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

Upcoming Meetings of the MARBC Regional Associations

GRARBC Breakpoint Meeting. The GRARBC (Grand Rapids regional association) monthly Breakpoint meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 23, at Alpine Baptist Church in Comstock Park, MI. The speaker will be Dr. Dan Schellenberg, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, “Responding to Mental Illness in the Church.”

 

SMARBC Quarterly Meeting. The SMARBC (Southern Regional Association) will hold its quarterly meeting on Thursday, February 1, at First Baptist Church in Brooklyn, MI. Bill Jenkin III, president of Continental Baptist Mission, will be the speaker.

 

CMARBC Quarterly Meeting. The CMARBC (Central Regional Association) will hold its quarterly meeting on Tuesday, February 6, at Trinity Baptist Church in Alma, MI. The group will discuss the book, “The Trellis and the Vine.”

 

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

 

A Christmas Meditation

 

IF I WERE GOD…

 

Would I have come to earth as a babe
To be born in a run down manger,
Surrounded by malodorous animals
Who to a baby could mean danger?

 

At the risk of perilous disease
From the livestock or in the hay.
If I were God coming to earth,
Shouldn’t there be a better way?

 

If I were the God of the universe
Who created the heavens and the earth;
And if I chose to come as a baby,
How would that show My ultimate worth?

 

If I were God, would I come only
Garbed in swaddling clothes?
Would I depend on others to change
My diapers and wipe my nose?

 

Of all the places I could live
Would I choose Nazareth to dwell?
Would I live as a lowly carpenter’s son?
Is that the trade that I should learn well?

 

If I were God, would I choose to die
On a cross from a rough-hewn tree?
Would I stand still to be spat upon
As they jeered & cursed at me?

 

If I were the omnipotent God;
It would be impossible for Me to sin,
So, why would I lay down My life
For a race of wicked men?

 

If I were God, what would I give
To save man from eternal death?
Would I offer myself to bleed and die?
Would I give my very last breath?

 

If I were God in the form of man
What would I do to meet that need?
Ah! But He was God in the form of man
And He did give His life indeed.

 

© Sandra B. Schimpf
12/08/2007

 

Sandy Schimpf, a faithful member of Northeastern Baptist Church in Kalamazoo, wrote this poem in 2007 after attending a Christmas concert with Northeastern’s Silver Saints group in Shipshewana, Indiana. The concert featured the Collingswood Family.

 

Sandy shared this note with us several years ago: “Kim Collingswood shared some thoughts during the concert about something she had read or heard recently: ‘If you were God, would you come to earth to lie as a baby in a bed of straw? If you were God, would you come as a baby to have someone change your diaper?’ That thought immediately took up residence in my mind and continued to grow throughout the remainder of the concert and on the way home. When I arrived home that night after 11:00, I headed for my computer and this is the result.”

 

Sandy is enjoying her first Christmas with her Savior, having been ushered into His presence earlier this year. We are grateful to share this poem with you as you prepare to celebrate Immanuel.

Christmas Greetings from Ken and Sharon Floyd

Ken and Sharon with their 5 grandchildren: Connor (8), Ella(6) , Emmaline (18 months), Malachi (3), and Camille (2 months)

 

We thank God for His abundant blessings as we minister together for God’s glory and on behalf of the MARBC fellowship. What a joy it is to meet so many wonderful servants of God in our frequent travels. We are encouraged by your expressions of appreciation and prayer support.

 

It is a great honor to enter our twelfth year serving you as representatives of this Biblically sound church network whose heritage is rich and whose potential for Great Commission influence is strong.

 

Thank you for your ministry partnership and financial stewardship that enables this to happen. We know that many of you pray regularly and give sacrificially. God is using our association to make an eternal impact!

 

We pray that you and your family will be especially encouraged during the Christmas season as you rejoice in “Immanuel – God is with us!”

 

Rejoicing in the Lord and thanking Him for you,
Ken and Sharon Floyd

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

2017 Conference Messages

Four MARBC pastors each chose a Biblical text that illustrates the application of one of the four core values.

 

In Search of Soul Satisfaction, John 4

Jeff Burr, host pastor serving at Forest Hills Baptist Church and current Vice Chairman of the MARBC Council of 16, shared in the first general session. He opened his message by sharing a brief overview of the decline of Kodak as its industry’s gold standard. The business thoroughly dominated its technological field but lost sight of it’s corporate vision. Burr then traced how Jesus overcame various barriers in sharing the gospel with those he encountered using the narrative of John 4.

 

 

 

Shepherding All the Sheep,” 1 Peter 5

Mark Cizauskas, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Rochester and current Treasurer of the MARBC Council of 16, focused upon Peter’s admonition to pastors from 1 Peter 5:1-4. Keying on the core value, pursuing cultural and generational diversity, Mark emphasized the critical role pastors play in modeling gospel ministry. It must be a ministry that does not play favorites but reaches out to all demographics in the local body and in the community. “Peter challenges the pastor to ‘shepherd the flock which is among you.'” The pastor is called to shepherd the redeemed and they in turn will impact the community.”

 

 

 

Staying on the Line, Mark 7

Preaching on the morning of October 31, Ross Shannon, lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Lapeer, acknowledged his excitement in sharing a message on the importance of Sola Scriptura on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Ross examined the interaction of Jesus with the Pharisees as they reacted to what they considered as the disciples’ unorthodox dining habits. He stated that while association churches and pastors should seek to uphold the core value of remaining “Biblically and doctrinally resolute,” care must be taken to “stay on the line, not above it by adding to the truth; or below it, subtracting from it.” Reflecting upon Jesus’ response to the Pharisees, Shannon stated that “Jesus is against those who go above the line. When we go a above the line, the line isn’t protected or obscured, but is erased.”

 

 

 

Walking the Ministry Tightrope, Acts 6

One of the four core values embraced by the MARBC is “progressing in ministry mindset and method.”

Utilizing an opening illustration about a tightrope walker crossing over Niagara Falls, Bob McNeil discussed the ministry tightrope that the Jerusalem church had to walk as they dealt with the pressing spiritual needs within its body. The church leaders needed to properly address the demands of two extremely different groups who were now a part of the church: formerly Orthodox Jews and Greek converts. “They sought to keep a biblically healthy balance: they were tied to the text [of scripture] but were also open to change … Healthy churches are always addressing the need to change.” Biblically engaging the culture demands a church that is willing to make changes in its approach to that culture. McNeil then noted the key to the Jerusalem church’s ability to navigate change in a God glorifying manner – they were committed to prayer. “The power of God is accessed through prayer. They didn’t pray and then say, ‘we’re going to do what we’ve always done.'” Peter had to learn this the hard way … It took three visions from God before he would change and reach out to the Gentiles. Likewise, Paul had to learn through out his missionary journeys that he had to change the approach of his message, depending upon his audience.

Veteran MARBC pastor Stan Lightfoot, Jr. in memoriam

Stanley Lightfoot, Jr.  

Stanley Lightfoot Jr., a veteran MARBC pastor, entered the presence of his Lord and Savior on October 31 at the age of 95.

 

Stan was a veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S. Army Air Forces from January 1943 to November 1945 in the Cadet Flying Program and as radio mechanic. Following his honorable discharge, he was employed with the Detroit Post Office for 18 years and began a career in ministry in 1971.

 

Stan pastored Berea Baptist Church, Stevens Point, Wisconsin (as a missionary pastor with Continental Baptist Missions); Trinity Baptist Church, Ypsilanti, Michigan; Calvary Baptist Church, Wabash, Indiana; and Fellowship Baptist Church, Marine City (now East China), Michigan. This highly respected and much beloved servant of the Lord also served as interim pastor for a number of churches in Michigan over the last 25 years of his life.

 

He is survived by his wife of 76 years, Dorothy; his children, James, Donald, Stanley III, Ruth Rodenberg, and Lois Turner; 13 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.

 

A memorial service was held on Saturday, November 18.

MARBC Council of 16 (2018)

Terms ending in 2018
Tom Townsend, Calvary Baptist Church, Battle Creek
Doug Crawford, West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont
Marc Herron, First Baptist Church, Caro

Terms ending in 2019
Jeff Burr, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids
Dave Sill, Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby
Mark Cizauskas, First Baptist Church, Rochester

Terms ending in 2020
Bill Abernathy, Berean Baptist Church, Portage
Chris Weeks, Kent City Baptist Church, Kent City
Nathan Pierpont, Northeastern Baptist Church, Kalamazoo

Regional Representatives
Steve Ayers, Faith Baptist Church, Benzonia (Northern)
Phil Devaney, Bethel Baptist Church, Britton (Southern)
Aaron Hadley, First Baptist Church, Edmore (Central)
Lewis Hague, Blessed Hope Baptist, Escanaba (UP)
Marcus Little, Berean Baptist, Grand Rapids (GR)
Scott Church, Trinity Baptist, Muskegon (Western)
Jerry Diserens, Evangel Baptist, Taylor (Eastern)

Council of 16 Officers:
Dave Sill, Chairman
Jeff Burr, Vice Chairman
Aaron Hadley, Secretary
Mark Cizauskas, Treasurer

2017 MARBC Annual Conference to be held on October 30-31 in Grand Rapids

You are encouraged to join us for this special event that features challenging biblical exposition, practical ministry ideas, and rich fellowship. The conference will focus upon the biblical church dynamics identified in the MARBC’s core values.

This year’s conference features speakers who currently serve as pastors in MARBC churches from various regions of the state.

 

 

Conference Schedule

 

MARBC Day of Prayer scheduled for Sunday, October 29

The Eleventh Annual MARBC Day of Prayer is scheduled for Sunday, October 29.  The Day of Prayer is held just prior to the MARBC Conference so that there can be a special prayer focus on behalf of the conference. It is also held during a time when churches give thanks to God for their pastors during Pastor Appreciation Month.

You are encouraged to join sister churches in our state for a day focusing upon united prayer for one another and our partnering ministries.

We suggest that your church designate time during the morning and/or evening services to pray for the churches, pastors, camps, missionaries, and ministries of the MARBC. Pray also for sister churches in your area.

Some churches choose to receive a special love offering on behalf of the MARBC. The MARBC ministry office and Executive Director are supported by the love gifts from churches in the fellowship. Your special offering would be greatly appreciated as the state association enters a new budget year and continues to improve its ministry income base.

Day of Prayer resources, including bulletin inserts, prayer related articles, and prayer requests, are available to download from this website.

You may also find this three part series of articles helpful, written by Ken Floyd for the Baptist Bulletin:

PDF Download The Effective Prayer of a Righteous Church

PDF Download Practical Ways to Make Prayer Happen

PDF Download Three Additional Prayer Tools