MARBC News & Notes, March and April 2010

You can also download a PDF of the Volume 56 Number 2 March/April 2010 (1.3mb PDF; PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)

From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 56 Number 2 March/April 2010

When the devastating earthquake struck Haiti earlier this year, several MARBC ministries quickly responded. This included Bibles International (BI) which is based in Grand Rapids and is directed by Haitian native Dr. Hantz Bernard. Dr. Bernard ministered at last year’s MARBC Annual Conference as a keynote speaker.

Good News Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, an MARBC church where Dr. Bernard and his family are members, established a Haiti Relief Fund in response to the devastating earthquake. The fund is jointly administered by Good News Baptist Church and Bibles International. The deacons of Good News Baptist Church also moved quickly to purchase Dr. Bernard’s plane ticket.

Recently, The Grand Rapids Press featured an article regarding Dr. Bernard’s Haitian trip and ministry. It is reprinted here by permission.

Hantz Bernard recently wandered the cracked and rubble-filled streets of Port-au-Prince, staring at demolished buildings and crying as he stood before what remained of his school, his uncle’s former office in the Haitian Supreme Court building, the presidential palace where as a teenager he once attended an event. Bernard grew up in Port-au-Prince, returning to his homeland just days after the January 12 earthquake that reduced the city to rubble and killed thousands of people.

“I knew those streets and those buildings,” Bernard said. “I saw something of apocalyptic proportions. I saw devastation that was indescribable.”

Dr. Bernard is the director of Grand Rapids-based Bibles International, a division of Baptist Mid-Missions. Bibles International spearheads Bible translations for groups around the world, as well as works in literacy, training and publishing services.

“After I heard about the earthquake, I felt like Nehemiah learning about the ruined city of Jerusalem. I felt I must go back,” said Bernard, who arrived in Haiti on January 20.

“I went because these were my people, but also because, personally, these were people I served with. All these things called me, just like Jerusalem called Nehemiah in the Old Testament.”

“I smelled the stench underneath the rubble, saw broken bones and shattered lives, and grief more than anything a human being should experience. But I also saw the typical Haitian resiliency. Despite all of that, I found people laughing, joking and teasing each other.”

Bernard saw much more than what is shown on television screens. He saw Haitians who had lost everything still praising God. He saw Haitians helping each other, sharing what little food and water they had, protecting each other.

“Haiti is indeed a poor country, but reporters like to bring out only the poverty. Imagine the United States being known only for drugs. Here are people who are in pain and suffering, but so much was being said about poverty.

“I also saw Haitians helping themselves. Much was said about the foreign rescue personnel who rescued about 130 people, and each life is indeed sacred. In comparison, there were hundreds and hundreds of people rescued by friends and neighbors that weren’t recorded. Some of the greatest rescues occurred in the first 24 hours after the quake.”

Money flowed into Bibles International after the earthquake, with gifts coming from churches, individuals and institutions. Bernard brought nearly $40,000 into the country, which he distributed strategically. He helped a man get tires and fuel for his truck, which he used to get people from one place to another. He helped a doctor purchase supplies for her makeshift clinic set up in her driveway; he offered funds to a family to complete work on a house that will become home to them and the homeless. Those funds will continue to be distributed through churches affiliated with Bibles International and Baptist Mid-Missions.

The earthquake touched the Bernard family personally. Bernard returned to the U.S. with the two children, both with American passports, of a pastor friend. The children, ages 14 and 9, will live with the Bernards until their parents call them home. “Their school was destroyed, and their mom and dad felt an obligation to help people there,” Bernard said.

He and the Haitian pastors set up a long-range plan to help the people. Pastors will assess every family in their congregations and determine their needs, whether counseling or a place to live, medical help to schooling for children. “We will be very frugal, so that all relief funds are used as intended,” Bernard said. “Haitians can try to help themselves as much as possible, but they need help. They need not just a bag of rice, but investment in agriculture. We’re all eager to rebuild Haiti for the future.”

He’s seen the Grand Rapids community rally to help Haiti, both through large charities and Bibles International, which is working on a Creole Bible translation of the Old Testament. “I have been humbled by the repeated generosity of the American people to other countries. Americans are the first to die on the battlefield, send money to missionaries, and give their lives in humanitarian aid. “There is no other nation that can boast of such generosity. I am grateful and humbled, and want to express my gratitude as a Haitian.”

(If you or your church would like to participate in this relief effort, please make checks payable to Good News Baptist Church and designate the check to the “Haiti Relief Fund.” Checks can be mailed to Good News Baptist Church, 6830 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508. For more information you can contact Good News’ Senior Pastor Karl Pike, 616.455.0420, Email.)


BAY CITY, South Baptist Church (Mark Kirkpatrick, Pastor)“Here I Am Lord, Send Me” was the theme of a missions conference held at South Baptist Church on February 21-24. Ken Floyd, MARBC Executive Director, was the keynote speaker. Missionaries participating in the four day conference were: Mark and Diane Britton (AWANA of Northern Michigan), Jeremy and Jennifer Van Delinder (Church planting in Austin, TX), Bob and Carole Beery (Release Time Bible Ministries of Saginaw and Gratiot counties), Lennie and Kathy Zink (Child Evangelism Fellowship of East Central Michigan), Hazel Wrigglesworth (Wycliffe Bible Translators), John and Paula Dannenberg (BMM, Central African Republic), Howard and Virginia Barrigar (Baptist International Missions, retired), Dan Streeter (Good Samaritan Rescue Mission), and David Whetstone (Mentor Leaders). The conference included sessions and activities for children and special ministries for teens. A banquet was held in honor of the missionaries on Sunday afternoon at the DoubleTree Hotel.

EMARBC — “Live Upstream in a Downstream World” was the theme of the 2010 Men Modeling the Master seminar which was held on March 6 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Flint. Dr. Jim Jeffery, president of Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania shared four challenging messages from the book of 2 Timothy related to the theme. The seminar also featured breakout sessions where discussions were held related to how the men can implement the key points of each message. The main worship sessions featured men from area churches. The staff and hospitality team at Emmanuel Baptist Church was excellent and the noon lunch was superb. Next year’s Men Modeling the Master seminar will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2011. Dr. Michael Loftis, president of Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE) will be the keynote speaker.

FLINT, Emmanuel Baptist Church (Harold Constant, Pastor) — Emmanuel Baptist Church held its annual Wild Game Dinner on February 17. Men from Emmanuel cooked for and served dinners for 625 in attendance. The power teams “Crush” and “G-Force” gave several demonstrations and shared the gospel with those in attendance. Many responded to the gospel presentation, with at least 50 indicating on a response card of their decision to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.

FLINT, South Baptist Church — South Baptist Church held a special service in recognition of Larry Burk’s 20th anniversary of ministry as a member of South’s pastoral staff on Sunday evening, January 31. The service included a video tribute from Larry’s ministry friend Dave Marks. Also featured in the service were testimonies from South Baptist member Karen West, ministry friend Pastor Ken Pyne of Evangel Baptist Church in Taylor, ministry friend and former South staff member Pastor Will Payne, and MARBC Executive Director Ken Floyd. South’s Youth Pastor Don Chapin prepared a video tribute that featured several humorous and touching moments from the Burk’s ministry at South as well as a video summary of every musical presentation that Larry has led during his twenty year ministry. A humorous drama was presented entitled, “What Really Happens at Choir Practice, Really.” Special gifts were presented to the Burks and the service was concluded with a special fellowship in the church gymnasium.

During his ministry at South, Larry has given pastoral oversight of children’s ministries, Christian education, seminary internship program, website development, technology and media, music, and worship. Pastor Larry and his wife Kim were commended during the service for the godly leadership of their marriage and home. The church gave thanks for Pastor Larry’s gentle spirit and servant’s heart.

HOLLAND, First Baptist Church (Tim Murdoch, Pastor) — The church family of First Baptist Church celebrated the installation of their new pastor, Tim Murdoch, on Sunday, February 7. A noon luncheon, an afternoon service, and a dessert fellowship were a feature of the special day. Guests from area churches joined with the First Baptist Church family for the afternoon service.

MARBC Executive Director Ken Floyd gave a charge to the church. Rev. Mark Mayou, a former pastor at First Baptist, gave the charge to the pastor. Ray Paget, pastor of Community Baptist Church in Grand Haven, led in the prayer of dedication.

Tim and Lisa Murdoch come from Grand Haven, MI. Tim was raised in central Michigan and attended Moody Bible Institute and Liberty Theological Seminary. Lisa was raised in Grand Haven. Tim is retired from the United States Coast Guard. While serving with the Coast Guard the Murdochs lived on several bases. The Murdochs have a son, Jared, who is a student at Liberty University.

LOWELL, First Baptist Church (David Sims, Pastor) — On Sunday, February 28, 2010, First Baptist Church of Lowell formally installed Phil Severn as its new Pastor of Student Ministries and Outreach. In January, Phil was voted to join the staff team and moved with his wife, Sandy, to begin ministry in Lowell, Michigan. Phil comes highly recommended from past service and experience, and FBC is blessed to have him and his wife join its ministries. Phil has studied at Philadelphia Biblical University and is currently completing studies at Cornerstone University. The installation service included a charge to Phil from his father, Rev. Frank Severn, Director Emeritus of SEND International, and a charge to the church by lead pastor, Rev. David Sims. Special encouragement and music was shared by Rev. Don and Esther Parsons, Phil’s sister and brother-in-law who serves as Int’l Personnel Director and Strategic Consultant for SEND International Central Asia. Phil joins the pastoral staff of Pastor Dave Sims (Senior Pastor) and W. Lee Taylor (Ministries Pastor).

NEWAYGO, First Baptist Church (Mark Holeman, Pastor) — A special service dedicating the new facilities of the First Baptist Church was held on Sunday, February 14. The service featured a testimony highlighting the building process by building committee chairman, Dan Johnson. Dan then recognized the contractors, builders, and community leaders who were a part of the project. Pastor Mark Holeman emceed the service and also shared a dedication message to conclude the service. An afternoon open house was held for tours of the facility. The day was culminated by an evening musical service.

The church held a final service at the previous facilities on February 7 during the morning Sunday School hour. “Church Family Sunday” featured a power point slide show that reviewed the history of the church. Individuals with the most years of church membership were also acknowledged as well as those whose baptisms and weddings occurred in that facility. Several members shared testimonies regarding the church. At the conclusion of this service everyone departed to the new facilities where a group picture was taken and a brief service was held giving thanks to God for His blessings upon the church. After a noon luncheon, a special afternoon session was held where the various systems of the church were tested in preparation for the following Sunday’s inaugural service.

NORMAN J. BARNARD, long time missionary with ABWE who also served with Asia Baptist Theological Seminary, entered the presence of his Savior and Lord on February 22 at the age of 64. He served with ABWE from 1974-2008. A memorial service celebrating his life was held at the Perry Baptist Church in Perry, Michigan on February 26. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Norm’s name may be made to Asia Baptist Theological Seminary. Please make checks payable to the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism and designate the gift for the ABTS of CU account #077540. Notes to his wife Louise may be sent to: moc.loanull@dranrabjn.

DOUGLAS BEASON, veteran GARBC pastor for 63 years, went home to be with His Lord on Monday evening, February 22. A memorial service was held on Friday, February 26, at Maplelawn Baptist Church in Wyoming, MI. Brother Beason was born on November 29, 1922 in Bellefontaine, Ohio. He trusted Christ as his Savior while a young boy and pointed the rest of his life to serve the Lord. On June 3, 1949 he married Arlene Marcella Reinhold.

He was a graduate of Bob Jones College and Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of the Maranatha Baptist Church in Springfield, Ohio; Assistant Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio; pastor of the Bible Baptist Church in Santa Monica, California; First Baptist Church of Sedro Woolley, Washington; Visitation and Interim pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Kalamazoo, Michigan; and the pastor of Maplelawn Baptist Church of Wyoming, Michigan. He served as Interim pastor of Leonard Heights Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, MI for a few years before becoming the Visitation Pastor of First Baptist Church of Middleville, Michigan from 1997-2008, completing some 63 years in the ministry.

Along with pastoral work, Brother Beason served the Committee on Missionary Evangelism as General Director from 1983-1995, at which time he became the General Secretary until his death. Doug is survived by his wife of 61 years, Arlene; his daughter, Joy Ann Bell (Bill) and sons, Paul and Timothy Ray (Lori); four grandchildren; and one great grandson.

Memorial gifts may be given to the Committee on Missionary Evangelism (C.O.M.E.) or Maplelawn Baptist Church in Wyoming, Michigan. Notes for Arlene and the family may be sent in care of C.O.M.E., P.O. Box 88085, Grand Rapids, MI 49518.

MARBC CHURCH STRENGTHENING SEMINAR — “Strengthening the Deacon-Pastor Partnership” will be held on Saturday, June 12, 2010. The seminar will be hosted by Evangel Baptist Church, 1114 College Ave., Houghton, MI 49931. The city of Houghton is the home of Michigan Tech and is located at the base of the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula in the northwest part of the Upper Peninsula. We are grateful for the hospitality of Pastor Steve Wilson and the Evangel Baptist Church family in hosting this event.

The seminar will emphasize the effective strengthening of servant leadership in local church ministry. Dr. Howard Bixby, former dean of Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA, and former MARBC pastor, will be the seminar speaker. Dr. Bixby partners with Dr. Milo Thompson in a new endeavor called ChristWay Ministries.

The purpose of this one-day seminar is to provide training for deacons and pastors in the biblical principles and methods of meeting the needs of people through the church ministry. Pastors and deacons will learn to excitedly serve God together in areas that matter to God. This training will be helpful for deacons, potential deacons, church officers, leaders, and pastors.

The cost of the seminar is $25 per person (payable to the MARBC). However, if you reserve your spot by June 1, you pay only $20 per person! The seminar fee covers the costs of the seminar materials and lunch. Downloadable brochures and registration forms are available by clicking here or by contacting the MARBC office.

SPECIAL “SECURITY ISSUES IN THE CHURCH” SEMINAR: Mark Blocher, Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, serves as a Michigan State Police Chaplain and shares this information about a special workshop opportunity that he has helped organize. The Michigan State Police Training Academy is presenting a one-day seminar on “Security Issues for Places of Worship.” The seminar will be held on Monday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be held at the Michigan State Police Training Academy, 7426 N. Canal Rd., Lansing.

The following topics will be covered: physical campus security issues / proactive steps to children’s ministry protection / how to do a criminal history background for non-profits / policies, procedures, and legal aspects / identifying and handling suspicious or dangerous people / critical incident readiness for places of worship.

The cost for the seminar is $40.00 and includes lunch and all materials. For more information, contact Mrs. Francine Mitchell at 517.322.5906. Space is limited so please register early. The registration deadline is March 19. You may contact Mark for a PDF flyer that includes a registration form: Email

An opportunity for young leaders to gain ministry and leadership tools is BBC’s annual Teen Leadership Conference to be held July 19-24 and July 26-31, 2010. The theme of the upcoming conference is “Run to the Battle”. Through workshops and worship sessions, this theme will be used to challenge teens to be bold for the cause of Christ. Learn more at

For more than 40 years, TLC has been a key building block for students and youth leaders to receive instruction, guidance, and fellowship. Students who have attended TLC in the past have shared what the experience has meant for them online. To read stories or share your own, go to

CHURCH VEHICLE FOR SALE — Euro Bus, 1997, EuroTrans Model #K 029, Cummins 5.9 Diesel Engine, Allison Transmission, A/C – Thermo King, Air Brakes (air bags on all 6 wheels), 6 all-new quality tires on 7/29/08, Front and Mid-Line access, Electric Wheel Chair lift, Occupancy: 30, or 24 with 3 wheelchairs, new ProHeat heater, new batteries, State of Michigan School Bus Inspection certified each year from our purchase, 62,000 miles. Only periodically used by church on short routes. $16,000 negotiable. Location: First Baptist Church, 2275 W. Main, Lowell, MI 49331. Can be viewed on Craig’s List – Grand Rapids, MI.

GRAND RAPIDS AREA WOMEN’S MISSIONARY UNION SPRING RALLY — The GRARBC Women’s Missionary Union spring rally will be held on Tuesday, April 13, 9:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at Grandville Baptist Church in Grandville. A nursery is provided and lunch will be served for a nominal cost. The new dime bank project will be announced at the meeting. The ministry shower this year is for the Hispanic work of Baptist Mid-Missions missionaries Rev. and Mrs. Larry Groat. Please bring the shower items to the rally. For further information please contact Barb Ballast, President of the Women’s Missionary Union, phone – 616.949.1972, Email.

CONTINENTAL BAPTIST MISSIONS BANQUET“Time-Limited Opportunity” is the theme for the 2010 West Michigan Friends and Family Banquet of Continental Baptist Missions. The banquet will be held on Thursday, April 15. CBM will provide a delicious catered dinner at Calvary Baptist Church, 1200 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI. The evening will begin with a 6:00 PM punch bowl and dinner at 6:30. The keynote speaker for the evening is Rev. Robert McNeil, Senior Pastor of Shelby Road Baptist Church in Shelby, Michigan. Contact Marilyn VanLiew at (616) 863-2226 to make reservations.

25th ANNUAL SCHOOL OF CHURCH PLANTING — Church planting is an inherent part of our Lord’s mandate to make disciples and teach people to practice all that Christ commanded. The 25th Annual School of Church Planting, sponsored by Baptist Mid-Missions, will focus on this priority. The school will be held on June 14-17 at the Grace Baptist Temple in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This is a unique opportunity that combines a discussion of ministry strategy with how-to-do-it instructions.

Seminar speakers include church planting experts Ken Davis, Roger McNamara, and Dan Whitcher. Brochures and applications can be downloaded from the church planting website, For further information you may also contact training specialist Roger McNamara (phone: 540.604.1838; Email).

Graduate credit is available from Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA for those who complete prescribed post-course assignments and a project. Undergraduate credit is available through several Bible colleges. Inquire in advance for details and tuition charges by emailing Ken Davis: Email.

BBC INVADES WEST MICHIGAN!!! Baptist Bible College is planning a weekend blitz on September 17-19, 2010! There will be opportunities to re-connect with alumni, and for parents, students, pastors, and teachers to make new connections. Everyone is invited to be part of the fun and fellowship the weekend of September 17-19, 2010! Weekend plans include: Friday, September 17: Golf Tournament at Pilgrim’s Run; Saturday, September 18: Michigan vs. Notre Dame game day party. More activities and details to come!

News and articles to your Email

Receive free email updates with the latest news available on the website.