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The Bridge!

Next month, one of our ministry road trips in Michigan will afford us a luxury that people over 60 years ago could not enjoy. We will journey into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and back via the Mackinac Bridge. No matter how many times you cross its magnificent five-mile span, you are amazed by this amazing structure and its impact upon the region.


According to the Mackinac Bridge Authority website, the Mackinac Bridge is currently the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere and the third longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge, which opened to traffic on November 1, 1957, is five miles long and contains 42,000 miles of wire in its main cables. The height of the roadway at mid-span is approximately 200 feet above water level.


All suspension bridges are designed to move to accommodate wind, change in temperature, and weight. It is possible that the deck at center span could move as much as 35 feet (east or west) due to high winds. This would only happen under severe wind conditions. The deck would not swing or sway but rather move slowly in one direction based on the force and direction of the wind. After the wind subsides, the weight of the vehicles crossing would slowly move it back into center position.


Click here for more information regarding the history of the Mackinac Bridge


It was a joy during our last pastorate to have in our church a retired church-planting missionary couple who had served their Lord in the Upper Peninsula. During our visits with them, they loved to tell us about their past days of service for Christ in pioneer church work in Michigan’s northland region and to show us pictures and memorabilia from their ministry there. They told us of the isolation they experienced during the long winters and how the area changed in their later days of ministry. When questioned about what changed things in those later years they quickly responded, “Oh, the bridge changed everything.” Indeed, the building of the Mackinac Bridge opened up that beautiful region to many people who had never experienced it before.


It’s amazing the difference a bridge can make. Bridges make it possible to cross dangerous passages or normally uncross able chasms. As a result, places and people who were once disconnected have the capability of connection. And for those fearful of the passage over such a structure, special services are offered. Because of the imposing nature of the “Mighty Mac” there is actually Bridge Authority Driver Assistance Program. Bridge Authority workers deal with people afflicted with “gephyrophobia” every day (gephyra is Greek for bridge). Each year over one thousand gephyrophobes hand over their keys to Bridge Authority workers to be chauffeured from one side of the bridge to the other.


The bridge service is free of charge. One area resident frequently uses this service and shares, “This service is wonderful! I never have to wait more than 15 minutes. And they always do what I ask: They stay in the middle, away from the edge!” FYI, the census of gephyrophobes is evenly divided between males and females!


What is true in relation to physical barriers is also true in the spiritual realm. From the earliest days of human existence there has been a deep seated acknowledgement of the terrifying gulf that is fixed between God and man. Job bemoans this undeniable fact for all of humanity when he declares in Job 9:33, “Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both.” Job desired a mediator, an arbitrator who would understand both parties and bring them together. He desired someone who could bridge that gap.


What Job cried out for near the beginning of human existence was answered by God centuries later when “the Father sent [His] Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). God becomes man! Jesus lives as we live, feels as we feel, and solves the great problem between mankind and God. The Bible declares that Jesus has bridged the eternal chasm between a holy God and unholy sinners by His death for their sins.


One of the terms used in the Bible to describe this action by Christ is the word “reconcile.” To “reconcile” means to bring two parties together. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 shares the wonderful news regarding the bridge of reconciliation that God has constructed: “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ … that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them.”


Next week Christians will commemorate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We do this because it is Christ Who makes it possible for a relationship to take place between us and God. 2 Timothy 2:5-6 affirms this by stating, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” Jesus is the Mediator, the Bridge that crosses the godless chasm of sinful depravity. He is also the One who offers passage for “spiritual gephryophobes,” making it possible for repentant sinners to receive forgiveness and cleansing and become the children of God. 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 declares: “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


The next time you cross an impressive bridge structure remember the great love and sacrifice offered by “the Man Christ Jesus” in bridging the gap between yourself and God. And, rejoice that safe passage across the bridge is provided through the same Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!


“There’s a bridge to cross the great divide
A way was made to reach the other side
The mercy of the Father, cost His son His life
His love is deep, His love is wide
There’s a cross to bridge the great divide”


“The Great Divide,” Grant Cunningham and Matt Huesmann, © 1995 Emily Booth, Inc. (adm. by Reunion Music Publishing) / River Oaks Music (adm. by the Sparrow Corp.) / BMI


“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).


You have His Word on it! (KEF)

Upcoming Meetings of the MARBC Regional Associations

WMFRBC Pastor’s Fellowship Meeting.  The WMFRBC (Western regional association) will meet on Thursday, March 22, 12:00 – 2:30 p.m., at Bridge to Life Ministries, 17194 Van Wagoner Rd., Spring Lake, MI.  Please RSVP to moderator Scott Church at 231.777.1115 or moc.reitnorfnull@hcruhcljls by March 15.  Bridge to Life Ministries focuses on the needs of marriage and relational issues for the purpose of reconciling men and women to God and each other.


CMARBC Regional Meeting. The CMARBC (Central regional association) will meet on Tuesday, April 17, 9:30 a.m. – noon, at Calvary Baptist Church in Evart, MI (please make note of the corrected date). Pastor Jeff Burr, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, will speak on the topic of Biblical Church Leadership.


SMARBC Regional Meeting. The SMARBC (Southern regional association) will meet on Thursday, April 19, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Grace Baptist Church in Marshall, MI. The meeting features the First Annual Michigan Expositors Summit, an annual gathering of like-minded, gospel-driven pastors and students who love God’s Word and are committed to honing their preaching skills.


The speaker is Dr. Steven Thomas, senior pastor of Huron Baptist Church in Flat Rock, MI. Dr. Thomas has also served as an adjunct professor of homiletics at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, MN. He will share in three sessions: The Glory of Preaching, Sermon Form and Delivery, and Preaching Theology.


The summit is free to attend, but you are asked to RSVP by email to Brandon Crawford, host pastor, in order for an adequate supply of resource materials for participants. You may also phone 269.781.3558.


RSVP by email


A free lunch will follow the summit and refreshments will be available for those who arrive early.


GRARBC Pastors and Wives Appreciation Dinner. The GRARBC (Grand Rapids regional association) monthly Breakpoint gathering will feature a night out for pastors and wives. The dinner will be held at Arnie’s Restaurant, 722 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The cost is $10 per person.

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:


April 8 First Baptist Church, Cedar Springs, MI


April 11 West Michigan Friendship Center leader’s meeting, Grand Rapids, MI


April 15 First Baptist Church, Newberry, MI


April 15 Calvary Baptist Church, Gaylord, MI (afternoon meeting)


April 16 First Baptist Church, Vestaburg, MI (leadership meeting)


April 19 SMARBC regional meeting, Marshall, MI


April 21 Closed Door Ministries board meeting, Jenison, MI


April 22 Ensley Baptist Church, Sand Lake, MI


April 24 Faith Baptist Church, Greenville, MI (leadership meeting)


April 26 Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, MI (ordination council)


Contact Ken for speaking and ministry information


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

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)

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