“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.