From Where I Stand
Maynard H. Belt
MARBC State Representative
63rd Annual MARBC
“The Courage to Stand!”
Berean Baptist Church, Portage, Pastor Mike Eleveld, staff and people were our very gracious hosts for this year’s 63rd Annual MARBC Conference. October 24-25 were the dates and Berean more than put out the red carpet making us feel right at home and meeting all of our needs with happy smiles on their faces. Thank you for being such a blessing.
Following an opening message by State Representative Maynard Belt entitled, “When the Winds of Doctrine Blow,” Dr. Douglas McLachlan, pastor of Fourth Baptist Church in Plymouth, MN, brought 4 timely messages from I Timothy 3, II Timothy 4, Romans 12 and Jeremiah 1 on the importance of standing courageously as saints and local churches living in a post-modern world. We always appreciate Dr. McLachlan’s exegesis of Scripture and challenge to live godly lives in this present day. Good friend, Dr. James Grier, gave a Power Point presentation on “The Emergent Church,” and Dr. Gary Anderson, president of Baptist Mid-Missions presented two powerful seminars on “No Pain-No Gain,” and “Hitting the Wall: Causes and Cures.” The second session regarding ministerial burnout ought to be heard by all of our pastors and churches. Denise Roberts and Jeannie Vogel instructed very helpful seminars for our ladies on “Women Mentoring Women” and “Discipleship Principles from I Thessalonians.” By the time this issue is printed all messages should be available on our website – www.MARBC.net.
Pastor Mark Cizauskas, Children’s Ministries & Worship, West Cannon Baptist Church in Belmont, led our worship times and for the second year, Mrs. Anne Harduk, pastor’s wife from Alto, directed our children’s meetings. Matters of business this year included the approval of our annual MARBC Budget totaling $121,710.00, a slight increase over last year’s. We want to personally thank those churches who brought special gifts for the general fund which always helps us to meet our budget. We welcomed into our MARBC Fellowship the Cloverville Baptist Church in Fruitport, Pastor Joshua Rager. We rejoice in their association with us. A statement was made regarding the discontinuation of our MARBC State Teen Bible Conference for various reasons such as declining attendances, cost factors, locating suitable locations and other state wide youth ministries that have been started over the years. We thank the Lord for this effective ministry in the lives of many of our young people and wish to graciously thank all of those who have had a part in changing their lives for the glory of the Lord. For more than a year the Council of Fifteen has been diligently working on a strategic plan for the MARBC. During the conference a brochure entitled, “Casting a Vision: What the MARBC Is All About,” was made available and several Council members addressed its content during the main sessions. Sometime in the future it will be made available on our website.
Newly elected Council members this year are Ken Floyd, Grand Rapids, Jim Howard, Cedar Springs, and Jack Dowden, Flint, who will be joining George Coon, Kalamazoo (Chairman); Doug Compton, Comstock Park (Vice-Chairman); Tom Townsend, Rochester (Secretary); Mark Cizauskas, Belmont (Treasurer); Bill Blount, E. China; Hal Jankusky, Jackson (SMARBC); Jim Kester, Oxford (EMARBC); Chuck Richardson, Remus (CMARBC); Scott Church, Muskegon (WMARBC); Jeff Burr, Grand Rapids (GRARBC); and Wayne Haines, Lowell, who is fulfilling associate Scott Bixby’s term, who will be going to a new ministry in Rochester, NY.
During the conference, as reported in last month’s Baptist Testimony, Ann and I announced that this would be our last year serving our Fellowship of churches. After 16 years we sense that it will be time to transition into a less demanding ministry and turn this ministry over to someone who can give our MARBC the needed energy and vision for the days ahead. Our goal would be to pass the mantle on to the “chosen servant” at our next annual conference which will be held in our home church, West Cannon Baptist Church in Belmont, October 23-24 (State Pastors will be speaking). The Council of Fifteen has selected a Search Committee consisting of Pastors Tom Townsend (Chairman), Doug Compton, Mark Cizauskas, Will Davis, Bob McNeil and Doug Crawford. Thank you for praying for them as they have a very important responsibility before them in the coming days. You certainly are welcome to pass on suggestions to them. Again, Ann and I thank you for your constant encouragement to us and it will be a rather sentimental journey as we travel through this next year with you. Together let us rejoice in the goodness of God and continue to give Him all the glory in the ministries that He has called us to. Blessings on you. MHB