The Baptist Testimony
Volume 56 Number 5 September/October 2010
The Word Has It
“Strengthen me according to Your word,” -Psalm 119:28
MARBC Executive Director
Living up to this famous marketing slogan, “The pause that refreshes,” Coca-Cola has sold billions of bottles of its world famous beverage to thirsty customers seeking a momentary sense of refreshment. In a similar way, the goal of this year’s MARBC Annual Conference is to offer a “spiritual pause that joyfully refreshes” the wearied souls of God’s servants.
As is reflected in the theme, “Joyfully Refreshed,” this year’s conference is specifically designed to bring spiritual encouragement and practical benefit to an MARBC family that has weathered the battering winds that have blown in our state the past few years. We assure you that if you join us for this year’s conference that your investment of time and finances will be specially rewarded.
I strongly encourage our MARBC churches to seriously consider sending their ministry couples to this two-day conference. The past few years in Michigan have been a special challenge to all of its residents. The pressures of the economic downturn and job losses have impacted every home and every church. Because of this, pastors have faced an ever increasing need from their church families for Biblical counsel and prayer support. These special servants of God have had to lead their churches through times of challenging decisions related to church budget cuts, assistance for those facing special needs, while also dealing with the impact of these issues in their own homes.
Some churches have had to cut their budgets in the area of conference opportunities for their pastoral staff. We would ask you to encourage your pastor and his wife by enabling them to attend this conference. It would be especially appropriate during the month of October which is designated as Clergy Appreciation Month. Please contact the MARBC office if your church needs assistance in enabling your pastor to attend the conference. Special funds are available to help those with critical needs.
Sharon and I love pastoral couples and their families. We have walked where they walk and have experienced the unique blessings and faced the special challenges that are a part of being a ministry family. It is a special situation that you can only fully appreciate if you have lived there and have walked a few miles in those ministry shoes!
We are thankful for the many dedicated servants who help lead the almost 200 churches in the MARBC fellowship. We appreciate their labors of love, their sacrificial spirits, their steady and faithful service, their commitment to Christ and their desire to honor His plan through the church.
It has been our joy to listen to these choice servants as they share their vision and desires for their church families to grow spiritually. It has been our humble privilege to pray with many of these servants as they pour their hearts out to God for His guidance as they seek answers to the special burdens faced by those they seek to shepherd. They are a special group with which Christ has chosen to gift our churches. They deserve our respect and need our encouragement.
The Apostle Paul once wrote a word of encouragement to one with such a servant’s heart. He gave thanks to God as he heard of Philemon’s “love and faith which [he] had toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints” (Philemon 1:5). The evidence of this love in action caused Paul to further share, “we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother” (Philemon 1:7). Perhaps your pastor and his family need to hear a similar word of encouragement from you!
Churches are encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 “to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” God values ministry servants who faithfully invest themselves in the work of the Lord. He wants the church body to value these special laborers as well and will bless those who make the effort to recognize their ministry and value their service.
You have His Word on it! (KEF)