LETTER FROM THE INTERIM NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE
Greetings in the name of our wonderful Lord Jesus!
The month of May is our busiest month here at Regular Baptist Ministries, with last minute Vacation Bible School orders being received and shipped and summer quarter Sunday School materials heading out to churches. Many staff members are also working daily on preparations for the GARBC Conference June 27–30 in Grand Rapids.
May is also the time of year when for many, particularly here in Chicagoland, winter loses its grip and all of God’s creation comes back to life. May and June are filled with graduations, weddings, and anniversaries. The hustle and bustle can be quite overwhelming, leaving us emotionally breathless.
It is good to relax, to spend unhurried time with God, to take a leisurely walk with your spouse, to watch your grandson’s T-ball game (which, as this papa noted, is its own exquisite form of torture)!
Jesus Christ, we are told, “very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying” (Mark 1:35, CSB). Even then Jesus was unable to escape the crush of people who sought His healing touch. But whatever time He was afforded, He sought refreshment, time with the Father.
In the busyness of our days, with the press of family engagements, work responsibilities, service in our churches, and witness in our neighborhoods, don’t neglect times of refreshment with God. J. Vernon McGee is noted for saying, “If you don’t come apart, you’ll come apart!”
One of the GARBC’s “come apart” ministries is its annual conference. Pray much for God’s blessing on this gathering in Grand Rapids, through each person who preaches or leads a workshop, but mostly through good, godly interaction with other servants of Christ.
Serving by His Grace,
Dr. David E. Strope
Interim National Representative
P.S.: Pray for the GARBC Conference keynote speakers, Drs. Nicolas and Venessa Ellen. Nicolas will preach three main session messages, and Venessa will lead two women’s workshops.
DAVID STROPE, Interim National Representative
Encouragement: C. S. Lewis wrote in his book Reflections on the Psalms, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” Praise indeed is the fitting expression of God’s people.
God receives our praise not because He needs an ego boost. Rather, praise is the appointed consummation of God’s work of creation, redemption, and ongoing sanctification.
So with all the challenges in your personal and ministry life, with the mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly that compose our earthly existence, “rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful” (Psalm 33:1, CSB).
Ministry: Travel was a little lighter this month. I presented Regular Baptist Ministries and spoke at the California Association of Regular Baptist Churches Annual Bible Conference, hosted by Orchard Baptist Church in Vacaville, California; preached and presented Regular Baptist Ministries at New Life Baptist Church, Lake in the Hills, Illinois; and attended the Conference on the Church for God’s Glory at First Baptist Church, Rockford, Illinois.
These ministries at churches and conferences remind me of the importance of the ministry of presence. Regular Baptist churches in California serve in a unique milieu. It was my delight to communicate the GARBC’s support and encouragement of their ministries throughout the state. What a joy it was to renew friendships with many and to make new friends!
I spent the better part of a week at the Regular Baptist Ministries home office. By now you may have heard of God’s direction in the life of David Gunn, director of Regular Baptist Press. Beginning this month he will assume a teaching role at Baptist Bible Seminary. David has served with excellence and diligence, and though we are saddened by his departure from RBP, we are glad that God has manifested His will for his life.
National Representative Search: The National Representative Search Committee continues its work, particularly in two online meetings with the Council of 18. The search committee will share a report with attendees of the GARBC Conference during the business meeting.
2022 GARBC Conference: The GARBC Conference is just around the corner. Last-minute preparations are underway, and registration is still open. Go to garbcConference.org for information and registration. I look forward to seeing many of you Monday evening, June 27, for the opening session.
Celebrations: Last month my wife, Debbie, and I celebrated 46 years of wedded bliss. I am so grateful for God’s provision of grace in my life through her. “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). I have been particularly favored by God in her life and love!
Also in May, I was flabbergasted, humbled, and honored to receive an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary. I am very grateful for the patience and grace of each church I have served, and particularly for the kindness of Dr. Jim Tillotson, president of Faith, in the bestowal of this honor. For Debbie and myself, our purpose remains as expressed in Acts 20:24: “[We] do not count [our lives] as having any value; [our] purpose is to finish [our] course and the ministry [we] received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24, CSB).
Serving on behalf of our fellowship continues to be a privilege and joy.
MARK JOHNSON, Controller and Treasurer
Be revitalized in your ministry at the GARBC Conference June 27–30 in Grand Rapids. You’ll enjoy doctrinally rich sessions and practical workshops on the theme “Truth Matters” while you renew friendships, network with organizations that support church ministry, and discover new initiatives taking place in our association.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be equipped and refreshed in your ministry!
KERRY WATKINS, Director of Church Engagement
David Strope, interim national representative, and I are continuing to hold online meetings with pastors. The focus is to help pastors better understand the purpose of the GARBC and to encourage greater participation in the association.
These meetings are by invite only, as we want to keep them small enough to allow time to answer everyone’s questions. We want to make these meetings as helpful to pastors and ministry leaders as possible.
The meetings are 45 minutes to an hour. David shares his vision for the ministry for about 20 minutes, and the rest of the time is available for you to ask questions.
If you would like to attend one of these meetings, email me at email@example.com and I can let you know upcoming dates and put you on the schedule.
DAVID GUNN, Director of Regular Baptist Press
Regular Baptist Press is pleased to announce the soon publication of The King Eternal by Juanita Purcell. This women’s Bible study explores 10 of God’s attributes: His triunity, sovereignty, holiness, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, mercy, faithfulness, and goodness.
You probably wouldn’t say you love someone you don’t know very well. But as you get to know a person’s character traits and personality, that love (and even respect) can grow exponentially. It is our prayer that The King Eternal will help you learn about God’s characteristics and what they mean for believers today.
The King Eternal is available for preorder.
MANNING BROWN, Director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy
I greatly look forward to Regular Baptist Chaplaincy’s annual training block at the GARBC Conference. The training will involve topics including end-of-life care and professional development.
The GARBC Conference (June 27–30 in Grand Rapids) affords a much-needed opportunity for Regular Baptist chaplains to come together in fellowship and meet people across the association while learning from ministry leaders, worshiping God, and being refreshed in ministry.
Please pray for all of our chaplains and their families, particularly those who will be traveling to the conference.
DARRELL GOEMAAT, Coordinator of Regular Baptist International
Partnering ministries of Regular Baptist International continue to serve the Lord despite challenges from the weather, religious persecution, and lack of resources. We received two reports this month from Prasad Sakile, a pastor with the New Life Regular Baptist Society of Andhra Pradesh, India.
In one case, a seaside fishing village in the area where he ministers was struck by a cyclone and flooded. “Heavy winds hit my region and collapsed many houses and crops,” Prasad says. When it comes to hearing the gospel, the people in that village “are the most unreached people group in India.” He is now helping these fishermen and their families recover from the cyclone’s aftermath by leading a team of volunteers who are distributing food and making arrangements for shelter.
In another area, a fellow pastor named Ruben was beaten by Hindu radicals while he was sharing the gospel door-to-door. The men beat him with sticks and burned the tracks he had been carrying. “By the grace of God,” Ruben was not seriously injured and is recovering, Prasad says. Prasad says Ruben is “a dedicated person with a vision to preach the gospel to the unreached.”
In Myanmar, Victor Vula, principal of Victory International School, is thankful that summer classes are going well. “Students are enjoying their life back on the school campus for a few hours each day,” he says. Unfortunately, when the regular school year starts in June, all of the students will not be able to attend at the same time because of safety reasons.
Victory International School works with 12 missionaries to tutor children in missions centers. Victor says the tutoring is “an evangelistic tool.” He hopes to include even more children from disadvantaged communities, where many families’ children are unable to attend school. “Please continue to pray for Myanmar,” Victor says. Unrest continues, with “not much progress” in the conflict. Houses have been burned, people have died, and many people live in difficult situations after fleeing for safety. He says, “Please continue to pray so that the conflict in Myanmar will end.”
About 10 of our international partners are planning to attend the GARBC Conference June 27–30 in Grand Rapids. Unfortunately, many are experiencing difficulty satisfying the travel requirements for their countries or raising finances for travel. This trip is difficult but highly anticipated for our partners who desire to connect with Regular Baptist Ministries in person. Please pray that the Lord will enable as many as possible to attend.
Thanks to your financial support, Regular Baptist International was able to provide assistance to several partnering ministries this spring. However, the needs are still great. Regular Baptist International urgently needs to replenish its resources, especially its compassion fund. Donations to this fund are sent to partnering ministries and their churches when they need to recover from natural disasters or man-made conflicts.
Consider donating to the compassion fund.
CLARE JEWELL, Director of Generate
I am very grateful that Generate is able to help sponsor Church Solutions Conferences across the country. Responses to the conferences have been positive. Many churches are following up to develop a culture of multiplying disciples and leaders as a key step in becoming reproducing churches.
Six more of these conferences are scheduled for September 2022 through March 2023. Visit Church Solutions Conference to see the schedule and register.
At the GARBC Conference in Grand Rapids I will be co-leading a workshop June 28 on “Church Advance.” Those attending will discover a path to help their churches bring the hope of Christ to their communities. Join me in this workshop, and identify clear steps to equip your church to effectively engage in the mission of God.
- May 26–June 8: Training faculty at Universitas Pelita Harapan, a Christian university in Jakarta, Indonesia
- June 13–17: Essential Mission Components, ABWE, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania