“The Importance of Historical Adam” will be the topic addressed at the Grand Rapids Regional Association of Regular Baptist Churches Breakpoint meeting on Tuesday, February 18, noon – 2:30 p.m. at West Cannon Baptist Church in Belmont. Dr. Mike Wittmer, professor of systematic theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, will be the speaker. Lunch will be provided by the host church.
Church Ministries Conference, Friday-Saturday, March 6-7
“If God is for Us – Joyful Ministry in Troubled Times” is the theme of the Church Ministries Conference, sponsored by the Grand Rapids Regional Association of the MARBC. The conference will be held on Friday-Saturday, March 6-7, at Calvary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids.
Dr. Mike Wittmer, professor of systematic theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker.
The conference features dozens of practical workshops and ministry displayers, in addition to the main speaking and worship sessions.
An early bird registration fee is available prior to February 21. Saturday lunch is included as a part of the registration fee.
“Men Modeling the Master,” Saturday, March 7
“Being a Man of the Word” is the theme of the annual “Men Modeling the Master” Conference sponsored by the Eastern Regional Association of the MARBC. The conference will be held at First Baptist Church of Lapeer on Saturday, March 7, 2020, from 9:00am – 3:00pm. Registration begins at 8:30am. This year’s speaker is Dustin Folden from Faith Church in Lafayette.
2020 MARBC Annual Conference, October 12-14, 2020
SAVE THE DATES! “Connected” will be the theme of the 2020 MARBC Annual Conference which will be held at Lake Ann Camp, Monday-Wednesday, October 12-14, 2020. The fall colors and weather should be beautiful, the messages impactful, and the fellowship memorable as we gather on the wonderful campus of Lake Ann Camp. Conference and registration information will be available on the website and in the Messenger this summer.
Leaders of churches fellowshipping with the Central Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches met for a leadership forum on “Biblical Counseling in the Local Church.” First Baptist Church of Stanton hosted this quarterly meeting on January 28.
Studying Genesis 3, John 15, and Ephesians 4, the group considered “how mankind functions and then how we change and grow,” says speaker Andy Molyneux, pastor of First Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The men also discussed their knowledge of and experience with Biblical counseling, along with its definitions, its goals, and the benefits it brings to the church body. In addition to considering formal Biblical counseling, the men discussed other discipleship ministries in the church, “because everyone in the church gives and needs counsel and discipleship,” Andy says.
The next CMARBC meeting will take place April 28 at First Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant. The group plans to discuss the book Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love.
Written by Shane Vandevrede. This article was first published on the GARBC’s website and is reposted here by permission.
MARBC pastors from western Michigan discussed “The Benefits and Challenges of Pastoral Sabbaticals” on January 21. Forest Hills Baptist Church hosted this meeting of the Grand Rapids Regional Association of Regular Baptist Churches.
The meeting took place in the form of a Q&A panel discussion featuring five Michigan pastors: Chris Weeks (moderator) of Kent City Baptist Church; Jeff Burr and Craig Perry of Forest Hills Baptist Church, Grand Rapids; Marcus Little of Berean Baptist Church, Grand Rapids; and Jeff Gunderman of Berlin Baptist Church, Marne. Craig is pastor of student ministries and worship; the other four men are lead pastors.
Most of the panelists’ churches have policies that encourage pastors to take a sabbatical at least once or twice every 10 years. And most of the panelists’ sabbaticals have lasted six to 10 weeks, depending on the length of time they have served at their churches.
Sabbaticals are important, says one panelist, “because the one who invests in others must also be invested in.” Sabbaticals also help pastors “avoid burnout and the sense that the only way to escape is to leave for another ministry,” says another panelist. But pastors often feel guilty when they take time to relax, another points out. “An extended period of refreshment helps bring the appropriate perspective to lead in a healthy manner.”
The panelists agree that the purpose of a true pastoral sabbatical—refreshment—can be accomplished only when the sabbatical has general goals rather than a strict structure. And the benefits of such refreshment are many: pastors can reconnect with spouses and children, visit with family and friends, read for personal and recreational reasons rather than necessary study, and be personally renewed. When pastors return from a sabbatical, they may find—as these panelists did—that they have regained a proper Christian worldview, that they remain calm in the midst of typical ministry stress, and that they show greater patience in relationships. (One panel participant says that before his sabbatical, he and those close to him noticed that he had begun to provoke unnecessary tensions because of his spiritual fatigue.)
A challenge in sabbaticals, however, is reentering ministry upon returning. Reentering ministry “is one area that we did not give much thought to the first time that we did a sabbatical,” one panelist says. “We discovered that this element should be better planned.” Another panelist adds, “The church leadership should allow for a slower reentry process so that the returning pastor can be brought up to speed regarding what transpired in his absence and to return to the normal routine of sermon preparation.” And all of the panelists agree: “Don’t preach the first Sunday after you return!”
But how can churches finance sabbaticals? “One church budgeted $3,200 extra for special speakers, travel expenses, meals, etc., for a total of approximately $7,000–8,000. Money is budgeted annually to be escrowed for the next sabbatical,” explains Ken Floyd, ministry director for the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. Another panelist’s church received a sabbatical grant from the Lilly Foundation. The MARBC also provides grants through its CPR (Church Partner Relationships) Fund but is pursuing the idea of further helping small churches provide sabbaticals by coordinating speakers.
“The church’s investment in providing us a sabbatical was so meaningful for me as a pastor and for our family,” one panelist says. “We felt especially loved by the church family with whom we serve. This was especially true for our children, as we reminded them that this was a gift given to us by our loving and caring flock.”
Written by Ken Floyd. This article was first published on the GARBC’s website and is reposted here by permission.
Ken Floyd’s Upcoming Itinerary:
Ken is available for Sunday speaking ministries in 2020 and beyond. He is also available to share in special ministry seminars, consultations, and pastoral search orientations.
February 16 Grace Baptist Church
February 17-19 Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary, Ankeny, IA, chapel speaker
February 21 Ministry consultation, Grand Rapids, MI
February 23 West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont, MI
February 24 Ministry consultation, Grand Rapids, MI
February 27 Ministry consultation, Big Rapids, MI
March 1 Calvary Baptist Church, Ludington, MI
March 2 Ministry consultation, Grand Rapids, MI
March 10 MARBC Council of 16 meeting, Mount Pleasant, MI
We are grateful for your prayer support as Ken and Sharon travel and minister.