MARBC News & Notes – September 2008

You can also download a PDF of the September 2008 Baptist Testimony (848kb PDF; PC: Right click / MAC: Control click on the link and choose “Save As”)

From The Baptist Testimony – Volume 54 Number 8 September 2008

BAY CITY, South Baptist Church (Pastor Mark Kirkpatrick) – South Baptist Church in Bay City will be celebrating its 115th Anniversary on September 13-14.  A Gospel Concert will be held on Saturday evening, September 13, at 7:00 p.m., with guest artist, David Thomson.  David Thomson is an accomplished trumpet soloist and singer.  There will be no admission cost for this concert.  A free-will love offering will be received. On Sunday morning a special Anniversary Worship Service at 10:45 in which there will be a recognition of guests, city officials, former pastors, missionaries and friends of the church.  A catered lunch will follow the service in the church facilities.
 
Pastor Kirkpatrick shares: “In Luke 5:4, Jesus told His disciples to ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught.’  It is in the deep waters that we learn to trust God to provide for our every need. God has blessed this church with a great and long heritage, and it is my desire to see South Baptist Church continue to trust the Lord for guidance and provision as we serve Him here in the south end of Bay City.  We also are trusting God to provide a draught of ‘fish’ for His church.”

WEIDMAN, Weidman Baptist Church (Pastor Dean Willard) – Weidman Baptist Church celebrated its 50th Anniversary on June 22nd.  There were 182 in attendance.  The church has a normal attendance of 70 on Sunday mornings. The theme for the day was “A Passion to Make Christ Known”.  Pastor Marvin & Jeanie Eldridge were used of the Lord to start the church and Marvin pastored for 37 years before retiring.  The church started as a Galilean Baptist Missions church.  Pastor Dean & Deb Willard have been at the church for the last 13 years.  Brian Eldridge brought special music along with Dennis Daryl Carr.  Other music was brought by Hosey Humphrey (Hastings) and Bob & Becky Ministries (Lansing).  A church history and power point presentation were made available by Denise Livermore.   Lunch was served on the grounds.  The children were able to release helium filled balloons directed by Russ Alwood.  The oldest member in attendance was Ruth Yerke who turned 99 on July 5th.  There was a display of 10 scrapbooks filled with memories from the past 50 years put together by Nancy Bywater and Deb Willard.  The church people were encouraged greatly during the day and grateful to the Lord for all He has done through them over the past 50 years.  

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES

First Annual LIFT Caregiving Summit.  Baptists for Life is sponsoring the First Annual LIFT Caregiving Summit on Saturday, September 20, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Grandville Bible Church, in Grandville, Michigan.  

LIFT (“Loving Individuals in Final Transition”) is a respite care ministry developed by BFL in 1991 to aid churches in caring for the needs of those who are chronically and terminally ill and their families.  The need for this type of ministry is great in today’s society.  As one pastor comments, “I am troubled that [local churches] spend an enormous amount of money, time, and resources ministering to our youth (who typically make up less than 25% of our congregations) and yet allocate little if anything toward our ‘Senior Saints’ who often comprise over 50% of our memberships.”  

The goal of the summit is to bring together those individuals involved in care giving ministries for a day of encouragement, education, networking, worship, and praise.  The Summit is for those who currently are or will soon be providing care to an aging parent or spouse, to special needs children, those involved in shut-in ministry, and those in the health care profession.  

Special speaker at the summit is Shelly Beach, author of the ECPA Book Award-nominated “Precious Lord, Take My Hand: Meditations for Caregivers.”  Workshops at the Summit include, “Soul Care for the Caregiver” (Ray Paget) and “Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Confusion: It’s Impact on Caregivers and their Church Community” (Jennifer Comegys).  The cost is $20 per person or $35 per couple and will include lunch and materials.  For more information and registration forms, contact LIFT coordinator Lisa Haan by Email or 800.968.6086.

HAMILTON BIBLE INSTITUTE, a ministry of Hamilton Baptist Church (Pastor Jim Ruse) — Last summer, Hamilton Baptist Church voted to take over The Fundamental Bible Institute which had been for many years sponsored by First Baptist of Holland.  They are continuing this community program for the benefit of God’s people in the Western Michigan area.  The church kept the Institute’s curriculum but changed the three year format from semesters to modules and began the ministry of Hamilton Bible Institute last fall. The Institute is open to any students desiring to deepen their understanding of God’s Word, those desiring to be more effective in their present ministries, those contemplating a future ministry, and those seeking a closer personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
The modules meet weekly on Monday evenings, 7:00-9:30 p.m.  Fall modules on Old Testament are September 8-October 6; New Testament, October 13-November 10; and Theology, November 17-December 15.  Spring modules are – Old Testament, January 12-February 9; New Testament, February 16-March 16; and Theology, March 23-April 27.  The cost is $35 per module, or $105 per semester.  There is an additional one-time cost of $70- for books.  

For a brochure and more information, you may contact Pastor Jim Ruse at Hamilton Baptist Church – 269.751.8596; Hamilton Baptist Church, 3690 M-40, Hamilton, MI 49419; Email

Seminars available for your church — Rev. Tim Hoganson, an 18 year veteran church planter who ministered in Brazil, offers seminars to churches on the following three subjects: personal evangelism, stewardship, and formation/reinforcement of the church missions committee.  The Hogansons can present these seminars in any one of three languages: English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Tim, and his wife Joann, who ably participates with Tim in ministering these seminars, served from 1991 to 2007 as missionaries with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism.  The Hogansons are now embarking on a new church planting endeavor in Fennville, MI.  This is a Spanish language Baptist church of G.A.R.B.C. doctrine. 
 
Rev. Hoganson, his wife and his family are members of Alpine Baptist Church in Comstock Park, MI, a church in fellowship with the G.A.R.B.C.  Having traveled to a few hundred Baptist churches over the last 30+ years Tim and Joann have observed a critical weakness in many churches of the G.A.R.B.C., and similar ones: personal evangelism is not adequately taught or emphasized beyond the AWANA programs.  Another area of weakness that hinders many churches is the tithing commitment.  Pastors, missionaries, church projects and more are slowed or frustrated by this deficiency in today’s Christians.  The churches of the G.A.R.B.C. deserve an “A” in areas such as supporting missionaries, funding them, praying for them and honoring them.  Still the Hogansons believe they can enhance the knowledge base and ministry of churches’ missions committees, in part because of their long-term, rich knowledge of the field.

They look forward to offering a seminar in your church, should you think such to be a blessing to your congregation. The Hogansons’ phone numbers are (616) 608-3773 and (616) 516-9642 (cell).  They can also by Email.

Help needed.  Full or part-time work to assist a retired missionary couple in the greater Grand Rapids area (Belmont).  Work includes some carpentry, wood cutting, small trees to plant, and general handy work.  Can pay $10-$12 per hour.  Contact 616.866.1887.

MARBC Messenger — The Messenger is a regular email communication from the MARBC office to our pastors and churches.  Several MARBC Messengers are sent out each month from the MARBC office.  If you have not received MARBC emails recently, be sure to email Ken or Sharon to be placed on the email list.  Thank you!

Pastors, Churches and Politics
What May Pastors and Churches Do?
by Mathew D. Staver, Esq.
Liberty Counsel, a nationwide public interest religious civil liberties law firm
LC.org

EXCERPT: It is important to understand the critical difference between an IRS tax-exempt letter ruling and tax-exempt status of churches. Every organization, whether a 501(c)(4) (a nonprofit group that primarily lobbies) or a 501(c)(3) (a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization), must file an application with the IRS to be recognized as a nonprofit organization for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS then issues a letter ruling specific for the organization, in which the IRS acknowledges that the organization will be recognized as a nonprofit organization, and in the case of a 501(c)(3), that contributions to the organization will be tax-deductible.

Unlike virtually every other nonprofit or tax-exempt organization, churches are not required to obtain an IRS letter ruling. Some churches have an IRS letter and some do not. What is the advantage of a church having a letter ruling as opposed to a church that does not have one? There is no substantive difference. The only difference is one of convenience. If a donor is ever audited and the IRS questioned the contributions to the church, the donor can point the agent to the letter ruling on file with the IRS. However, if a church doesn’t have a letter ruling, the church can merely produce an affidavit by the pastor, or present the church bylaws or other evidence to validate that the assembly is a church. Other than mere convenience, there is no substantive difference, as a church with or without a tax-exempt letter ruling is still tax-exempt.

So long as a church is operating and functioning as an organized church body, it is automatically tax-exempt and does not have to apply to the IRS for this determination…

Outside of express endorsement of or opposition to candidates for political offices, pastors and churches may engage in many other permissible activities. Churches may host voter registration drives, be a host site for balloting, or host a forum where candidates address the congregation or answer questions from a moderator. Candidates visiting the church may be introduced, and political candidates may even preach in the pulpit so long as the pulpit is not used as a political forum to urge the members to vote in favor of the candidate. Churches may also distribute objective voter guides that address the candidates’ views on a broad range of issues.

Pastors can preach on biblical, moral and social issues such as homosexuality and abortion. Pastors can urge the congregation to become involved in the political process, urge them to register and vote. Pastors can acknowledge visiting candidates. Pastors can personally endorse or oppose political candidates, personally work for political candidates, and personally contribute to them. Also, a pastor’s name may appear in a published ad or letter signifying the pastor’s endorsement of the candidate, and the pastor’s title and affiliation with the church can also be listed with the notation, “Title and affiliation for identification purposes.”

(We thank Baptists for Life (bfl.org) for sharing this important information with us.)

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