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.

“Stories from the Front” highlight practical church rescue ministries in the MARBC

Two practical church ministry breakout sessions were featured at the 2017 MARBC Conference. Titled “Stories from the Front” both sessions featured testimonies from church leaders who have served in integral ways in the rescue of struggling churches.

 

 

The Northland/Blythefield Partnership

This report focuses upon how a merger of two MARBC church ministries seeks to impact a community on the north end of Grand Rapids. Pastors Ben Phebus (Northland Baptist Church, Grand Rapids) and Tim Hoyt (Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, Rockford) share the back-story of this strategic relationship.

 

 

 

The Montrose Project

What options are available for a church that is in significant decline? This back-story shares how a healthy sister church offers significant support to a struggling church in a neighboring community, with assistance from the MARBC. Pastors Scott Snyder (South Baptist Church, Flint) and Shane Miller (Montrose Baptist Church, Montrose), along with Montrose deacon Bob Mosser, share about this exciting partnering approach.

 

 

 

Ken Floyd announced at the conclusion of the session that there are additional prospective church reboot partnerships under consideration. Churches and pastors are encouraged to contact the MARBC office to learn how they can be involved in this important ministry endeavor.

The MARBC welcomes Grace Baptist Church in Marshall

The MARBC messengers welcomed a new sister church, Grace Baptist Church in Marshall, into the association during the Monday business session. Brandon Crawford, Grace’s pastor, received the right hand of fellowship from the Council of 16 during the Monday evening service. Brandon and his wife Melanie have served at Grace since 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

Brandon recently authored a book on the life and ministry of Jonathan Edwards, “Jonathan Edwards on the Atonement: Understanding the Legacy of America’s Greatest Theologian.” He recently presented a paper titled, “Jonathan Edwards on the Nature of True Religion”at the Reformation Conference held in Detroit and at the Southern MARBC Association meeting.

CPR Opportunities for Your Consideration

Van needed.

 

John Watson, pastor of Standale Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, shares the special need for a member of his church. The church had the privilege of seeing a single mom and several of her five children come to Christ through the ministry of the church. Her current van has been maintained by the church for several years, but is now beyond repair. Would you consider assisting Standale Baptist Church in meeting this need through the donation of a reliable van or through financial assistance?

Contact Pastor John Watson

 

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.

 

Email Pastor Casey Smith for more information

Church Security Options

We encourage the MARBC family to continue your prayerful support of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, as well as the affected families, community, and those in law enforcement and government positions.

 

The continuing security risks for churches has caused many church leaders to contact the MARBC office seeking options for practical ministry assistance. Here are two options for your prayerful consideration.

 

 

Church Strong Consultants.

 

Today’s volatile culture demands that pastors and churches take practical precautions for the safety of those who participate in their ministries. Ken Floyd recently had the opportunity to talk with the representative of a helpful ministry that is designed to assist churches in such an endeavor.

 

Church Strong Consultants John Murdoch and Laird Baldwin are both experienced pastors, as well as trained and experienced law enforcement chaplains. Brother Murdoch spent many years leading the Chaplaincy Commission for the GARBC. As members of the Ohio Crime Prevention Association, they are trained in crime prevention and threat assessment. They evaluate a church’s safety and security needs with a pastor’s understanding and perspective.

 

Church Strong Consultants offers a six-hour seminar and 64-page manual, “Thinking Through Church Security.” The seminar consists of the following topics: Preparation, Awareness, Response, & Teamwork.

 

Church Strong Consultants prefers to come to your church and conduct seminars on Saturdays when possible, and through the week if necessary so as to avoid conflict with Sunday services. Seminars normally take seven hours.

 

Click here to access the Church Strong Consultants website

Click here to email consultant Laird Baldwin

 

 

 

Sheepdog Church Security.

 

Jim Barrett serves as the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Carson City, MI. He also serves with the state and local law enforcement as a chaplain and firearm consultant. MARBC Ministry Director Ken Floyd recently talked with Jim about church security issues. Jim recommends that pastors and churches seriously consider the security risks they face. He recommends that churches consider support from a group such as Sheepdog Church Security.

 

The group’s website offers practical downloadable materials to assist in security evaluation. One such resource is “How to Plan an Active Shooter Drill: 10 Best Practices for Churches.”

 

Access the Sheepdog Church Security website

Upcoming MARBC Regional Association meetings

GRARBC (Grand Rapids association) monthly meeting.

The Grand Rapids Association monthly “Breakpoint” meeting will be held at Berean Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, on Tuesday, November 28, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Pastor Doug Compton, Alpine Baptist Church, Comstock Park, will share on the topic, “Preaching to the Common Person.”

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

 

Remembering John Wood, former MARBC Representative

Rev. John Ralph Wood had his fondest desire come true, meeting his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ face-to-face on Saturday, June 10. The memorial tribute prepared by his family captures the unique life and ministry of this faithful servant of God. Here are some highlights:

“Rev. John Wood was a cherished husband, a loving father, an adoring (great) grandfather, a trusted friend and a gifted pastor. He was born on the south side of Chicago on December 19th, 1927, [and] lived a full 89 years filled with love, laughter (often times at his own jokes- and they were many!) and, most of all, a close walk with Jesus. After receiving his [high school] diploma, he followed his older brother’s footsteps and joined the Navy. He later attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, after which he became an ordained minister, a calling he lived out faithfully and passionately for 65 years. It was also during this time where he met the love of his life and future wife of 67 years, Jean Mitchell. They were married in Cass City, Michigan in 1949 and had one son, Ronald Wood. In 1951, he was called to lead his first church in La Paz, Indiana. In future years, he would pastor in various cities: Lapeer, MI; Ecorse, MI; Bellefontaine, OH; and Cass City, MI.”

John also served as the second state representative for the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches (MARBC) from 1972-1982, succeeding Howard Keithley. He was a welcome speaker in the churches and great source of encouragement to the pastors and churches in the state.

John eventually entered into retirement after serving in Cass City, but had a difficult time staying there. During his “retirement years” he served as interim pastor for different churches. Most recently, John served several years at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Bay City, MI.

John’s family reflects on his legacy sharing that he was “a man of great faith, wisdom, and integrity. He moved through the world with an eternal perspective, his eyes fixed on Jesus. He loved the Lord. He loved his family. He loved his friends. He served all of them well. He possessed a quick-witted personality and love for laughter. His light-hearted nature and genuine concern for others made him a fast friend to many.” John is survived by his wife Jean (his pride and joy), son and daughter-in-law Ronald and Melody Wood, 3 grandchildren and their spouses, and 4 great children.

Memorial to Rev. John Wood

John Wood. Whoever met the man would not forget him. He would be a friend from the first handshake. Ours took place more than 40 years ago. Every time he saw me he would say that there were no tall spiritual men in the Bible! Upon one occasion of his preaching in one of my churches I put a foot stool in the pulpit so that people could see him and said that we were glad to have Pastor Zacchaeus with us today! Dr. David Otis Fuller pastored the Wealthy St. Baptist Church in Grand Rapids for more than 40 years. John once told me that he had had a very tough assignment. He had to fill Dr. Fuller’s shoes in his pulpit. Then he went on to say that in leaving home in a hurry, he had forgotten his Sunday dress shoes so Dr. Fuller had to lend him a pair of his!

During those early years of our fellowship and serving as a member of the MARBC Council of Fifteen, I would have never dreamed that someday I would follow him as State Representative of the MARBC. He set the bar high. He was always an encouragement to me in that capacity. Though small in stature, John had a great heart for God, a confident call to ministry, an ability to preach the Word with authority and a passionate love for people and the church of Jesus Christ. Jean was forever at his side. Just a few days before his entrance into glory, I had the privilege of having one last phone conversation with my friend, John. He was very weak but we had a delightful visit. We talked about ministry and his anticipation of heaven. I mentioned to him that Puritan Thomas Watson said, “Heaven is such a happy place that angels would not wish to leave it for a minute!” My dear brother John is now in his “happy place.” I look forward to that day when I will be in my “happy place.” After seeing my Savior first of all, I want to look John up and hear what he has to say now about smaller men being more spiritual. No doubt he will still be right. Thank you, John, for being faithful to the end and giving God all the glory.

Maynard H. Belt
Former State Representative, MARBC

Pastor John Wood Tribute

John Wood has been God’s writing instrument through which He inked an indelible impression of what it means to live out the Biblical example of “the joy of the Lord as your strength.” I have never encountered anyone who knew John and didn’t use words such as “joy,” “energy,” “enthusiasm,” “perseverance,” “faithfulness,” and “godly zeal” to describe his impact in their life.

I first met John in my early days as “the new kid on the block” as the Representative of the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. We were reflecting upon the impacting ministry of another former MARBC Representative, “Alf Nelson,” who had just been called home into the presence of our precious Lord and Savior. Standing with John by Brother Alf’s casket prior to the start of Alf’s memorial service in St. John’s, he remarked to me with a twinkle in his eye, “See what this job will do to you?”

At last Wednesday evening’s gathering at the funeral home in Greenville the atmosphere was filled with the God-given joy that only believers can truly embrace in the midst of sorrow. Christians truly do sorrow in a peace-filled way that is very different from those who no eternal hope. The joy of the Lord is their strength.

Led by his loving wife Jean, the room was filled with chuckles, even laughter, while tissues where utilized to dab away tears. Stories were retold regarding John’s determination, commitment to Christ, and love for people. Some talked about humorous situations pertaining to this larger than life man’s diminutive size. Almost everyone shared a favorite quote or pun that seemed to flow easily from a man who loved the Lord His God with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength, while truly loving his neighbor as himself.

Traveling home from that unique gathering, I reflected upon my last conversation with John a few days before His beloved Lord summoned him into His presence in glory. John shared, “I’ve preached on this type of situation many, many times. I pray that I will now practice in my own life what I’ve preached to others.” I replied, “John, I think that you are about to preach your greatest sermon.” Well, God answered our dear brother’s prayer and also affirmed my observation. “Well done, good and faithful servant, you deserve your God-graced rest and will now know nothing but joy unspeakable while you bask in your Savior’s glory.”

Ken Floyd
Executive Ministry Director, MARBC

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.