CLARKS SUMMIT, Pa.—Nineteen staff members from Regular Baptist Ministries met Sunday night to begin final preparations for the GARBC Conference, arriving on the campus of Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pa. The weeklong conference begins Monday.
John Greening, national representative for the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, describes the annual conference as “a chance to connect with our friends within the fellowship, and to think about how we are doing ministry.” While summer church meetings are sometimes known for their denominational business sessions and political statements, Greening described the GARBC Conference as a time of mutual encouragement and mutual challenge. “The Word of God has always been central to our fellowship. During the conference our times around the Word will illustrate the centrality of the Bible in our methodology,” Greening says.
To reflect the “Authentic Church” theme, the featured speakers are teaming together to present 10 expository sermons from 1 Timothy. Other events include workshops, receptions, a family picnic, youth activities, and the annual Talents For Christ competition.
When the staff arrived on campus Sunday evening, they were led on a facilities tour by Andrea Gower, Regular Baptist Ministries conference coordinator. Then they worked together to unload the truck from Schaumburg, Ill., where the GARBC Resource Center is located. Guests will begin to arrive for registration on Monday afternoon.
The conference is organized with the help of a regional committee chaired by Craig Golden, who recently retired as the state representative for the Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches. Other members include Teddy and Karen Herron (nursery), Ken and Victoria Young (preschool), Richard and Colleen Woodruff and Matt and Julie Carpenter (children), Kristi Ryans and Ryan Day (communication), Paul Golden (information), Jim Johnson and Carl Gibbs (ushers), Rob Hammaker (transportation), Don Roe (prayer), Nancy Patten (nurse), Mike Spiegel (finances), Larry Walter (outreach), and Manning Brown and Amy Heitner (BBC coordinators).
When John Greening walks past Schaffer Hall this week, he may experience a few blasts of nostalgia about his old college dorm. “I first visited campus in the fall of 1968 as an entering freshman, the first year the school had moved to Clarks Summit,” Greening says. “I was part of the first class to go all the way through at the new campus.” The college was founded in 1932, just a few months after the GARBC was organized. For its first 36 years, college classes met in the facilities of First Baptist Church, Johnson City, N.Y.
Dr. Jim Jeffrey, president of BBC&S, is one of the featured speakers at this week’s conference.
“Our association is vitally connected to this school and others,” Greening says. “We’re deeply grateful to the school for its scholastic and spiritual emphasis and for the values they have built into so many men and women who have served our association throughout the decades of its existence. We look forward to many years of our continuing relationship.”