(Questions I’d Like to Ask but Don’t Dare to Ask)

  1. Is the recommendation of Mike Hess a done deal?

No. Only the messengers gathered at the 2018 GARBC Conference may extend a call for the office of national representative. Each church may designate six messengers to vote on the Council of Eighteen’s presentation of Mike as candidate for the office of national representative.

  1. How widely did you search for candidates?

We beat the bushes, receiving and providing recommendations from north, south, east, and west! We contacted men who are currently serving GARBC churches and some who are very sympathetic to the GARBC but not currently serving within our fellowship.

  1. What’s with the Iowa connection? Is there an Iowa Mafia?

The search committee process was adopted by the council in its June 2017 meeting. The council chose the search committee’s four members and one chairman by secret ballot. That the council chose four men from Iowa to serve on the search committee is part of God’s providence; further, a number of men from Iowa currently serve on the Council of Eighteen. The search committee included members with diverse ways of thinking and ministry practices. Some could wear skinny jeans (Mike Augsburger) and others “old-man flannel” (Tim Capon). Each search committee meeting included lively discussion, with respect and appreciation expressed continually. Mike, though serving for the last nine years in Iowa, is really a born and bred Chicagoan, an Illini, a Saluki, and (hold your nose) a Cubbie!

  1. Has Mike communicated with his church family?

On April 15, Mike and I shared the news of this recommendation with his church, Calvary Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

  1. How does John Greening feel about the search process?

John who?

  1. No, really. How does John Greening feel about the search process?

John has given his unqualified support and encouragement to the Council of Eighteen, the search committee, and Mike.

  1. When will John retire, and when might Mike begin ministry as national representative?

If the messengers give a favorable vote at the conference, John will likely cease ministry as national representative near Sept. 1. Mike will begin ministry ASAP this coming summer, with some time overlapping between the two men. This will allow for a brief mentoring time of transition as John leaves and Mike begins ministry. The GARBC is well positioned to handle this arrangement financially.

  1. Will the messengers set the salary of the new national representative?

No. The Council of Eighteen will review the Hesses’ financial needs and set the salary and benefits accordingly as directed in the GARBC constitution.

  1. Will changes occur with the transfer of leadership?

Yes and no. Current plans call for no immediate changes in the administrative leadership team serving at the resource center. Inevitably, changes will take place in various aspects of the fellowship’s ministries as Mike assumes the leadership role. He will lead according to his giftedness and God’s leadership. The national representative will continue to work in close harmony with the Council of Eighteen, informally with the Regular Baptist state associations, and regularly with the pastors and churches of the GARBC.

  1. Will St. Louis Cardinal Baptists be driven from the GARBC?

Presuming the messengers extend a call to Mike, the council has authorized purchase of the following fringe benefit for Mike: season tickets to the Chicago White Sox.

  1. What were the key items that led to the council’s recommendation of Mike?

We believe Mike is a man of Biblical balance, that is, godliness of life with a passion for the lost, for God’s church, and for disciple making. We believe that Mike will rally the fellowship to greater love of Christ and facilitate greater effort in ministry together as a fellowship of churches. He is a lover of the gospel, a preacher of the Book, a separatist by conviction, and an encourager to all. Mike also loves his wife, Christina, and their children, manifesting a growing Christlikeness as a husband and father.

  1. What was the vote of the Council of Eighteen?

Of the 15 men able to attend the Feb. 20, 2018, meeting in Chicago, 14 voted in favor of the search committee’s recommendation. Two men were unable to attend the meeting but were informally in favor of the recommendation. Mike, as a member of the Council of Eighteen, was not included in any executive sessions or votes.

  1. What if the messengers do not extend a call to Mike to serve as national representative?

The Hesses are open to however God chooses to lead in this process.

  1. What role will Christina serve?

Christina will continue to serve alongside her husband and travel with him as much as possible. She will serve in her new local church according to her time, giftedness, and interests.

  1. What unusual trait does Mike possess?

Mike is the master of trivia, being able to remember the most arcane, obscure, inane, and unimportant facts along with the truly eternal!

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