News & Notes, First Quarter 2013

You can also download a PDF of the Volume 59 Number 1 January/February 2013 (PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)

From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 59 Number 1 First Quarter 2013

BATTLE CREEK, Calvary Baptist Church (Tom Townsend, Pastor) – Calvary Baptist Church welcomed John and Eunice Lippard to the church family in December as John assumed the role of Pastor of Family Ministries. John and Eunice have been married for seven years and have three daughters, Nora (5), and twins Natalie and Elise (3).

John was born in Georgia and was raised in Arizona. Eunice grew up at Camp Barakel, where her parents still serve on the staff. Both John and Eunice are graduates of Moody Bible Institute. The Lippards come to Battle Creek after a nine-year ministry as youth pastor in Sparta, Wisconsin.

BEAR LAKE, First Baptist Church (Jim Evans, Pastor) – First Baptist Church rejoices in the call of Pastor James Evans to be their new pastor. Jim and his wife, Melony, have eleven children and have enjoyed many years of pastoral ministry in Ohio, Illinois, and Michigan. The church family looks forward to Pastor Evans’ leadership in reaching the Bear Lake community. They are considering a possible new location and church building project. The church also expresses their sincere appreciation for the ministry of interim pastor Dennis Boonstra and his wife, Joyce (Interpas Ministries). The Boonstras gave great leadership to the church during their interim ministry.

FLINT, Emmanuel Baptist Church (John Scally, Pastor) – Ross Martello began his ministry as Associate Pastor of Youth Ministries on February 5. He comes to Emmanuel after having served as a regional representative and Christian Education specialist for Regular Baptist Church. For the past several years Ross also served in multiple youth and Christian Ed ministries as a member of Berean Baptist Church in Portage, Michigan.

LAKE CITY, Calvary Baptist Church (Dan Willis, Pastor) – Calvary Baptist Church held a combined farewell and commissioning service for Pastor Dan Willis, wife Holly, and their five children on February 3. During the service, church members gave thanks to God for the faithful ministry that Pastor Dan has shared during his time there. This included thanksgiving for the faithful exposition of God’s Word, evangelism to many unchurched in the Lake City area, and the expansion of the church’s facilities.

After several years of effective ministry at Calvary the Willis family sensed God’s call to move to the rural village of Lagosette, Haiti to assist the “Children of the Promise” ( in caring for infants and orphans. This care center offers ongoing assistance for approximately 60 young children. The Willis’ will be establishing a household there where they will care for up to 6 children (infants to 4 years old) in their home. Dan will also be involved in providing pastoral care, and leading evangelism and discipleship ministries in the Lagosette area. The Willis’ goal is to be in Haiti sometime this spring as God provides the funding. For further information regarding this ministry and to contact the Willis family you may email them at Email.

SAND LAKE, Ensley Baptist Church (Tim Decker, Pastor) – Ensley Baptist Church recently welcomed Tim Decker as their new pastor. Pastor Tim and his wife Janette come to Ensley Township from the thumb region of Michigan where Tim served as the pastor of Dayton Center Church for 5 years. The Deckers have two grade school aged boys, A.J. and Wes.

After spending several years working in an accounting ministry, Tim sensed God’s call to pastoral ministry. After seeking wise counsel from trusted Christian friends, Tim enrolled at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, where he received a Masters in Divinity degree. He was mentored in ministry at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids.

A special installation service and dinner were held on Sunday, December 9. Rev. Cliff Owens, interim pastor, shared the charge to the church and Rev. Ken Floyd (MARBC) gave the charge to the pastor. Janette Decker’s father, Rev. Joe Hilyard, led the congregation and church leadership in a prayer of dedication for the new pastor.


CHURCH PLANTING COLLOQUIUM. A special seminar answering pertinent questions related to church planting will be held at Parma Baptist Church in Parma on Saturday, March 23. There is no cost for the seminar, but a love offering will be received to help with the costs of lunch. The seminar will be from 9:00 a.m. to noon, with lunch to follow. Registration and refreshments will begin at 8:30.) Bill Jenkin III, President of Continental Baptist Missions will lead the seminar. The seminar is divided into three sessions, with each answering a basic question related to church planting. Session 1: Why Should We Start a Church Plant? Session 2: How Can We Start a Church Plant? Session 3: When Will We Start a Church Plant? Time for interaction will be a part of each session. RSVP to Pastor Rich Griffith at Parma Baptist Church, 517.531.3645; Email.

LAKE ANN MEN’S RETREAT. “Legacy, A Life Well Lived” is the theme for the Men’s Retreat 2013 at Lake Ann Camp to be held on April 25-28. Ken Rudolph, along with his sons Chris and Ben, will talk about father-son relationships and important spiritual principles for leading a family. Information regarding a new flex plan regarding the dates and pricing for the weekend are available at or by calling 800.223.5722.

28th 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 28th Annual School of Church Planting, sponsored by Baptist Mid-Missions, will focus on this priority. This year there are two great opportunities for training through two specialty tracks.

Track 1, a Pre-launch Seminar that focuses upon “Launching Healthy Churches,” will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio on June 10-13. The track is geared to those contemplating starting a new church or who are in the early stages of church planting.

Track 2, a Post-launch Seminar that focuses upon “Growing Healthy Churches,” will be held at Grace Baptist Temple in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on October 14-17.

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.

HEALTH CARE TAX CREDIT AVAILABLE. Do you have a church staff for whom your church provides health care coverage? Your church may be eligible for a health care tax credit.

Michael Nolan, GARBC director of business administration, explains in the October 2012 issue of the GARBC’s E-Info – “The Affordable Care Act includes a health care tax credit that is designed to encourage small tax-exempt organizations to offer health insurance coverage to their employees for the first time or maintain coverage they already have. A health care tax credit provision allows for 25 percent of tax credit for health care coverage that a church pays out for church employees, as long as the church pays at least 50 percent of each employee’s health care premiums.”

In order for a church to qualify for the credit, it must meet all of the following three requirements:

The church must have fewer than 25 “full-time equivalent employees” for the tax year; if there are less than 10 employees, the percent of credit is greater.

The average annual wages of the church’s employees for the year must be less than $50,000 per employee; if the average is less than $25,000, the percent of credit is greater.

The church must pay at least 50 percent of premiums for health insurance coverage for each of its employees.

Here’s a simplified version of how it works: Ministers are employees for tax reporting purposes, so they are counted as employees, but the wages are not added into the calculation. The following is an example of an average GARBC church:

1 senior pastor-makes $60,000
1 office worker\secretary-makes $25,000
1 associate pastor-makes $40,000

“According to this exemption possibility,” Nolan says, “the church has three employees, with the average compensation of $8,333 per employee ($25,000/3). The pastor’s salary is taken out of the equation. The church would qualify for the maximum credit as long as it meets all three of the criteria above. The credit is up to 25 percent for the part the church pays of the health insurance premiums for employees. So some churches have not thought it was worth the time for the amount of the return.”

Visit the IRS website ( to find deadline details and the necessary documents to file. Contact Michael Nolan 1.888.588.1600, ext. 853, for questions regarding church finances. He can assist you in suggesting cost-cutting measures for your church.

CHURCH NEEDS RESOURCE ASSISTANCE. Freeport Baptist Church, Freeport, is in need of hymnals and also a few padded pews. If you are able to help with these needs please contact Ron Perrine, Email, 269.629.0479.

MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY: Executive Director, Shepherds Care Ministries, Inc. is seeking a leader [part time] for this ministry to Bible-believing pastoral families and churches. Pastoral or missionary experience necessary. Being retired with some financial resources is a plus! Our key verse is Mark 6:31a. Visit our website,, for more information! Please contact Pastor Phil Jones, Board Chairman: 3944 W. One Mile Rd, White Cloud MI 49349; 231-519-4511; Email.


We would like to thank those who have responded to the MARBC’s special need and have recently given special love gifts or have committed new support to the MARBC:

  • Calvary Baptist Church, Battle Creek
  • Calvary Baptist Church, Ludington
  • Craig and Cheryl Dubbink
  • Emmanuel Baptist Church, Flint
  • First Baptist Church, Bronson
  • North Park Baptist Church, Grand Rapids
  • Tabernacle Baptist Church, Hazel Park

CHURCH PARTNERING RELATIONSHIPS (CPR). Since its inception five years ago, over 100 ministry projects have been accomplished between sister churches through CPR initiatives. Several churches have already contacted the MARBC office about helping with a CPR project this year. If your church would benefit from this ministry, please contact us ASAP! For more information regarding “CPR” and how you can be involved as a church or as an individual, refer to the CPR information posted here on the MARBC website. Don’t delay!


Dr. James Grier. Dr. James Murray Grier, Th.D., (80) completed his earthly pilgrimage on January 9, and is now home in The Celestial City about which he loved to preach and teach. He was born in Staten Island, NY to James Murray and Mary Helen (Hannah) Grier. Dr. Grier is survived by his wife of 58 years, Shirley (Stewart) Grier; his son and daughter-in-law, Drs. Kevin and Robin Grier; a sister, Joyce Elizabeth Grier; and several cousins, nieces and nephews. Those desiring to contribute to a memorial fund are asked to consider the “James Murray Grier Scholarship Fund” at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, 1001 E. Beltline Avenue, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525.

As a boy, Jim’s father was the pastor of South Baptist Church of Tottenville/Staten Island, NY. Uniquely, God would allow this church that his father served as pastor to be both the first and final place where Jim would preach the Word of God. Dr. Grier received his ThB from Baptist Bible College, MDiv from Grace Theological Seminary, ThM from Westminster Theological Seminary, and ThD from Grace Theological Seminary. From 1962-1969 he served as Associate Professor at Cedarville University; from 1969-1982 he served as Vice President and Dean of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He was a visiting or adjunct professor at Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, Grace Theological Seminary, Evangelical Baptist Seminary (Quebec), Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and London Reformed Baptist Seminary. He served as Chairman of the Evangelical Seminary Dean’s Council (ESDC) 1993-1998, consulted with numerous hospital boards on medical ethics, and also authored theological works.

He served the Lord in multiple ways, including ministry as a former GARBC pastor (including Evangel Baptist Church in Taylor, MI) and theology professor who greatly impacted several past and current pastors and missionaries. He also greatly influenced conservative evangelical thought and was sought after as a speaker and lecturer. In addition to his international ministry, he was a frequent speaker at MARBC conferences, regional events, and in association churches.

While many who minister in such a realm seem secluded in an “ivory tower,” Dr. Grier’s ministry included many personal touches and involvements in the lives and ministries of those with whom he served and mentored. Multiple generations of former students and colleagues were a visible tribute to the way in which God had used His special servant for many decades.

For an excellent article that summarizes Dr. Grier’s life and ministry impact, including testimonies of ministry colleagues, you are encouraged to visit the Baptist Bulletin webpage posted on January 14, 2013.

Rachel Lynn Lones. Rachel Lones (45), the daughter of retired pastor Clifford and Janet (Morris) Lones experienced new joy and freedom when she entered the presence of God on Saturday, January 12, 2013. Rachel was born in Springfield, Ohio on September 10, 1967 and had a traumatic birth resulting in cerebral palsy. As a result, Rachel would never talk or walk. However, she was aware of everyone and everything around her. She was always very happy and smiled a lot, bringing much joy to family and friends. Rachel’s parents invested greatly in her life, giving daily care for her entire 45+ years of life. The Loneses regularly expressed their appreciation for the assistance given by many from their family and church families where they served the Lord.

When the controversial court case regarding whether to withdraw life support from Terry Schiavo drew national attention in St. Petersburg, Florida in 2005, Rachel’s life and her family’s commitment to her care were featured in a local newspaper article with the headline, “She has a Quality Life.” It was noted in the article that Schiavo and Rachel were very close in age and compared the two women in terms of their backgrounds and families. The article published on March 30, 2005 by “The Muskegon (Michigan) Chronicle” and was later reprinted by permission in the Baptist Bulletin in January 2006. Download the entire article is posted here.

A memorial service was held in Muskegon with Pastor Scott Church, Trinity Baptist Church, officiating. Memorial gifts may be made to Trinity Baptist Church. The Lones’ mailing address is: 3619 Whispering Woods Dr., Muskegon, MI, 49444-3496.

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