Sharon and I are regularly encouraged and blessed by your ongoing prayer support on our behalf, along with your expressions of kindness. In over three decades of serving the Lord we have observed that ministry seems to move through cycles and seasons. And, as was the case in pastoral ministry, there are unique seasons in our ministry with the MARBC. Fall brings special event speaking, fall missions conference ministry, and the MARBC annual conference. Winter tends to bring with it much counseling of discouraged pastors and consultations with struggling churches. Spring brings opportunities for conference and seminar ministry, and strategic planning. Summer brings ministry tours and projects. Here is a summary of the four seasons of the past ministry year.
-2 Corinthians 8:1-5
This commentary by the Apostle Paul regarding the stewardship investment of the churches and believers of Macedonia reminds us of the godly partnership that is shared by the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. While the challenges of ministry continue to be great, our commitment to Christ, His Gospel, and the diverse regions of our state is even greater!
We are blessed to complete our eighth year serving with you as representatives of this Biblically sound and viable church network. We thank God for each of you!
Download: Council of 16 Roster – 2015 (PDF)
Speaking ministry. We traveled over 33,000 miles, preaching 75 times in 33 churches, including 4 non-affiliated churches. It was our privilege to participate in 6 pastor’s installation services and 5 church anniversary celebration services. I also had the privilege to speak at several conferences representing the MARBC last year: the Fall Bible Conference at Baptist Bible College and Seminary, the Midwest Regional Worship and Growth Connect in Otsego, IL, and the IL-MO Regional Association’s annual conference in Lombard, IL. As my schedule permitted, I attended several MARBC regional association meetings, speaking at 3. It was an honor to share at 6 memorial services of godly servants. Speaking honorariums were higher this year, for which we praise God.
Consultations and Counseling. This continues to be a major component of my ministry and is developing in some new areas of assistance. I was personally involved in over 180 meetings, counseling appointments, and extended phone consultations. Several of these were related to difficult church situations.
Many consultations involve churches going through pastoral transition and interviews with prospective pastors. Approximately 12% of our entire church constituency was in a search process this past year and 13 churches called new pastors. I conducted 21 on- site search committee orientations, and completed the tenth revision of the search committee syllabus that I share with committees. This ministry continues to be one of the key ministry offerings of our association. I often receive comments from deacons as I leave a meeting stating how they never realized how important and valuable our association was until having a need like this.
It has been a blessing to work with five MARBC churches in ministry and strategic planning. I recently spent the weekend with the pastor, deacons, and other ministry servants at a church that just a few years ago was about to shutter its facility. The MARBC assisted the church in its search for a new pastor. The ministry is now thriving under the leadership of this young pastor. Meeting with them to discuss the great ministry opportunities in the same room where we talked 7 years ago about the church’s dismal outlook was a great blessing.
On another positive note, I have enjoyed personally coaching 5 MARBC pastors this year. Our meetings have dealt primarily with ministry philosophy and practical pastoral matters. I attended 4 ordination councils, 3 of which I moderated. I am blessed by the doctrinal competency of our young pastoral candidates.
Church Planting and Outreach. We continue to dialogue with those working with four different Hispanic church plants in west Michigan. I had the opportunity recently to share in a meeting with three MARBC pastors and three church planters in inner city Detroit. Two of these church planters had expressed interest in learning more about our association and partnering opportunities with association churches and pastors. Another meeting that day involved hearing the vision of a veteran church planter in another area of the inner city where potential development may be taking place to reclaim that part of the downtown.
It has also been my joy to meet with individuals who are invested in evangelistic ministries that seek to reach the next generation. One such ministry is the Battleground Skatehouse in Battle Creek, led by Andrew Wichterman, member at Calvary Baptist Church in Battle Creek. I would encourage you to learn about this strategic ministry outreach by visiting the ministry’s website, www.battlegroundskatehouse.com. Andrew desires to see this type of indoor skateboard outreach duplicated in other Michigan cities. It is an intriguing concept worth considering in today’s culture.
The Council of 16 held a cohort involving a dozen MARBC pastors and churches regarding multi-cultural ministry.
Media ministry. Media ministry has received much attention in the MARBC office and by theCouncil of 16 this past year. Escalating costs in several key areas demanded the ministry’s special attention. It is our desire as a ministry to be wise stewards of the financial support that is received by our partnering churches and individuals. Here is a summarization of how this stewardship approach is impacting the MARBC’s media ministry.
MARBC Messenger. A major project that we tackled late last fall was to revamp the delivery format of the MARBC Messenger. We now utilize a free online email service that allows us to create an attractive, full color emailing. This new delivery format includes user-friendly links to email and web addresses within the email. My thanks go to MARBC Webmaster Kevin Pierpont for introducing me to this service. We have received positive feedback regarding the restyled Messenger.
Baptist Testimony. Like several other ministries, the MARBC has been forced to make the difficult, but necessary, decision to discontinue the print edition of the Baptist Testimony (BT). Increasing print and postage costs make it impossible to maintain a print edition of the BT. Work continues toward moving the BT to an exclusive online format. Pastors and churches are urged to direct their members to the MARBC’s homepage, www.marbc.net. A sign-up is available there to receive the electronic editions of the Baptist Testimony, as well as the MARBC Messenger.
Print media. To save print costs, the bulk of brochures and other MARBC related print literature is developed and produced in our office on an “as-needed” basis. MARBC Webmaster, Kevin Pierpont, continues to enhance and improve the MARBC website, www.marbc.net. We seek to offer practical resources online and have added several new features this past year. Most of the MARBC’s ministry continues to move to the web in order to improve accessibility, as well as to reduce costs.
CPR (Church Partnering Relationships). Several CPR ministries were conducted across the state this past year. These included outreach ministries, such as DVBS, sports camps, and canvassing. Others involved practical work projects. One of these ongoing projects is the facility construction for Grace Hispanic Baptist Bible Church, Grant (Pastor Pepe Morales). A few other MARBC churches with limited resources are preparing for building projects. We will be sure to communicate with our constituency when these projects are underway to seek assistance for these ministries.
Financial needs. The finances of the MARBC are at a critical point. The Council of 16 shared a letter with association churches early this year asking churches to prayerfully consider additional financial assistance. This one-time letter resulted in almost $4,000.00 additional support. We also praise God for $56,592 received last spring as a result of the MARBC’s partnership with Brotherhood Mutual. Were it not for this income, the association would have experienced drastic cash flow issues. The Council of 16 continues to work with me in considering ways to address these concerns. Please remember that the ministries and servants of the MARBC are supported by the regular giving of the churches and individual supporters, as well as the love offerings, honorariums, and mileage reimbursements that are received when speaking and consulting with churches. We encourage association churches and members to prayerfully consider their significant stewardship involvement to help meet these needs.
We continue to invest time towards the strategic development of conferences and regional seminars to benefit our churches. To be candid, the financial resources necessary to implement them limit these opportunities. Please pray with us that the finances will allow us to offer the encouragement that our churches and ministry servants greatly need.
Ministry summary. Sharon and I have now completed our eighth year of service as the MARBC Ministry Director and Secretary, logging approximately one quarter of a million miles on behalf of the MARBC and ministering in almost 500 churches. It is our joy to partner with the MARBC Council of 16 in seeking to effectively provide ministry support to our wonderful association churches and ministry servants. We are very grateful for our dear friend, Karen Avey, who continues to serve the association and us in her volunteer ministry as the MARBC bookkeeper. Her quality work and humble service are a great personal blessing.
We thank God for our good health and safety as we travel and serve Him and His church. Personally we give thanks for our wonderful daughter and son-in-law, Allison and Taylor, and the joy provided by our three grandchildren – Connor Wesley (5 1⁄2), Eloise Claire (3 1/2), and Malachi Taylor (6 months).
Thank you for your prayer support on behalf of Ken’s parents, John and Doris. Ken’s dad recently completed radiation and chemotherapy treatments in advance of his cancer surgery, which is scheduled in mid to late November. We are grooming our fall speaking schedule around the time of his surgery. We will take some personal time through the holidays to be in Ohio in order to support Ken’s parents during and after the surgery. Thank you for upholding in prayer those family members who do not know Christ. This situation has opened many doors of opportunity to share Christ.
I (Ken) give praise to God for my wonderful wife and partner in ministry. She is a godly woman, faithful servant of God, consistent prayer warrior, trusted confidant, and great travel companion. I often receive the unsolicited comment from others that Sharon is a great encourager as well as a special asset to the MARBC ministry. I couldn’t agree more!
You are also a blessing and encouragement. We humbly ask for your continuing prayerful support that God will enable us to effectively engage in Great Commission ministry in the “Jerusalems, Judeas, and Samarias” of our state (Acts 1:8).
Partnering with you and praying for you,
Ken and Sharon Floyd