MARBC News & Notes – March/April 2009

You can also download a PDF of the March/April 2009 Baptist Testimony (1.5mb PDF; PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)

From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 55 Number 2 March/April 2009

MARBC Events to Place on Your 2009 Calendar

Saturday, April 25, 2009
MARBC Talents for Christ Competition
West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont
Ken Pyne, Director

June 22-26, 2009
National GARBC Conference
“Cutting Straight”
Elyria, Ohio
Download information at:

September 11-12, 2009
Strengthening the Deacon-Pastor Partnership
MARBC Church Strengthening Seminar
Featuring Dr. Howard Bixby
ChristWay Ministries
September 11-12, 2009
Gull Lake Conference Center
$85 per person (Reserve your group’s spot by July 1 and pay only $60 per person!)
(includes Friday night lodging and snack, Saturday breakfast and lunch, and seminar materials)
Downloadable brochures and registration forms are available by clicking here.

September 27, 2009
MARBC Annual Day of “One Accord” Prayer

October 26-27, 2009
“Hope for a Troubled World”
67th Annual MARBC Conference
Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Conference Speakers:  Dr. Jim Grier, Dr. Hanz Bernard, Ken Floyd, Mel Walker, Peggy Walker


BELMONT, West Cannon Baptist Church (Doug Crawford, Pastor) – West Cannon Baptist Church in Belmont is pleased to announce that Rev. Maynard Belt has accepted a call to serve in the position of Associate Pastor of Senior Ministries & Care. Maynard and his wife, Ann, bring to this position over forty years of ministry experience. Maynard served for twenty-five years as senior pastor at four churches in Michigan and sixteen years as the State Representative for the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. Most recently, Maynard ministered as Special Representative for Church Relations with Baptist Mid-Missions. Maynard and Ann have been members of West Cannon for nearly eighteen years and they are both very excited to begin serving in this position.  We congratulate both the Belts and WCBC on this wonderful opportunity!

DECATUR, Volinia Baptist Church (Thomas Stout, Pastor) – Here is a special testimony from Volinia Baptist Church:  We stand in awe of a miracle working God!  About four years ago we were bursting at the seams and ready to build a new church. We had some money saved, but not nearly enough.  We found and bought property just down the road.  As we prepared to build the church went through some extreme trials.   However, God kept a faithful few here and He started bringing in more money.  We started building and more problems crept up, but so did the money. At times we have felt a bit like Gideon’s army – too few in our eyes – too poor in our eyes- too many problems in our eyes- but God was at work.  A little over two years later we are now in a new building that seats about 300.  We watched God bring in over two million dollars.  We are totally debt free and have a beautiful church building. God provided the money, the workers, and built our faith.  Now He can watch us exercise that faith and work to bring in those He has to fill our church.  What an incredible God we serve!  

GRAND RAPIDS, North Park Baptist Church (Joe Daniels, Pastor) – People often ask, “Ken, what are some of your favorite opportunities as you minister in our fellowship?”  If you had the opportunity to join me on Wednesday evening, March 11, you would have observed one.  It was my joy to share with the “Friends’ Club” at North Park Baptist in Grand Rapids.  I would like to share with you about this ministry to give you an idea for your own church.  The Friends Club is a weekly ministry for adults with special needs that has offered by the church for almost 20 years.  Club time includes worship, prayer, Bible study, and (of course!) snack time.  Occasionally crafts and other projects are a part of the evening.  Often special speakers are invited to share with the group.  The group is also ministry oriented.  Several in the group have vocal abilities and have served in nursing homes, the area veterans facility, and other locations.  The leaders of the club also schedule special outings and activities, such as parties, picnics, and an annual visit to the West Michigan Whitecaps minor league baseball game.  It is no exaggeration to say that an opportunity to share with a group like this always lifts your spirit and leaves you looking forward to your next visit!

GRANT, Rice Lake Baptist Church (Dan Fullmer, Pastor) – Melissa and Emily Boverhof, teens from Rice Lake Baptist Church, have authored the book “Seven Candles: The Reclaiming of Haven.” The book is written for a teenaged audience and looks at the world of wizards, dragons, and magic through Christian eyes.  Melissa (18) and Emily (16) became concerned as they watched their friends become obsessed with fantasy literature, particularly the Harry Potter phenomenon.  They desired to show their friends and others what being a wizard would really be like. After much Biblical study Melissa and Emily Boverhof finished their book in 2007 and prayerfully posted it on They were contacted by a publisher and their book was released on July 1, 2008.  Since then Melissa and Emily have attended the International Christian Book Sellers Association’s conference in Florida, been interviewed on talk radio (to hear the interview, visit and click the week of January 12), and have done book signings. For more information about the Boverhofs and their book, visit Their book is also available at, and  Melissa and Emily are also available for church and youth meetings. You can contact them by phone: (231) 834-9895, e-mail, or write The Reclaiming, P.O. Box 94, Grant, MI 49327.

CHURCH MINISTRIES CONFERENCE – “Beyond Fellowship” was the theme of the 2009 Church Ministries Conference.  The annual conference is sponsored by the Grand Rapids regional fellowship of the MARBC.   Close to one thousand people were in attendance.  Dr. Michael Loftis, president of ABWE, shared three practical messages related to the conference theme.  Loftis’ messages were based upon Christ’s prayer in John 17 and its implications for the Christian’s fellowship.  

In addition to the main sessions, the conference included over 50 speakers leading almost 100 workshops devoted to a wide variety of ministry related topics.  It also featured displays from dozens of ministries.  

On Saturday, Jim and Vi Potts from First Baptist in Fenton were recognized as Christian Workers of the Year.  Pastor Tom Rohrer, North Park Baptist in Grand Rapids, was also commended for his service as the chairman of the Conference committee for the past decade.  The GRARBC Church Ministries Conference committee is comprised of pastors and members of churches in the Grand Rapids region.

MEN MODELING THE MASTER Seminar – Over 250 men were in attendance for the “Men Modeling the Master” annual one day seminar held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Flint on Saturday, March 7.  The seminar was sponsored by the Eastern Michigan regional fellowship of the MARBC.  Ken Pierpont, Jr., the senior pastor of Evangel Baptist Church in Taylor, Michigan was the keynote speaker.  The theme of the seminar was “Being a Man of Influence at Home and in the World.”  Pastor Pierpont’s messages focused upon “What Does it Mean to be a Man?” “Tools of Influence for the Godly Man,” and “Developing Your Legacy.”  Several practical workshops were taught by pastors from the churches in the EMARBC.  The seminar also feature a men’s chorus comprised of members of EMARBC churches and a luncheon served by the host church.

SMARBC MARRIAGE RETREAT – “Staying in Touch” was the theme of a marriage retreat sponsored by the Southern Michigan regional fellowship of the MARBC and held at the Gull Lake retreat center.  The retreat was attended by twenty couples.  Dr. Dave and Carolyn Culver from Heritage Baptist Church of Clark Summit, Pennsylvania, were the guest speakers.  

The Culvers were a great encouragement as they shared several meaningful lessons.  The couples were also challenged to daily integrate into their marriage these exercises: noting current blessings from God, sharing specific praises about the person of God, and developing the discipline of praying together for each other.  Be in prayer for these precious couples to continue to draw nearer the Lord and to each other that God may be glorified through them. 

It is the goal of the S.M.A.R.B.C. to partner with churches throughout Michigan to provide meaningful retreats for the couples in our state. Stronger marriages result in stronger families which result in stronger churches for the further development of the Kingdom of God.


RAYMOND RICHMOND – Raymond Richmond, pastor of Lyons Baptist Church in Lyons, went home to be with his Lord and Savior at the age of 59 on February 20, 2009.  Ray had experienced severe skull fractures as the result of a fall while clearing an icy roof two weeks earlier.  A memorial service was held on February 25 at Lyons Baptist Church.   

Ray was one of the original foster children when the Baptist Children’s Home ministry was established in St. Louis, Michigan, in the early 1950s.  Always appreciating this special blessing of God in his own life, Ray and his wife Debbie opened their home to foster children.  Ray served as a U. S. Army medic for eight years in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.  He also served as a prison guard for 24 years.  He served God as a lay pastor and enjoyed hunting, bowling, and softball.  

Rev. Ralph Barton, former pastor and a friend of the Richmond family, led the memorial service.  Pastor Barton incorporated the sermon notes that Ray had written for the Sunday which would ultimately follow his death that he had titled, “The Reunion in Heaven.”  He also used an outline found in the front of Ray’s Bible on the topic of “Victory!”

Please continue to remember in prayer Debbie, Ray’s wife of 36 years, as well as his family, and the Lyons Baptist Church family.  A memorial fund has been established to help the family with Ray’s hospitalization and funeral expenses.  Those gifts may be made out to Lyons Baptist Church and sent to the church address: 507 Hunt, Lyons, MI  48851.

KIM AKRIGHT – Kim Akright, a pastor’s wife formerly involved with the MARBC, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on March 2, 2009. She succumbed to cancer at the age of 48, “her gift from the Lord,” as she often referred to it. Kim dearly loved and faithfully served the Lord. She served as an active pastor’s wife, faithful to her husband, and loving to her children. Her gifts included working with women’s ministry, being an encourager, and serving others. She and her husband, Pastor Gary Akright, were married for 29 years.  The Akrights have four children: Lauren (20), Melissa (18), Joshua (16), and Caleb (14).  
A special testimony service was held at Grace Baptist Church in Plover, Wisconsin.  A memorial funeral service was held at First Baptist Church in Portland, Michigan, on March 6.  Pastor Steve Taylor of First Baptist (Portland) was officiate for both services.  Those wishing to share expressions of sympathy may give to the Kim Akright Memorial Fund set up for the Akright children’s college expenses.  Those gifts may be made out to Grace Baptist Church and sent to the church address: 1500 Hoover Ave., Plover, WI 54467.


MARBC CHURCH STRENGTHENING SEMINAR – The first in a series of Church Strengthening Seminars, sponsored by the MARBC, will be held on Friday night and Saturday, September 11-12, 2009.  The seminar is called “Strengthening the Deacon-Pastor Partnership” and will emphasize the effective strengthening of servant leadership in local church ministry. This practical and informative seminar will be held at the Gull Lake Conference Center in Hickory Corners, MI.  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 overnight 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.  These principles will lead to greater church harmony and growth.  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.

Seminar Schedule:
Session #1 – The Mandate for Caring Ministries in the Church
Session #2 – The Methods and Means for a Caring Ministry
Session #3 – The Deacon/Pastor Leadership Dilemma
Session #4 – A Biblical Decision-Making Model

The cost of the seminar is $85 per person (payable to the MARBC).  However, if you reserve your group’s spot by July 1, you pay only $60 per person!  A registration fee of $30 per person is due with the registration form.  The seminar fee covers the costs of the Friday night lodging and snack, Saturday breakfast and lunch, and all seminar materials.  Downloadable brochures and registration forms are available at the MARBC website ( or by contacting the MARBC office.

GRAND RAPIDS AREA WOMEN’S MISSIONARY UNION SPRING RALLY – The GRARBC Women’s Missionary Union spring rally will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 9:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The meeting will be held at Grandville Baptist Church in Grandville.  Speakers include:  Shirley Dannenberg (Africa, BMM), Sharon Johnson (Maleemyat Hospital), and Becky McDonald (Women at Risk International).  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 Alpha Women’s Center.  Items needed include diapers and Enfamil with iron baby formula.  Please bring the shower items to the rally.

CONTINENTAL BAPTIST MISSIONS BANQUET – Do you remember that old hymn – “We’ll Work ‘Til Jesus Comes”?  That is Continental Baptist Missions’ desire as well as the theme for the 2009 West Michigan Friends and Family Banquet.  Our Friends and Family Banquet is a great way to stay in touch and share the Lord’s blessings of CBM Church Planting ministries—both rural and inner city—across North America.  As the Lord continues to bless, we’ll keep planting churches “Til He Comes”

On April 23 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. 

You will hear from missionaries Bill and Tamra Branks as they plant River North Baptist Church in the high-rises of the windy city of Chicago. They are eager to share what the Lord is accomplishing in this unique endeavor. We are also pleased to highlight the rural ministry of CBM church planting endeavors at Maranatha Baptist Church in Cedar Springs. CBM Field Director, Tom Logsdon, has been wearing two hats as he pastors these dear folks to bring this church to graduation. Many have come to Christ; and you will be thrilled to hear testimonies of lives changed for the glory of our Lord.  Chad Vitarelli’s love for God resounds as he brings the musical selection for the evening.

Contact Shawn Bowers or Marilyn VanLiew at (616) 863-2226 to make reservations for you and a group from your church to attend.

“Til He Comes”
Continental Baptist Missions
West Michigan Friends and Family Banquet
April 23, 2009
Calvary Baptist Church
1200 28th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI
Punch bowl at 6:00 with Dinner at 6:30
Call your reservations in today! 616-863-2226


The 11th Annual Continental Baptist Missions Golf Tournament is only a green’s shot away!  We’ll take to the fairways at the Quail Ridge Golf Club in Ada, Michigan on Monday, June 8, 2009.

Your “greens fee” of $90 covers a whole day of golf, including an early-bird round of 9 and an 18-hole best-ball scramble, with lunch and dinner provided by Quail Ridge’s clubhouse restaurant. Sign-in opens at 10:00 AM (8:00 AM for the early-bird round).  The 18-hole scramble will begin with a shotgun start at 11:00 AM.  Lunch is provided at the turn and prizes will be awarded during the dinner hour.

CBM had its beginning in 1942, planting and building churches in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  God has graciously blessed over the last 67 years, and we now reach the four corners of the United States and into Canada and Puerto Rico.  Our home office is located in Rockford, MI.  The facility includes a building ministries service center in which missionary builders build furniture and trim for the new churches.  As you can imagine, this is a tremendous savings for an infant church.  

The proceeds from the golf outing will be used to provide services to missionaries throughout North America. To reserve your spot in the tournament, please contact Continental Baptist Missions at 616-863-2226.

Continental Baptist Missions 
11th Annual Golf Outing
June 8, 2009
Quail Ridge Golf Club – Ada, MI
Cost: $90.00 includes
Early bird round of 9 and 18-hole best ball scramble 
Lunch and Dinner.
To reserve your spot in the tournament, contact CBM at 616-863-2226.

2009 SCHOOL OF CHURCH PLANTING – Ministry is all about multiplication.  This is especially true when it comes to implementing Jesus Christ’s Great Commission command to His disciples.  The 24th Annual School of Church Planting, sponsored by Baptist Mid-Missions, will focus on this priority.  The school will be held on June 15-18 at the Oak Grove Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kansas.  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: 540.825.2170; email).

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