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Thank God for Ministry Partners!

Suburban Acres Mobile Home Park during Blizzard of ’78

This past month the national, state, and local news media spent significant time and news space sharing stories and photos commemorating the 40th anniversary of the “blizzard of ’78.” The sparse and grainy pictures from four decades ago remind us how far we have come in technology. Every smart phone would have captured thousands of images which would have been shared instantly had they been in existence. We used a Polaroid camera to snap a couple of shots that are now fading away!

 

The snow bank in front of the Floyd’s mobile home

Sharon and I were newlyweds then and I was in my first year of seminary. We were snowed in at our rural trailer park for three and a half days. We spent time trying to stay warm and hoping that the power would stay on. I used some of the free time to catch up on collateral reading and reviewing Hebrew vocabulary. However, I must confess that more time was spent trudging back and forth through snow drifts to continue an impromptu Rook tournament with our best friends, Dave and Carolyn Culver. Those were the early days of what has become a lifelong ministry friendship and partnership that grows dearer with each passing year.

 

Three years after that big storm, Sharon and I moved with excitement and some trepidation from that mobile home park located in the flat northern Indiana farmland to a small town church parsonage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of southeast Ohio.

 

Happy 34th birthday, Allison!

We were a young married couple whose backgrounds did not include growing up in a Christian home. Neither of us came from families with ministry experience. And now we found ourselves living in a remote location, away from our families, friends, and anything else familiar. It seemed that everything was new and the learning curve at times was challenging. God graciously added to that learning curve when He blessed us on February 18, 1984, with a new baby girl. That certainly added an extra dimension of joy and unfamiliarity to our lives!

 

I can still envision many of the faces who looked back at me on that hot June Sunday morning, my first as their new pastor. I remember the intimidating thoughts I imagined as I faced big challenges in a small place, such as: “How can I minister here when most of the people here have been saved longer than I have been alive, and, where many of the Christian teens have been saved longer than I have?”

 

Those early days of ministry challenged, chiseled, and changed me as a young pastor. I saw potential in the church that had extended to me its call and had big goals and dreams for its future. I prayed fervently, worked hard, and invested much. But much of the time, I was learning the hard way.

 

I often felt isolated because of our remote location. I usually had to drive several miles to attend meetings of our regional and state Regular Baptist association from which I could gain ministry encouragement and practical help. Making this commitment to attend meant that I would have to sacrifice most of a day of ministry.

 

Some church members didn’t understand this since they felt that everything you needed could be found in their little hamlet. Their misunderstandings were heaped on top of an already growing mound of the self-inflicted guilt I felt as a result of my own over-exaggerated expectations and what was perceived by many in the church as an underachieving ministry.

 

During those challenging times, God graciously brought His special ambassadors into our lives to share as ministry partners. These men and women from other local churches in our state association would serve as encouragers and godly role models for me and Sharon. They personally invested in us so that we could mature in our faith and grow in our ministry competency. They told us that it was alright to have spiritual vision, to try, and even to fail.

 

They shared their own personal stories of frustration and discouragement, as well as the victories and high moments. Their willingness to extend themselves to us helped to keep us afloat and gave us insight in navigating the sometimes rough ministry waters. Many of the greatest lessons we have learned in ministry came during those early days, and we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

Sharon and I have learned that most of the couples we meet have the same desire that we first felt as we walked down the marital aisle and its corresponding path towards pastoral ministry many years ago. Indeed all Christian couples have similar desires. We all desire to glorify God in our lives and ministries. We prayerfully desire that our churches grow spiritually. It seems that more than anything, all of us want to know that we are not alone in sensing these challenges, these needs, and these opportunities. We desire ministry partners who will come alongside us.

 

Partnership in ministry is a wonderful thing. It was the vital connection in Christ that prompted the apostle Paul to exclaim to the Philippians: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5 ESV). Paul and the believers at Philippi were effective partners in ministry because they were truly committed to one another’s growth, maturity, fruitfulness and success. Their relationship was spiritually significant because it was Christ-centered, faith-driven and love-empowered.

 

Looking back on our experience as a couple, Sharon and I can trace our growth and maturity as Christ’s followers to the individuals and churches He has strategically interwoven into the path of our spiritual journey. Our lives and ministry have richly benefited from the partnering that has been offered to us by God’s special servants.

 

We can testify to the fact that this partnership has come from many unexpected places. It has included churches of varying sizes and levels of ministry sophistication. It has also involved people of varying backgrounds and abilities, from trained theologians and capable pastors to humble Christian servants in local churches.

 

When God’s people partner together according to His biblical blueprint, they experience more and achieve more than they ever could apart in isolation. We suggest that you to reach out to a brother and sister in ministry and encourage them as they seek to serve their Lord and Savior. Such a partnership will not only reap great fruit in their lives, but yours as well.

 

You are invited to take advantage of the many resources that are available to you through a rich ministry partnership such as the MARBC and GARBC. You will discover that you have much in common with other ministry servants, regardless of your age, background, and ministry context. Sharon and I have been greatly challenged and edified over the years by the solid and practical biblical content we have received. We have been significantly blessed by the rich relationships and long lasting friendships we have gained by participating in association opportunities.

 

We encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities regularly shared in each issue of The Messenger e-newsletter. Your participation really does matter. And it will result not only in your own blessing, but also those with whom you partner.

 

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

 

You have His Word on it! (KEF)

Upcoming Meetings of the MARBC Regional Associations

GRARBC Breakpoint Meeting. The GRARBC (Grand Rapids regional association) monthly Breakpoint meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 27, at First Baptist Church in Lowell, MI. The speaker will be Dr. John Duff, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, “Reformation Lessons We Should Never Forget.”

 

EMARBC “Men Modeling the Master” Seminar. “Leaving a Legacy” is the theme of the “Men Modeling the Master” seminar sponsored by the EMARBC (Eastern Regional Association). The one-day men’s conference will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Vassar. The cost is $15 per person. The speaker will be Jim Jeffery, Equipping Pastor at Chapel Pointe Church in Hudsonville, MI. Men and sons/boys are encouraged to attend.

 

 

GRARBC Church Ministries Conference.  The GRARBC (Grand Rapids association) will hold its annual church ministries conference on March 9-10, 2018, at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids.

Approximately 75 workshops will be featured at this popular and practical Friday night and Saturday conference.

This year’s keynote speakers come from area churches: Chris Weeks, Kent City Baptist Church, Kent City; Doug Crawford, West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont; and Mark Shaw, Calvary Baptist Church, Greenville.

Registration and additional information will be posted soon on the conference website.

Access the Church Ministries Conference website:

http://www.churchministriesconference.com

 

CPR Building Opportunity for Your Prayerful Consideration and Involvement

 

First Baptist Church in Petoskey prepares for major relocation project.

 

Casey Smith, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Petoskey, reports that the church is preparing for a long anticipated relocation project that will begin in the spring of 2018. The church has been able to receive a large amount of funds due to the sale of donated stock, in addition to the sale of the current building which is located in the center of town. The church will relocate on the north end of Petoskey on 14 acres of property which the church already owns.

 

The church will need the assistance of volunteer labor in order to complete this project. This includes electricians, plumbers, framers, drywallers, painters, etc. While some of the needs require skilled laborers, much of the work can be done by volunteers under supervised direction.

 

Pastor Smith shares that there are many local campgrounds and places along Lake Michigan for those who want to bring their RVs and campers. Other lodging options can be explored.

 

The Petoskey region offers beautiful scenery and unique shops in the city. The church is beginning to discuss plans with an architect and would greatly appreciate your communication if you are interested in participating in this significant opportunity to impact this church and community.

 

Please email Pastor Smith asap to indicate your interest, or phone 231.347.2038 (church) or 231.487.8692 (cell).

 

Email Pastor Casey Smith for more information

Speaking and Ministry Schedule

Ken Floyd ministry photo 2011

Ken Floyd, MARBC Ministry Director

Ken is scheduling Sunday speaking ministries in 2018 and beyond. He is available to share in special ministry seminars, consultations, and pastoral search orientations.


Ken’s upcoming itinerary:

 

March 3 “Men of God” conference, Bellefontaine, OH

 

March 9-10 Church Ministries Conference, Calvary Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, MI

 

March 11 First Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant, MI

 

March 13 MARBC Council of 16 meeting, Calvary Baptist Church, Lansing, MI

 

March 15 Life Matters Banquet, Grand Rapids, MI

 

March 18 First Baptist Church, Newberry, MI

 

March 18 Calvary Baptist Church, Gaylord, MI (afternoon meeting)

 

March 19 “Pornography and the Church” Symposium, First Baptist Church, Holland, MI

 

April 8 First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs, MI

 

Contact Ken for speaking and ministry information

 

We are grateful for your prayer support as Ken and Sharon travel and minister.

Stepping Forward in the New Year

One of my favorite stories of history relates to the famous Duke of Wellington. Born Arthur Wellesley, Wellington was a British soldier and statesman who was nicknamed “The Iron Duke.” He became famous when, as a general, he led his troops in overcoming the armies of the French Emperor Napoleon I in Spain and Portugal. He later helped defeat Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In his final years, Wellington became a leader of the Tory Party and served as prime minister.

 

On one occasion General Wellington had planned an operation to take a dangerous hill occupied by the enemy. As he reviewed the details of the plan he knew that when he gave the command for his men to charge, very few would come back alive. Even his stout military heart wavered at the thought.

 

The time finally came to share with his regiments the details of his desperate but necessary strategy that would be implemented the next morning. After covering the weighty details of the plan he shared sincerely with his soldiers, “I will turn about, and every man that is willing at daybreak to make the charge on that hill, let him take two paces forward.”

 

Wellington turned his back to the soldiers and waited for the men to decide. After a few moments the anxious general turned to see which soldiers had taken the step of commitment. A look of disappointment crossed his face – not even one soldier had taken a step away from the others. Observing Wellington’s look of disappointment, one of his officers explained, “Sir, do not be disheartened. Every man has taken two paces forward!”

 

Imagine with me for a moment if our Great Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ, were to visibly stand in our midst during a worship service and make a similar request? How would we respond? I am sure that we would hope that our response would be, “Oh, yes, I will step two paces forward for you, Lord!”

 

The fact is Jesus has already called us as His soldiers to take “two paces forward” – to be a part of the Great Commission assault against the forces of darkness in liberating those who are being held captive to the bondage of sin.

 

As we enter a new year, will you take a moment to consider what taking “two paces forward” means for you today? What commitment is Christ calling you to make? What investments demand your serious attention? As individuals, churches, and a fellowship of churches, are we willing to take “two paces forward” for the glory of our most worthy Commander and the Captain of our Souls? I invite you to join me in prayer that each step that we take as individuals followers of Christ and as churches will be accomplished in ways that will bring Christ glory and strengthen His Church.

 

Please pray with us that this will be a wonderful new year of glorifying and exalting Christ as an association of churches. We endeavor to encourage and edify our churches and their servants through practical ministry resources and particular initiatives. As always, we seek your input, welcome your participation, and depend upon your investment.

 

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24 ESV)

 

Partnering with you in the glorious gospel of God’s grace,

Ken Floyd

MARBC Ministry Director

Executive Ministry Director’s 2017 Annual Report

It continues to be our great joy and privilege to serve our Lord and Savior and His Church through the ministry of the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. Hardly a day goes by without recognizing in some practical way the importance and benefits of this ministry to the churches and servants in our network. My report shares a few of the reasons why this has been true in the past year.

 

 

Refining the Core Values of the Association.

 

 

The Council of 16 is a source of personal blessing as they seek to passionately lead with biblical conviction. They are deeply invested in the future of our association. An example of this has been their ongoing work of refining the MARBC’s Core Values. A series of “regional forums” were held in each of the seven regional associations to seek input from the association. These meetings were well attended by those serving in MARBC churches, as well as several pastors from unaffiliated churches. The discussion at each gathering was both edifying and encouraging.

 

A Council task force reviewed the comments received at the forums and submitted a refined set of core values for approval. The original seven statements were narrowed to four: (1) biblically and doctrinally resolute, (2) progressing in ministry mindset and method, (3) pursuing cultural and generational diversity, and, (4) engaging our neighbors.

 

Church Revitalization.

 

A major emphasis of our ministry this year involved the further development of a practical plan for the revitalization of struggling churches in the association. This revitalization will be implemented on a regional basis. Churches within a region are being asked to help assist a struggling sister church that agrees to submit to a partnership.

 

An example of this is happening at Montrose Baptist Church, who is receiving significant assistance from South Baptist Church in Flint along with input from the MARBC office. Pastoral and financial resources are being provided to help the Montrose ministry revitalize. Other MARBC churches in the region plan to offer their assistance. At least two other revitalization projects are currently being developed for implementation in 2018 in other parts of the state.

 

Pastoral Search Assistance.

 

A prominent part of the Ministry Director’s personal ministry involves assisting churches and pastors in times of transition. This important process is both time and labor intensive. The spiritual fruit realized as a result of this investment makes it worthwhile.

 

Interpas Ministries.

 

A recent development has enhanced the association’s effectiveness in ministering to churches facing such a need. Shortly after the conclusion of the 2016 MARBC Conference, the leadership of Interpas Ministries approached me with the proposal that their ministry come under the direction of the MARBC Ministry Director. They reasoned that much of the recruiting and facilitating of churches in need of pastors was already being done through the MARBC office.

 

Interpas was founded by Dr. Wilbert Welch 30 years ago and has served dozens of local churches, many of them in association with the MARBC. The ministry provides interim pastors for churches willing to follow its policies. Men who serve with Interpas are screened and interviewed by an Interpas review committee. The Council of 16 approved bringing Interpas Ministries “under the umbrella” of the MARBC in its June meeting.

 

Our office is now receiving calls and inquiries from churches in Michigan, as well as a few other states. Since we anticipate the retirement a large number of “Boomer” pastors there will be a great need for new pastors in the next decade and a strong demand for interim pastors. We will be recruiting retiring pastors to join Interpas to help meet the demands of these churches.

 

Statistics from the 2016-17 ministry year…

• Travel: Over 26,600 miles on behalf of the MARBC this past year.

• Vehicle: God blessed the association this past summer with the opportunity to purchase a vehicle for use by the ministry director. Our thanks to the churches and individuals who gave to this project. A special thanks to the Grand Rapids Women’s Missionary Union for raising nearly $9,000. This enabled us to purchase a 2015 Ford Fusion in late June.

• Church assistance: Speaking 90 times in 54 churches; 150+ meetings in-person and online for counseling and consulting; promoting CPR ministry opportunities

• Pastoral assistance: Assisted 14 churches in the call of a new pastor; conducted 18 pastoral search orientations; shared at 8 pastor installation services and 8 ordination councils

• Strategic planning: led 4 churches through strategic planning seminar weekends and follow up coaching

• Office: continued to implement cost saving methods; prepared two-dozen MARBC Messenger communications.

• Eleven years! We celebrate God’s blessings as we complete our eleventh year serving the association.

 

To God be the glory!

 

God recently added another precious grandchild to our family. We give thanks to God for our dear daughter Allison, her husband Taylor, and our five grandchildren – Connor (8), Eloise (6), Malachi (3), Emmaline (16 months), and Camille (born October 11)!

 

It has been our blessing during these 11 years of service to partner with two special individuals who volunteer their time to assist the MARBC in important support roles. Karen Avey continues to effectively serve as the MARBC bookkeeper, as well as giving Sharon some practical assistance from time to time with office matters. Kevin Pierpont not only continues his service as the MARBC’s web master, but also oversees the Interpas Ministries website. Both are a great blessing to us and are to be commended for their conscientious, quality ministries.

 

One of the greatest blessings of serving the Lord through the MARBC ministry is the opportunity to serve side by side with my wonderful wife, Sharon. She is such a personal joy and I know that she is an encouragement to each of you who have the opportunity to interact with her. Yes, it is true that we really do like working and serving together in the office and on the road.

 

We praise God for His compassion and sustaining grace as we have dealt with serious health needs with Ken’s parents in Ohio and extended elderly family members in Florida. Your prayer support and encouragement as we have dealt with these needs has been greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you for your continuing prayer and financial support. Do not hesitate to contact us to seek our assistance, share a prayer request, or celebrate a blessing in your life or ministry. We thank our God upon every remembrance of you.

 

Partnering with you and praying for you,

Ken and Sharon Floyd

Church Related IRS Matters

Housing Allowance reminder.

 

Churches must designate a portion of each minister’s compensation as a housing allowance by December 31,2017, in order for ministers who own or rent their homes to receive the full benefit of a housing allowance exclusion for calendar year 2018. The designation should be adopted during a regular or special meeting of the church board, and should be contained in the written minutes of the meeting.

 

Churches should designate a parsonage allowance for any minister who lives in a parsonage and who is expected to pay some of the expenses of maintaining the parsonage (e.g., utilities, furnishings, repairs, improvements, yard care). For sample housing and parsonage allowance resolutions, see chapter 6 in Richard Hammar’s 2017 Church and Clergy Tax Guide. Source: Richard Hammar’s Essential Reminders.

 

2018 Mileage Reimbursement Rate announced.

 

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that the standard mileage reimbursement rate in 2018 will be 54.5 cents per mile. This is a slight increase over the 2017 rate.