A letter from David E. Strope

I remember several years ago uttering the r word from the Ankeny Baptist Church pulpit, not realizing my innocuous mention of eventual retirement would send the ABC family into a tizzy! “What will we do, Pastor, if you retire?” “What will happen to our church?”

I assured them that retirement for me was many years away. I then asked, “What would happen if God were to suddenly remove me from this local church ministry?” I did understand the emotional panic expressed by several in our congregation, but I noted, “This is not my church, but God’s. Since our church is God’s church, we may trust Him to care for His church even through leadership transitions.”

The r word has been uttered in our fellowship. After 21 years of faithful ministry as GARBC national representative, John Greening announced his retirement plans at the 2017 GARBC Conference.

Transitions, especially leadership transitions, are unique and challenging occasions. The GARBC is more than one man, whether the man’s name is Ketcham, Jackson, Stowell, Tassell, or Greening. The GARBC is a fellowship of churches. The GARBC is God’s fellowship. He will care for His fellowship during this time of leadership transition.

Dr. Greening communicated to the council at its November 2016 meeting that the time for his retirement had come. He encouraged the council to formulate transition plans and to form a National Representative Search Committee.

At the 2017 GARBC Conference in North East, Maryland, Dr. Greening and the Council of Eighteen jointly announced these retirement plans to the conference messengers. The Council of Eighteen shared its heartfelt appreciation and respect for Dr. Greening’s long and faithful ministry for the GARBC. The relationship as a council with Dr. Greening is uniquely amicable.

The goal and plan of the Council of Eighteen is to trust God and work hard, effecting a coordinated leadership handoff. Our prayer is that this transition will be like an Olympic medal–winning relay race, with one runner smoothly transferring the baton to the next runner with imperceptible ease.

I, as a local church pastor, have long considered Dr. Greening a friend, colleague, and co-laborer in gospel ministry. He is an encourager, mentor, and leader. My service as a Council of Eighteen member, and in these more recent days as council chairman, has heightened my respect and love for John’s integrity, service, and leadership.

Too, the Council of Eighteen is very appreciative of Daria Greening for her encouragement of John and her ministry on behalf of the GARBC. Her service at the Resource Center and in various GARBC ministries is valuable and significant.

There is much that you can do as a fellowship as we move through this leadership transition:

Pray for John and Daria as they anticipate retirement life and ministry.

Pray for the Council of Eighteen and more specifically for the National Representative Search Committee.

Pray for the GARBC Resource Center staff in Arlington Heights, Illinois. It is never easy wondering who the new boss will be!

Communicate your ideas, concerns, and recommendations of candidates for the national representative office to the search committee. Letters, e-mails, and phone calls are encouraged and urged!

Express your appreciation to John and Daria for their 21 years of ministry as national representative and wife.

Communicate with the National Representative Search Committee members via personal contact, or e-mail NRsearch@garbc.org.

Search Committee Members

  • David E. Strope (Chairman), Pastor
    Ankeny Baptist Church, Ankeny, Iowa
    2842 SW Third Street, Ankeny, IA 50023
  • Mike Augsburger, Pastor
    Willow Creek Baptist Church, West Des Moines, Iowa
    720 Army Post Road, West Des Moines, IA 50265
  • Tim Capon, State Representative
    Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches
    2842 SW Third Street, Ankeny, IA 50023
  • Duke Crawford, Pastor
    Emmanuel Baptist Church, Toledo, Ohio
    4207 W. Laskey Road, Toledo, OH 43623
  • Will Hatfield, Pastor
    CrossRoad Baptist Church, Ames, Iowa
    57011 US Highway 30, Ames, IA 50010

Communicate with the National Representative Search Committee via www.GARBC.org/NRSearch.

All correspondence, recommendations, and references will be viewed exclusively by the National Representative Search Committee.

The link to the National Representative Search Committee on the GARBC website includes the following:

  • National representative news updates from the search committee
  • National representative ministry profile
  • National representative survey form
  • E-mail addresses for members of the National Representative Search Committee
  • Form to submit recommendations for the office of national representative
  • Link to submit requested character references of candidates

Thank you for your fellowship in the GARBC and for your ministry for Jesus Christ.

David Strope is chairman of the Council of Eighteen and the National Representative Search Committee, and pastor of Ankeny (Iowa) Baptist Church.