The Baptist Testimony – Volume 59 Number 1 First Quarter 2013

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

“Fellowship”

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.” Philippians 1:3-7

Dear Friends of the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches,

We extend heartfelt greetings to you from the MARBC Council of 16. The purpose of my letter is to give thanks for God’s blessings upon our association during our seventy-year partnership as a fellowship of churches and then to share a critical need with you on the back of this page.

We are grateful for the wonderful, rich heritage that the Lord has given the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches for seven decades. A great theological heritage, fervent prayer, Biblical unity, and practical methodology highlight this joyful partnership as a fellowship of churches. God’s blessings upon this dynamic partnership have enabled us to impact the State of Michigan through many effective ways in our seventy-year history, including:

Church planting – many city neighborhoods, small towns, and rural areas now have churches as the result of this 70 year partnership in obeying Christ’s Great Commission.

Church strengthening – many of our churches have benefited from MARBC resources through the assistance of our Executive Ministry Director (State Representative) such as, pastoral search consultations, counsel for pastors seeking resources, dependable pulpit supply, Bible conferences and seminars, regional fellowships which enable personal interaction between churches and pastors, print and media ministry for the edification of believers and churches, prayer initiatives, ministry consultations, and other special initiatives.

Ministry enhancement – over the years MARBC churches have partnered together to launch support ministries such as, camps, schools, media ministry, scholarships for students through Talents for Christ, etc.

As you can imagine, these ministries represent the collective stewardship of many churches and their faithful members who have sacrificially given of themselves and their resources to honor the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ. We give Him praise for His work through each church and member.

Maintaining the ministry of the MARBC is no small task, Ken and Sharon Floyd work very diligently to minister to our churches. There is never a charge for their services. Instead, the MARBC is supported by the generous gifts received from the churches for the needs of our Fellowship.

In the past two decades God has blessed the MARBC with a wonderful opportunity to benefit from a unique financial program offered by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance. MARBC Churches who have chosen to receive property insurance coverage from Brotherhood and select to join the MARBC Group Dividend Program have assisted in providing great financial opportunities for our fellowship. In those years when the claims of the MARBC group are kept to a minimum Brotherhood has given a dividend to the MARBC. What started out as a small refund has steadily grown over the years. We praise God that, after twenty years of participating in this Group Dividend Program, the MARBC has been blessed with a significant amount of dividends that the fellowship has been able to use in several ways.

Brotherhood dividends have been reinvested in various ministry projects since the partnership started. These have included the provision of vehicles for the use of the MARBC Executive Director as he ministers to the churches of our state, office equipment for the MARBC office, underwriting of special retreats and seminars, purchase of books and other resources to encourage pastors and churches in need, assisting in the conference and retreat expenses for pastors from small or financially struggling churches, and several other projects. We thank the churches that participate in this program and encourage those that do not to consider it. Information regarding the program is available by contacting Robin Thornquist, Brotherhood Mutual-Caudill Agency, phone – 810.695.0096, Email.

For those of you that were not able to attend the MARBC conference in October, we informed the Association of a potential financial need relative to the MARBC. In the past few years, because several MARBC churches needed to decrease or suspend financial support for economic and the needs of other missions related ministries, the MARBC has found it necessary to utilize much of the Brotherhood refunds to pay expenses. Each year we have become more and more dependent upon these funds to support the ministry of the MARBC as income from churches has decreased.

Realizing that these refunds may decrease or even stop in any given year, the Council of 16 felt it necessary to inform our constituency of the issue. We encourage each church to seriously consider making the MARBC part of their mission’s budget, take a special offering yearly, or whatever other means they have in helping us become free of our dependency upon Brotherhood for general operating expenses.

As many of you know, the MARBC is a unique and significant ministry that serves over 200 churches in our State of Michigan. As Ken Floyd often reminds us, “the MARBC is probably the only Great Commission ministry supported by most of our association churches that is specifically focused upon impacting the State of Michigan with the Gospel.” The only support our association receives is through the regular support and love gifts from its churches and members.

Each church raising their support on average by $30.00 per month could alleviate this need. We realize that many churches, although willing, will not be able to do this. However, some of our churches may be able to do more. Some may be able to not only increase their monthly giving but also send a special love gift to assist during these challenging days. We are only asking that each church prayerfully consider this plea and see what God will do.

It is because of your support that the MARBC is a ministry leader in our state, as well as in the national GARBC. Our fellowship is strong with a great supporting dynamic among the churches. We truly are a great fellowship and we want to maintain our support for each other. Please prayerfully consider how you might assist in this special ministry.

Embracing the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi, we give thanks for the MARBC and for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

You have His Word on it!

George Coon, Council of 16 Chairman

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