Here’s a closer look at what’s happening around the GARBC this month!
Letter from the Interim National Representative
Greetings in the name of our wonderful Lord Jesus!
On Easter Sunday, it was my privilege to worship with Ankeny (Iowa) Baptist Church. How wonderful it is for God’s family, His church, to rejoice and glory in the redemptive, reconciling work of our gracious God!
The psalmist declares, “The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the woodlands bare. In his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’ The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned, King forever. The Lord gives his people strength; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:9–11, CSB).
Glory! Look at Who God is and what He does for sinners!
He redeems sinners, reconciling us to Himself by the death of His own Son.
He unites the believer sinner with Christ, bringing newness of life, transformation, and the glory of God working in us just as He worked to raise Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4–5). He builds His church, giving grace to us by His presence in the task of making disciples.
“In his temple all cry, ‘Glory!’” Look at Who God is and what He does for us!
Soon our fellowship will meet for its annual conference. God has uniquely gifted Nicolas and Venessa Ellen to be our keynote speakers. They will encourage you and challenge you by the ministry of God’s Word. Venessa is preparing two workshops for women. The conference promises to be a time of refreshment, revival, and blessed reunion.
Many staff members of Regular Baptist Ministries are busily preparing for the conference. At the host church, Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Pastor Jeff Halsted and the pastoral and administrative staff are also diligently preparing for this annual reunion. Plan now to attend June 27–30 in Grand Rapids. Early bird registration is available through May 15.
Pray for the National Representative Search Committee, for Debbie and me in our role as interim national representative and wife, and for our churches as we move forward in Great Commission ministry.
Let us follow Paul’s counsel given to the Ephesian elders: “[We] consider [our lives] of no value to [ourselves]; [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).
I look forward to seeing you each soon, either at our annual conference or in the air!
Serving by His Grace,
David E. Strope
RBM National Representative
P.S.: Remember to nominate men for June’s Council of 18 election. Submission deadline is May 17.
DAVID STROPE, Interim National Representative
ENCOURAGEMENT: In these last five months of ministry as interim national representative, I have taken great comfort in one of Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening readings:
“‘The iron did swim’ (2 Kings 6:6).
“The ax-head seemed hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honor of the prophetic band was likely to be imperiled, and so the name of their God to be compromised. Contrary to all expectations, the iron was made to mount from the depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible with God. I knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to undertake a work far exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to involve absurdity in the bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called thereto, and his faith rose with the occasion; God honored his faith, unlooked-for aid was sent, and the iron did swim!” (Morning and Evening, January 13, morning reading).
Though written over a century ago, this reading describes me in my ministry as interim national representative. I’m glad God can make the iron swim! God can make your lost iron swim!
MINISTRY: The month of April brought me travel and ministry in Houston, Texas; Arlington Heights, Illinois; Clear Lake, Iowa; and Mason City, Iowa. Fellowship with churches and church associations continues to be a joy. I’m still striving to find the balance of ministry travel, administrative responsibilities, and study. But I am aggressively scheduling reporting and preaching ministries into 2023. I’d love to come to your church to preach, encourage your congregation, and report on the ministries of our fellowship.
NATIONAL REPRESENTATIVE SEARCH: “Slog.” “Long haul.” “Thoughtful analysis.” “Supplication.” “Progress.”
These words all describe the process and progress of the National Representative Search Committee. Chairman Mike Augsburger and members Jon Jenks, Ken Floyd, Brian Cederquist, and David King need your prayer and encouragement in this important work. A detailed report of the search committee’s progress will be shared with our fellowship at the business session during the 2022 GARBC Conference.
2022 GARBC CONFERENCE: The 2022 GARBC Conference will soon be upon us, and the early bird registration deadline of May 15 is quickly approaching. Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids will host the conference June 27–30.
Nicolas and Venessa Ellen will serve as keynote speakers, along with John Scally, Ken Floyd, Paul Davis, Clare Jewell, and yours truly. Matt Papa will lead worship during the conference and present a concert Tuesday evening. Register for the conference today, and pray daily for this time of fellowship, rest, and encouragement.
MINISTRY TRANSITION: My wife, Debbie, and I continue to delight in God’s will, in the ministry He has given us. Challenges always exist, yet God’s grace and faithfulness flourish. We rejoice in the ministry where God has placed us.
“I consider my life of no value to myself; my purpose is to finish my course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24, CSB).
KERRY WATKINS, Director of Church Engagement
David Strope, interim national representative, and I are holding 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.
Our next two meetings are April 27 and May 18, both at 11:30 a.m. CT. If you are interested in attending or know of pastors who would be helped and encouraged by attending, please email me. I will schedule those interested for an upcoming meeting.
MARK JOHNSON, Controller and Treasurer
Be revitalized in your ministry at the 2022 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. Early bird registration ends May 15.
We are also always looking for resources to help churches improve ministry, and though the topic may not be the most exciting one, complying with government regulations is an important area of administration. An opportunity to attend a free webinar, “Should Your Church Get Political?” (taking place May 18), came across my desk from the trusted advisors at Church Law & Tax. I wanted to share that opportunity with you, since this is a frequent and controversial question among pastors.
DAVID GUNN, Director of Regular Baptist Press
It’s common today to hear evangelical scholars suggest that we should interpret the Old Testament through the lens of Ancient Near Eastern mythology. This interpretive strategy tends to de-historicize Old Testament narrative literature and de-emphasize the uniqueness of ancient Israelite religion.
Be sure to check out our recent Baptist Bulletin issue that addresses this topic. Paul Miles’s article, “The Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Mythology,” shows why mythological hermeneutics is a trap and warns Christians against embracing it.
MANNING BROWN, Director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy
I am sad to announce the passing of Harold Albert, who faithfully served as a chaplain in the Contra Costa, California, correctional system for nearly 20 years. He also founded Bay Area Chaplains in 2009, where he served as lead chaplain.
On April 14, I was a guest on The Warriors Way podcast, where I talked about Regular Baptist Chaplaincy. It was a great opportunity to share about this vital ministry. One week earlier, I spoke during chapel at Clarks Summit University.
Please continue to pray for our chaplains and their families and for the chaplaincy ministry. Thank you for your support.
CLARE JEWELL, Director of Generate
Generate partnered with ABWE’s EveryEthnē, the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches, and Cedarville University to host two Church Solutions Conferences in Jamestown and Northfield, Ohio.
The Church Solutions Conference helps churches get on a path to reproduce disciples, leaders, and churches. In an even greater effort toward that end, all of the registration proceeds for these two conferences will be given to an OARBC church being planted or revitalized.
Each participant received about $90 worth of books and resources. A special thank you to Cedarville University for covering the cost of lunch for everyone who attended. Upcoming conferences will take place in Fort Wayne, Indiana; West End, North Carolina; Salem, Oregon; and University Place, Washington.
A new Filipino church that has applied to join the GARBC will launch this month in Regina, Saskatchewan. I will be traveling to this church with Darrell Goemaat, photography director for Regular Baptist Ministries, and RJ Cabugwas, pastor of First Baptist Church, Spring Valley, California, the sending church. Please pray for this church in Regina to get off to a great start and that God will use this church family to reach many people with the gospel.
Please also pray for Generate’s board meeting May 5. We will be evaluating several grant applications.
- May 5: Generate board meeting, Regular Baptist Ministries home office, Arlington Heights, Illinois
- May 13–16: Church plant launch, Regina, Saskatchewan
- May 27–June 8: Leadership training, Pelita Harapan University, Jakarta, Indonesia
- June 13–17: Essential Missions Components, ABWE International, New Cumberland, Pennsylvania
- June 27–30: Annual GARBC Conference, Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan
DARRELL GOEMAAT, Coordinator of Regular Baptist International
Thanks to the Lord’s provision through generous donors, Regular Baptist International awarded seven grants this spring (totaling $16,750) to partnering ministries in Africa and India.
One grant was given to Pastor Ndihokubwimana Pascal, president of the Community of Baptist Churches of Central Africa. A portion of the grant will provide famine relief for 45 church members who have suffered after natural disasters and war in Congo. “People have lost their homes, and crops have been stolen by the rebels,” Pastor Pascal says. The rest of the grant will help two of this association’s churches finish constructing their buildings. Both churches need iron sheets for the walls and roofing. Pastor Pascal says, “When help is available, we will purchase materials and the church members will provide the labor and build.”
Another grant recipient, David Chhetri of India, will use the funds to repair a hand-dug well that provides water for orphans in his ministry. The situation became an emergency this spring when rain caused drainage water to leak into the well, sickening the children. The grant will also enable David to expand the orphanage’s kitchen.
Prasad Sakile of India is also thankful to receive a grant. The funds will enable him to print Regular Baptist Press Sunday School materials, which he has translated into Telugu. In the past, as resources are available, he has translated and printed multiple age groups of RBP materials. To date he has printed more than 1,000 sets of student books and visuals. He then trains Sunday School teachers in remote areas how to use the materials, emphasizing child evangelism, systematic theology, doctrine, and story-telling techniques. So far he has trained 3,000 Sunday School teachers. Prasad says, “My vision to Indian children will be to grow in their spiritual life to fulfill the Great Commission work in India.”
Even though Regular Baptist International was able to provide several grants, the ministry urgently needs to replenish 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.