“Hope in Harsh Times,” 2018 MARBC Annual Conference highlights
“What is your expectation of God? We all like things to go well. As believers we must learn that God doesn’t always give us what we want, but He always gives us what we need.” Starting with this opening comment, Mike Hess then pointed those in attendance to consider how they might respond to suffering like Jesus did. The newly elected National Representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches served as the keynote speaker of the MARBC Conference.
Hess shared three messages from 1 Peter in developing the conference theme, “Hope in Harsh Times: Finding Joy in Suffering while Serving Christ.” The messages focused upon “suffering like Jesus did,” “how to prepare yourself to suffer well,” and “truths to consider when you suffer for doing right.”
Using 1 Peter 2:18-25 as his guide, he observed that the greatest way that a Christian can respond to unjust treatment is to follow the example of Christ. “We can’t control how we are treated, but we can control how we respond.” Christians need to be like a child who learns how to write by tracing over a stencil of letters with a pencil. The Christian should trace over the model that Jesus has given through his life and ministry.
Ken Floyd, MARBC Ministry Director, closed the conference with a message focusing upon pastoral ministry from 1 Peter 5, “Shepherding with Hope in Harsh Times.” He noted that Peter had spent his entire adult life meditating upon what it means to identify with the sufferings of Christ. “Peter serves as a good model of how to suffer well while also anticipating the coming glory of Christ. Eschatology should not be avoided in the preaching and teaching of today’s pastors. Instead, it should be emphasized. The focus upon the return of Christ and ‘the unfading crown of glory’ is a great motivator for the under shepherd and the flock of God he is called to lead. The last thing that you need while living in harsh times are weak shepherds who dispense ‘popcorn’ sermons, ‘cotton candy’ theology, and ‘band aid’ methodology.”
The MARBC Conference was held at the facilities of the historic Berean Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on October 29-30, 2018. Berean has a longstanding influence in the Regular Baptist movement and was one of the first churches to align itself in the formative days of the Grand Rapids Association of Regular Baptist Churches.
Those in attendance appreciated the acoustics and aesthetics for worship in Berean’s auditorium. Worship sessions were capably led by Garth Dietlin, Berean’s worship pastor. Lead pastor Marcus Little and his staff served those in attendance with gracious hospitality. The church gymnasium served as the exhibit area for twenty-five displayers.
2019 Joint Conference announced at conference!
A unique joint conference is planned for 2019. Three Regular Baptist state associations will meet together at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio, on October 21-23, 2019. The MARBC (Michigan), OARBC (Ohio), and Crossroads Fellowship (Indiana) will join together for this special gathering. More details regarding the conference will be shared in the coming weeks.
Three new members were elected by conference messengers to serve a three-year term on the MARBC Council of 16 (2019-2021).
Newly selected C-16 members are:
Tony Barber, associate pastor, First Baptist Church, Vassar
Doug Crawford, senior pastor, West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont
Tom Townsend, senior pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Battle Creek
Returning C-16 At-Large members are:
Bill Abernathy, Berean Baptist Church, Portage
Jeff Burr, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids
Mark Cizauskas, First Baptist Church, Rochester
Nathan Pierpont, Northeastern Baptist Church, Kalamazoo
Dave Sill, Shelby Road Baptist Church, Shelby
Chris Weeks, Kent City Baptist Church, Kent City
C-16 Regional representatives are:
Steve Ayers, Faith Baptist Church, Benzonia (Northern)
Scott Church, Trinity Baptist Church, Muskegon (Western)
Phil Devaney, Bethel Baptist Church, Britton (Southern)
Aaron Hadley, First Baptist Church, Edmore (Central)
Lewis Hague, Blessed Hope Baptist Church, Escanaba (Upper Peninsula)
Marcus Little, Berean Baptist Church, Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids)
Mark Kirkpatrick, South Baptist Church, Bay City (Eastern)
The Grand Rapids Regional Association of Regular Baptist Churches will hold their monthly Breakpoint meeting on Tuesday, November 20, noon – 2:30 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church in Grand Rapids. Jeff Burr, pastor of Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, will share on the topic, “Expositional or Topical; Is It Either/Or or Both/And?”
MARBC Core Values:
Biblically and doctrinally resolute.
Progressing in ministry mindset and method.
Pursuing cultural and generational diversity.
Engaging our neighbors.
The MARBC network is committed to establishing New Testament churches that are dedicated to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in their local communities and throughout the world. No church can fulfill this goal singularly. Therefore, we partner together as a fellowship of churches to exhort, encourage, and edify one another, with the goal of having a great impact in the State of Michigan and an extended impact through our nation and the world.
Michigan encompasses a large geographic area and the MARBC is comprised of a large network of churches. Accordingly, the MARBC is divided into seven regional fellowships: Upper Peninsula, Northern, Western, Eastern, Central, Southern, and Grand Rapids. Each region is coordinated through the MARBC and offers ministry and fellowship opportunities.