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“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Sharon and I are blessed by the opportunity to serve together representing Christ and His wonderful churches that are a part of the Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches. We are blessed by our frequent encounters with the many wonderful servants of God through the stewardship investment of personalized support, practical resources, and spiritual care that the MARBC is able to provide.
It is a great joy to complete our seventh year serving with you as representatives of this Biblically sound church network. Our heritage is rich and our ministry potential for Great Commission influence is strong. We know that many of you pray regularly and give sacrificially and we thank God for each of you. Rejoice with us that God is using our association to make an eternal impact!
Consultations and Counseling. The past year’s ministry included over 120 meetings and consultations. Many of these involved churches going through pastoral transition. I also conducted several sessions with a half dozen churches dealing with conflict resolution or long-range strategy. The volume of these types of requests continues to increase, including several from churches outside of our state association. Approximately 10% of our entire church constituency was in a search process this past year and 17 churches called new pastors.
Media ministry. We prepared and edited 4 quarterly issues of the Baptist Testimony and sent out approximately 40 email editions of the MARBC Messenger. To save funds, the BT was reduced from 6 bimonthly issues to 4 quarterly issues. We are currently evaluating the prospect of producing the BT as primarily an online tool with limited print editions for those who would still desire that.
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, marbc.net. We seek to offer practical resources online and have added several new features this past year. More and more of the MARBC’s ministry continues to move to the web in order to improve accessibility by our constituency and beyond, as well as to reduce costs.
I also had the personal privilege of completing a writing assignment for Regular Baptist Books, contributing a chapter in the new volume, “The Pastor: A Guide for God’s Faithful Servant.” My chapter pertains to the Biblical role of the “bishop” in the spiritual administration of the local church.
Regional Associations. We continue to encourage the regional associations to develop meaningful ministries to encourage their churches and servants. I am grateful for the continued development of the Upper Peninsula region led by Pastor Brian Knight.
Church Planting and Recruitment. It is our joy to welcome the Sycamore Community Baptist Church in Dorr, Michigan (Pastors Jerry Hopkins and Kelly Ryan) to our association during this year’s business session. We are grateful for ongoing dialogue with at least three other churches that have expressed interest in the potential of associating with the MARBC. Council of 16 member Jeff Burr has represented the MARBC in leading a co-hort involving a dozen MARBC pastors and churches regarding multi-cultural ministry this past spring. Dr. Charles Ware met with this group to discuss the potential of future mentoring.
CPR (Church Partnering Relationships). Once again several CPR ministries were conducted across the state this past year. One ongoing project has been the construction of a facility for Grace Hispanic Baptist Bible Church, a new MARBC church located in Grant (Pastor Pepe Morales). Several churches have assisted in the property development, super-structure, and now the roughing-in of the interior. Our thanks are extended to First Baptist Church in Vestaburg (Pastor Peter Carlson), who have sent several work crews over the past 8 months to assist with this need. 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 desires. Please pray with me that the finances will allow us to offer the encouragement that our churches and ministry servants greatly need. The 2014 MARBC Annual Conference will be hosted next fall at West Cannon Baptist Church in Belmont (greater Grand Rapids area). We are currently working with them regarding the date, speakers, and theme.
Ministry summary. Sharon and I have now completed our seventh year of service as the MARBC Ministry Director and Secretary, logging approximately 210,000 miles on behalf of the MARBC (30,000 in 2013) and ministering in over 400 churches. We are grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ for this privilege, as well as the prayer and financial support of our churches and individuals. It is our joy to partner with the MARBC Council of 16. These men provide godly counsel and leadership. I know that they welcome your calls and desire to prayerfully encourage you and your ministry.
We wish to share our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for Pastor Ken and Debbie Pyne (Evangel Baptist Church, Taylor) for their many years of faithful leadership of the MARBC Talents for Christ ministry. The Pynes are moving to Clarks Summit, PA, in early 2014, where Ken will begin his new ministry as a professor and seminary internship director with Baptist Bible College and Seminary. We are very grateful to Karen Avey for her ongoing volunteer ministry as the MARBC bookkeeper. Personally we give thanks for our wonderful daughter and son-in-law, Allison and Taylor, and the blessings and frequent laughs provided by our two grandchildren Connor Wesley (4 ½) and Eloise Claire (2 1/2). We rejoice to report that grandchild #3 is due to arrive in mid-April!
How we wish that each one of you could spend a week experiencing with us the multitudes of opportunities that God regularly gives us as we serve Him and represent you in ministering to the diverse needs in which we are asked to assist! We remain firmly convinced of the purpose of our association as we observe first hand the many opportunities that God has given our MARBC partners to impact their communities and regions with the Gospel. Please continue to pray 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