutions, regarding the volatility and downtrend in today’s investment market. The past few months have seen big swings. Bob notes the importance of staying the course, saying, “Long-term plans are built for uncertain times: a financial plan that evaluates the short, medium, and long-term is something to lean on during uncertain times. …Studies show that attempting to exit and enter the market to avoid turbulent periods (market timing) show a poor record of success, and you are only rewarded if you are present. If you do not stay invested, you will not benefit from eventual recoveries.”
Continuing to contribute to your retirement plan during periods of negative return can also bring the opportunity to lower the cost of your portfolio by purchasing investments “on sale” and increasing returns over the longer term. The GARBC Retirement Plan provides a low-cost, top-tier, and fully supported 403(b)(9) retirement plan for churches and their employees. Learn more and get started with your church’s plan.
MANNING BROWN, Director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy
Regular Baptist Chaplaincy is working to approve two new chaplaincy endorsements. In addition, one of our chaplains has been selected to serve as a chaplain in active-duty military service. I am excited to see this amount of activity.
Our chaplains continue to meet people in need with the truth of the gospel, bringing Christ’s love to so many. Please continue to pray for our chaplains and their families.
Find out more about what’s happening with our chaplains at RegularBaptistChaplaincy.org. If you are interested in having me speak at your church about this ministry, please contact me. Thank you for your prayers and support!
CLARE JEWELL, Director of Generate
During the GARBC Conference in Grand Rapids, I hosted a “Church Advance” workshop. Terry Thompson of Small Church USA joined me to help pastors think through issues related to church health and engaging in the mission of God.
I was also grateful for the opportunity to speak at the conference. My message, “Do the Truth,” focused on living out the truth we believe so our lives and ministries are built on a solid foundation that will endure with much fruit.
Generate hosted a lunch at the conference. We gave away prizes and encouraged people to partner with us as we celebrated what God has been doing through Generate grants.
Generate is also involved in Church Solutions Conferences. Eight conferences are scheduled for fall 2022 through spring 2023. Please pray for many pastors to attend and to implement what we discuss at these conferences so those attending can further the reproduction of ministry leaders and churches.
DARRELL GOEMAAT, Coordinator of Regular Baptist International
This year we received 16 requests from our international partners planning to attend the GARBC Conference in Grand Rapids. Unfortunately, some have informed us they were not be able to attend for various reasons—travel expenses and denied government visas being the main reasons.
Josiah Kennedy of the Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in Ghana and Jermi Babu of Hope Now Interior Ministries in South India were both planning to attend. Jermi planned to bring four other ministry colleagues with him. Thank you to those who connected with these pastors during the conference.
After a difficult year of violence and natural disasters in Congo, Bertin Mwema of the Community of Evangelical Baptist Churches reports that Mahanga Baptist Church is ready to rebuild. War in Congo destroyed houses and churches and killed many people in the village of Mahanga. Thankfully, the government army has driven the rebels from the region they occupied for years.
“The government army fought them and defeated them,” Bertin says. “Peace is already at place, and the government is calling everyone who fled this village to come back home.”
Bertin wants to rebuild his church in Mahanga now that his members who fled to refugee camps are returning. “We want to rebuild our church again so that these people coming back to their original village can have a church to worship and praise the Lord,” Bertin says. The congregation has collected some lumber, but they need finances to buy more construction materials to complete the building.
To help provide financial grants for partnering ministries like the Community of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Congo, donate to Regular Baptist International.