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)

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

2017 MARBC Conference highlights

 

Ken Floyd, MARBC Ministry Director, opened the initial session by sharing the vision of the Council of 16 in the planning of this year’s conference. “This year’s conference theme focuses upon the biblical church dynamics identified in the MARBC’s core values. We desire that the churches of our association will bring God great glory as they focus upon and implement these biblical principles. It is our prayer than this will be evidenced through individual local churches as well as through church partnerships regionally throughout our state. We pray that you will be challenged, encouraged, and strengthened as a result of your participation.”

 

MARBC Family Session

 

The MARBC family session on Monday afternoon included a report from Executive Ministry Director Ken Floyd, the approval of the 2018 budget, and the election of three new Council of 16 members for a 3 year term (2018-2020). Newly elected members are:

 

Bill Abernathy, Berean Baptist Church, Portage
Nathan Pierpont, Northeastern Baptist Church, Kalamazoo
Chris Weeks, Kent City Baptist Church, Kent City

 

 

2018 Council of 16

At large members, 3-year terms (term expiration year)

Tom Townsend, Calvary Baptist Church, Battle Creek (2018)

Doug Crawford, West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont (2018)

Marc Herron, First Baptist Church, Caro (2018)

Jeff Burr, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids (2019) Vice Chairman

Dave Sill, Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby (2019) Chairman

Mark Cizauskas, First Baptist Church, Rochester (2019) Treasurer

Bill Abernathy, Berean Baptist Church, Portage (2020)

Nathan Pierpont, Northeastern Baptist Church, Kalamazoo (2020)

Chris Weeks, Kent City Baptist Church, Kent City (2020)

Regional representatives (selected by their regional associations)

Steve Ayers, Faith Baptist Church, Benzonia (Northern)

Scott Church, Trinity Baptist Church, Muskegon (Western)

Phil Devaney, Britton Bethel Baptist Church, Britton (Southern)

Jerry Diserens, Evangel Baptist Church, Taylor (Eastern)

Aaron Hadley, First Baptist Church, Edmore (Central) Secretary

Lewis Hague, Blessed Hope Baptist Church, Escanaba (Upper Peninsula)

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.

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:

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Caring As Churches – “The CPR Initiative”

From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 54 Number 5 May 2008

Caring is a key dynamic of “Church Partnering Relationships” (CPR).  So far a dozen partnerships involving 24 churches have been arranged for this summer.  Remember to uphold these opportunities regularly in prayer in the weeks ahead.  Prayerfully consider ways in which you can be personally involved in demonstrating godly care for others this summer.

Church Partnering Relationships with 3 primary goals:
Caring:  a proactive vision towards mutual edification
Praying:  regular sharing of requests and initiatives that promote mutual prayer 
Resourcing:  embracing the mission of practical encouragement by outsourcing materials and personnel [Read more…]

Church Partnering Relationships – “CPR” Summer 2008 Ministry Testimonies

We rejoice in the many CPR Initiatives that took place between sister churches in Michigan this summer. The following are some of the testimonies shared by those churches involved in these strategic partnerships. Other churches were also involved in CPR initiatives in addition to the ones cited in these articles. […Read more]

The Baptist Testimony – Volume 54 Number 3 March 2008

The Word Has It
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” Psalm 119:28
Ken Floyd
MARBC State Representative

March's Word: “Relationships”

Recently, while accompanying my wife Sharon and daughter Allison on a shopping expedition in preparation for Allison's upcoming June wedding, I stopped in a book store and did some browsing. On this particular visit I spent most of my time in the historical section and focused upon volumes dealing with wartime events. I left the bookstore once again captivated by the several stories of raw courage and human drama. [Read more…]

The Baptist Testimony – Volume 54 Number 2 February 2008

The Word Has It
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” Psalm 119:28
Ken Floyd
MARBC State Representative

February's Word: “Partnering”

This past week our local news media shared stories commemorating the 30th anniversary of the “blizzard of '78.” 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. Alas, I must confess that more time was spent trudging back and forth through snow drifts to continue an impromptu Rook tournament with our special friends, Dave and Carolyn Culver. Those were the early days of what has become a lifelong ministry partnership that grows dearer with each passing year. [Read more…]

The Baptist Testimony – Volume 54 Number 1 January 2008

The Word Has It

“Strengthen me according to Your word,” Psalm 119:28
Ken Floyd
MARBC State Representative

January's Word: “Church”

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.” Acts 16:5

The Need for a Pioneering Vision and Spirit

Some three hundred and fifty years ago, a shipload of pioneers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year, they established a town. The next year, they elected a town government. During the third year, the town government revealed plans to build a road five miles west into the wilderness. [Read more…]