Are You Really Listening?

You would most likely agree with me that we live in a very noisy, disruptive world. Groups and individuals are clamoring to express their positions and perspectives. Many times it seems that rather than pursuing healthy and constructive dialogue, the goal is to see who can shout the loudest and longest.

Something seems to be missing in this tsunamic cacophony: the art of listening with discernment. Several years ago, I came across this helpful illustration that emphasizes the importance of attentive listening.

Back in the days when the telegraph was the fastest method of long distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background.

A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other anxious applicants in the waiting area.

After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.

Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you for coming, but the job has just been filled.” The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”

The employer said, “I’m sorry, but the last several minutes while you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out a in Morse Code. The message stated, ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. Therefore, the job is his.”

The newly employed young man’s situation illustrates how important it is to listen carefully for the right message. The external noise of the current cultural and political environment regularly emits mixed signals and conflicting messages. Amidst this noisy background, God shares His loving, truthful guidance. Jesus declared, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

Often in His Word, God discusses with His children their need to listen to Him. In one short paragraph in Psalm 81, God challenges the people of Israel regarding their easy distractability: “O, if you would listen to Me (81:8) … But my people would not heed my voice (81:11) … Oh, that My people would listen to Me”(81:13).

James comments on this critical spiritual need in James 1:19-25, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Three times in the Book of Hebrews (3:7; 3:15; 4:7), God warns believers who are tempted to turn from God and His voice through His Word, “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Christ reaffirms this in His message to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:19-20, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

In a noisy, tumultuous world, it is critically important for the children of God to continually cultivate the good discipline of prayerfully listening to God’s voice through His Word. The Biblical antidote to daily discord and controversy is to “be still, and know that I am God,”( Psalm 46:10).

You have His Word on it!
KEF 04 2017

MARBC Core Values Regional Town Hall Meetings

The MARBC Council of 16 continues the development of a series of core values which were presented at last fall’s MARBC Conference. A series of strategy meetings are scheduled in various regions of the state. The purpose of these meetings is to review these values and then spend quality time in an interactive discussion with those present. You are encouraged to attend one of these important meetings to assist the association in sharpening its ministry strategy.

Regional meeting dates and locations:

CMARBC (Central Association) meeting: annual meeting, Tuesday, April 25, First Baptist Church, St. Louis, MI, 9:00 a.m. – Noon (lunch included)

SMARBC (Southern Association) meeting: spring meeting, Lansing Avenue Baptist Church, Jackson, MI, Tuesday, May 2, 9:00 a.m. – Noon (lunch provided)

UPMARBC (Upper Peninsula): Tuesday, May 9, Bible Baptist Church, Ishpeming, MI, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (lunch provided)

NMARBC (Northern lower Association) meeting: First Baptist Church, Petoskey, MI, Thursday, May 11, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (lunch provided)

2017 CPR Projects are now being Coordinated. Will you help?

The MARBC office has been contacted by churches interested in assisting a church in need of CPR assistance. The assistance offered includes both ministry and building related projects. Please contact the MARBC office soon so that projects can be coordinated with these willing churches.

Contact the MARBC Office for CPR assistance and/or information

We thank God for projects already arranged for this year that involve DVBS, outreach, and building projects.

Two Special CPR Projects for your consideration

Pastor Phil Devaney, Britton Bethel Baptist Church in Britton, shares that due to a storm earlier this spring the church needs to re-roof our parsonage and perhaps the car-port at the church as well. The church already has the materials, but needs laborers to do the roof project. The project is scheduled for June 1-3.

Pastor Devaney shares, “Sadly, our knees ache from hours of kneeling and prayer, and our backs hurt from carrying many burdens over the years (in other words, we are old). If you could assist us, we would love to hear from you.”

Contact Pastor Phil Devaney at: (517) 451-5415.

Email Pastor Phil Devaney for more details

Pastor Scott Kroeger, Colon Baptist Church in Colon, shares that the church is preparing for a roofing project this spring. Would you and your church be willing to assist this sister church with funding, materials, and/or labor for this important project? Often several churches partner together to help meet such a need, which is the purpose of the CPR Ministry.

Email Pastor Scott Kroeger for more details

Be sure to inform the MARBC office if you have a special need that can be assisted by a CPR partnership, or if you would like to participate in a CPR project.

MARBC Council of 16 (2017)

Terms ending in 2017:
Chris Weeks, Kent City Baptist Church, Kent City
Ken Pierpont, Jr., Evangel Baptist Church, Taylor
Scott Florida, Alpine Baptist Church, Comstock Park

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

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)
John Nixon, North Park Baptist, Grand Rapids (GR)
Scott Church, Trinity Baptist, Muskegon (Western)
Jack Dowden, Emmanuel Baptist, Flint (Eastern)

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

Fragrance in a Foul Smelling Environment

I recently had the privilege to minister in the Flint area. While there, I passed billboards and viewed commercials that advertised the arrival of a display of Titanic artifacts at the Sloan Museum in Flint. It has been over a century since it’s tragic collision with an iceberg, causing over 1,5000 people to perish. Yet, the display of the ship’s remnants continues to draw large crowds wherever they are exhibited.

When deep-sea divers were searching the wreckage of the ocean liner Titanic several years ago, among the items recovered was a leather case containing 40 small vials of perfume oil. The little bottles, which probably would have been sold in New York as the ingredients for cologne, belonged to a businessman from Manchester, England. When they pulled the case from the water, the fragrance of the oils filled the air, even after being submerged for almost a century.

“To smell something that smells the same as it did on the Titanic before it went down is simply incredible,” said Graham Jessop, an expert in the retrieval of such artifacts. That must have been a high quality perfume. The quality of that perfume allowed for an undeniable and unavoidable aroma of wonderful fragrance.

One time a woman slipped into the dining room after dinner, carrying a small vial. She broke it open and poured it on the head of the honored guest. The room was filled with the smell of very expensive perfume. “What a waste,” some of the guests said. “We could have sold that and helped the poor.” (The perfume cost almost a year’s pay.) But, the man she anointed cut their complaints short. “She’s done a beautiful thing. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” And indeed it has!

The woman in the story was Mary of the village of Bethany and her story is shared in John 12:1-8. The world in which she lived reeked with the stench of political oppression, warring ideological factions, and blatant immorality. Survival involved keeping a low profile and avoiding controversy. Because of her love for Jesus, Mary risked rebuke from the crowd and gave the very best she had. Her motives were as pure as the oil she offered. Even now, two thousand years later, her sacrifice is still remembered. And the aroma of her sacrifice is as sweet now as it was then.

The current culture blows putrid winds across the landscape of humanity, leaving in its wake an angry wave of intimidation. This intimidation is especially directed towards those who embrace Biblical values. Like Mary of Bethany, the church of Jesus Christ has the opportunity to step forward and humbly offer the oil of sacrifice.

It is essential in a world steeped in the stench of sin that the church effuse a gospel-centric aroma. 2 Corinthians 2:15 shares, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Christians are further admonished in Ephesians 5:2 to “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

Christ calls us to give our best – our best love, our best service, our best offering. Our service is a sweet-smelling sacrifice to Him. “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58) And because it is offered to Him, it will always be remembered. He deserves it. And He will notice!

You have His word on it!
Ken Floyd
February 2017

The Ministry Vision of the MARBC

SMARBC Regional Association Quarterly Meeting

Ken Floyd, Ministry Director of the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches, has drafted a strategic ministry plan for the next 10 years of the association’s ministry. You are encouraged to click the link to download and then review the powerpoint presentation which summarizes this presentation.

Download the MARBC Ministry Vision 2016-2025 PowerPoint File (Right Click, Save As)

Or view the presentation slides here:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MARBC Ministry Director’s Report


The “10-40” Window.

“10” This is a very unique fall for the Floyds since we are entering the “10-40” window. It is hard to fathom that it was 10 years ago that Sharon and I assumed the roles of State Representative and Secretary of the MARBC. We were privileged to have a seamless transition due to the godly and wise leadership of our predecessors Maynard and Ann Belt. The Council of 15 is a wonderful group of servants who gave their support and encouragement as we launched out into “unknown frontiers” (at least “unknown” to us!)

“40” Near the end of November we celebrate 40 years of marriage. It seems shorter than that to me and for Sharon much longer! I am blessed to have a sweet and godly wife who listened to the challenge of her pastor’s wife as a seventh grader when she encouraged Sharon to pray for her future husband, since he may not even yet be a Christian (I wasn’t until my senior year of high school). Since Sharon also expressed her desire to serve as a pastor’s wife, she was encouraged by the same pastor’s wife to pray that her future husband would sense God’s clear call into pastoral ministry (I did as a sophomore in college as I prepared to be a medical doctor!) What a blessing from God it is to spend every day serving with such a focused, godly wife! All we have known as a married couple is ministering alongside one another in local church ministry. When starting down the marital path four decades ago we would have never imagined that we would have the privilege of sharing with such a wonderful group of churches and choice servants who comprise the MARBC. It is amazing to us that 25% of our marriage has been devoted to serving the Lord in our roles with the MARBC. We are humbled and deeply blessed to serve Christ and His Church alongside of you in such a way.


Embracing and Celebrating Our Core Values.

This past year of ministry with the MARBC has been one of stretching faith and special blessing as we have sought to strengthen our association in many ways. Not the least of these was the financial need. How blessed we are by the way God’s people have responded to this!

We also worked to refocus our vision regarding what connects us together as a network of local churches and Christ’s servants.

This became a major discussion point of the MARBC leadership, the Council of 16. This past spring we spent considerable time discussing the Core Values of our association. What is it that will allow the MARBC to remain a valid ministry investment for those currently in our network and for those who might consider becoming a shareholder? The result of these biblically focused, prayerful discussions resulted in the restating of specific core values that must define the MARBC’s investment portfolio.

The MARBC Core Values:
• Biblically grounded and doctrinally conservative
• Methodology that is progressive: knowing the culture to keep current and relevant
• Innovative: willing to try new ideas
• Non-hostile environments: love and unity are essential ingredients of church life
• Connecting with the community: creating contact points with the unsaved
• Accepting of differences: not every person/church must look the same
• Intergenerational: all ages worshipping together
These core values are the emphasis of the 2016 MARBC Conference theme, “Invested,” and will be communicated and implemented in the next decade’s strategic goals.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

We praise God for His work in our extended families during difficult health issues and severe crises. He is faithful! We praise God for our daughter Allison, her husband Taylor, and our four grandchildren – Connor (7), Eloise (5), Malachi (2), and Emmaline (4 months).

The MARBC Council of 16 serves a wonderful support system to us and we thank them for their sacrificial service. They are deeply invested in the future of our association. We also thank God for two significant volunteers who have assisted us in the MARBC’s practical ministry this past decade: Karen Avey, who serves as MARBC bookkeeper, and Kevin Pierpont, the MARBC’s web master. Both are a great blessing to us and are to be commended for their conscientious, quality ministries.

Sharon and I thank you for your ongoing prayer and financial support during this first decade of ministry with the MARBC. We look forward to investing with you as God’s stewards in the years ahead. He alone is worthy and deserves our very best!

To God be the glory!
Ken and Sharon Floyd

Michigan flag and map

Floyd Ministry Statistics from 2015-16
• Travel: Over 24,000 miles on behalf of the MARBC this past year; over 300,000 miles the past decade, serving in almost 700 churches & dozens of conferences and seminars!
• Church assistance: Speaking 88 times in 59 churches; 140+ 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 12 pastoral search orientations; shared at 10 pastor installation services and 9 ordination councils
• Strategic planning: led 6 churches through strategic planning seminars; participated in 6 church planting strategy sessions
• Office: monitored the improving budget situation and implemented cost-saving methods in office operations; prepared 3 dozen MARBC Messenger communications; worked on enhancing our online and electronic presence communications

We are blessed to complete our tenth year serving with you as representatives of this wonderful church network. You are a great blessing to us and it is our joy to partner with you for God’s glory!


Invested Conference logo 2016Michigan ministry servants recently gathered in a unique conference setting to focus upon their spiritual opportunities as investors and stockholders in Christ’s Great Commission.

“invested” was both the theme and focus of the MARBC Annual Conference held on Monday and Tuesday, October 17-18. The conference featured a new format for 2016. Live streaming technology was utilized in order to two hold the conference in two locations simultaneously. This allowed access to the conference within a reasonable driving distance for churches located in the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan.

The Tenth Annual MARBC Day of Prayer was held just prior to the conference on Sunday, October 16. It is held so that churches can give thanks to God for their pastors during Pastor Appreciation Month and so there can be a special prayer focus on behalf of the conference.

ken-floyd-and-george-coonNortheastern Baptist Church in Kalamazoo served as the host church in the Lower Peninsula. Host pastor and long-time MARBC Council member, Dr. George Coon, retires at the end of November. The conference was held there in honor of Pastor Coon’s impact and ministry in the MARBC.

up-discussion-groupUpper Peninsula churches gathered at the Northland Camp & Conference Center, located just across border in Dunbar, Wisconsin. The Northland campus has for many years been a popular conference and seminar site for Upper Peninsula churches. Each site had a session of worship that was followed by live streaming of the preaching sessions. The conference schedule was formatted to accommodate sites located in both the Eastern and Central time zones.

Our thanks to Pastor Ben Marx, Bible Baptist Church in Ishpeming, for his efforts to co-ordinate the Upper Peninsula venue and format.

congregational-worshipWorship sessions were led and coordinated by Nathan Pierpont, worship pastor at Northeastern Baptist Church. Other worship leaders included Dave Sill (Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby), Steven Lounsbrough (Evangel Baptist Church, Taylor),and Steve Nichols (Berean Baptist Church, Portage). Worship was coordinated at the Northland-UP site by Pastor Ben Marx (Bible Baptist Church, Ishpeming).

wigand-business-sessionThe Monday afternoon business session was designed to include messengers in both locations, with materials and ballots provided for ministry decisions. Reports included an encouraging update from Council of 16 treasurer Ron Wigand regarding the MARBC’s financial situation. Giving to the general fund income by churches increased 63% during the past year. Many one-time gifts have also been received from churches and individuals to assist the MARBC.

The MARBC Council of 16 honored Ministry Director Ken Floyd and his wife Sharon for their ten years representing the association. The Floyds received a special love gift in recognition of their investment with the association.

Council of 16 elections were also held during the business session. New members selected were: Jeff Burr (Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids), Mark Cizauskas (First Baptist Church, Rochester), Dave Sill (Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby), and Tom Townsend (Calvary Baptist Church, Battle Creek).

floyd-greetingMain session speakers were pastors serving in MARBC churches in both Michigan peninsulas. You are able to access both the audio and video content of each message is posted on this website.

The speakers focused upon various aspects of the conference theme, “invested,” and the updated set of core values that the MARBC Council of 16 recently drafted. Ken Floyd reflected upon these core values in the opening message of the conference, “Investing in Michigan:”

“This past year of ministry with the MARBC has been one of great faith and special blessing. The association has been refocused and strengthened in many ways. Not the least of these is the refocusing our vision upon what connects us together as a network of local churches and Christ’s servants: the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and the way in which it is integrated into the investment strategies of our spiritual portfolios. What is it that will allow the MARBC to remain a valid partnership investment for those currently in the network and for those who might consider becoming shareholders? The result of these biblically focused, prayerful discussions was the restating of the specific core values that define the MARBC’s investment portfolio.”

MARBC Core Values:
• Biblically grounded and doctrinally conservative.
• Methodology that is progressive: understanding the culture in order to be relevant and effective.
• Innovative: trying new ideas in order to apply biblical truths and values.
• Non-hostile environments: recognizing that truth based love and unity are essential ingredients of church life.
• Connecting with the community: creating connective points with the unsaved.
• Accepting of differences: not every person/church must look the exactly the same.
• Multigenerational: all ages worshipping together.

manwarren-livestreamThe remaining conference messages expanded upon these core values, utilizing pastors from MARBC churches of varied sizes and locations.

“Investing through the Gospel,” Andrew Manwarren, Newberry Baptist Church, Newberry, MI. Pastor Andrew shared a strong Biblical challenge from the Northland conference venue. He reminded those in attendance that God is sovereign and does not need anyone to assist Him with His plan. However, God graciously gives His servants the opportunity to engage in the joy of bringing Him glory.

george-coon-speaking“Investing in Multiple Generations,” George Coon, Northeastern Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, MI. Focusing upon the unique relationship between Elijah and Elisha as shared in 2 Kings 2, Pastor George reflected upon the necessity of balance in ministry as well compassion for those with whom we serve. The effective church strives for relevancy for all ages and generations. The relationship of the two prophets is also a reminder that you cannot serve God effectively in isolation. Every ministry servant needs four types of people in their sphere of influence: a shepherd, an accountability partner, a buffer, and a friend.

“Investing Creatively with Unbelievers,” Nate Parsekian, Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby, MI. Examining the practical ministry of the Apostle Paul from Acts 17, Pastor Nate noted that Paul was engaged with the community in a variety of ways. He reminded those gathered that Paul was always noticed where ever he went. The worst thing is when a church goes unnoticed by their community. Nate then shared several practical ways in which he leads the church as an outreach pastor in the Shelby community.

jason-laflamme-speaking“Investing in My Local Community,” Jason LaFlamme, Munising Baptist Church, Munising, MI. A lifetime “UP-er” and pastor in his hometown, Pastor Jason cite several Biblical examples of how every church and believer needs to be personally involved and invested in the people and needs of their community. Using the children’s game “Red Rover” as an illustration, he reminded that the circles of churches should be easily entered by others rather than hard to break through.

clare-jewell-speaking“Investing through Church Planting,” Clare Jewell, “Genesis” Church Planting Coordinator, Regular Baptist Ministries. Clare gave a presentation regarding church planting assistance opportunities in a Tuesday luncheon sponsored by the Regular Baptist Church Planting ministry. He recommended websites such as and to learn about the unique gospel opportunities in their communities through the study of neighborhood demographics.

doug-crawford-speaking“Investing through Biblically Relevant Methodology,” Doug Crawford, West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont, MI. Surveying the ministry of Peter, Pastor Doug noted that Peter was constantly challenged by Christ and other church leaders to keep maturing and progressing in regards to biblical change. Several crisis points in Peter’s ministry caused him to struggle with the need to abandon comfort and tradition in order to effectively serve Christ and lead the church forward. Crawford reminded the messengers that regardless of a servant’s age and experience, there needs to be an openness and submission to God’s redemptive process.

clare-jewell-lunch-presentationAn interactive afternoon session featured testimonies pertaining to creative outreach strategies used by MARBC churches. Several MARBC pastors shared ways in which they are leading their local churches to engage with their communities. Three pastors related how work as local police and hospital chaplains has opened doors in which to share the gospel. Others shared about outreach endeavors based upon the uniqueness of their community.

Ken Floyd closed the conference by suggesting that the MARBC’s partnership in Christ’s command be dubbed “The Great Co-Michigan.” Messengers left the conference sensing a greater commitment as fellow investors and stockholders in the Great Co-Michigan strategy.

pierpont-lounsbrough-sill-worshipResources and message audios from the conference are now available on the website.

Two MARBC Students Take First Place in Piano Competition

2016 National TFC

We rejoice with two MARBC students, their families, and churches. The students recently received first place recognition for their piano abilities in the 2016 GARBC National Talents for Christ competition held in Oswego, IL.

Nathaniel Bishop, L’Anse Baptist Church, L’Anse, placed first in the piano scholarship category.

Alexandra Hager, Marlette Baptist Church, Marlette, placed first in the piano open (non-scholarship) category.

MARBC Ministry Director’s Report – 2015

Sharon and I thank you for your ongoing prayer support on our behalf during the ninth year of our ministry with the MARBC. God bestowed to us wisdom and strength to prayerfully deal with the daily rigors of our ministry, the unique challenges of the financial crisis, and the severe physical needs of my parents. We thank Him for His gracious guidance.

Ken and Sharon MARBC Prayer Card Autumn 2015

This past summer someone asked me to describe my ministry as the Ministry Director of the MARBC. After pondering the best way to illustrate it, here is how I replied:

“Our ministry is much like my relationship with an acquaintance of mine named Sam. I really appreciate Sam and consider him a reliable friend. I know that if I call him he will promptly respond. If I need special attention he is equipped to assist me in determining my needs, discern important issues to address, and will then give me proper treatment or refer me to those who can.

Sam is actually a real person and a brother in Christ who is a member of an MARBC church in the Grand Rapids area. He is also my physician. I often pass by the medical building where Sam works sitting to the west of I-96 when I am traveling into and out of Grand Rapids. I don’t stop by to chat with him and he doesn’t expect me to call him weekly. Yet, I know that when he is needed I can pick up the phone, call him, and receive immediate attention. Sam’s almost instant availability and professional expertise make it worth the personal and financial investment that I make to maintain a relationship with him. Bottom line: I value Sam enough to trust my physical well being into his care.”

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