FrontRowBy John Greening

Editor’s note: This issue’s “Front Row” is taken from the GARBC’s Annual Report for 2016. Read the entire report on pages 61–68 of Bb Plus.

Bold and big—these words describe the work of the Council of Eighteen and the administrative team of Regular Baptist Churches during the past year.

Church planting is our number-one priority. As part of the Council of Eighteen’s master planning effort, raising the importance of church planting among our churches became our primary focus. The church-planting committee designed a strategy that would appropriately suit the independence of our churches and leverage the capabilities of the mission agencies with which our churches network. Leadership of a church-planting initiative is essential to achieve the desired outcome of multiplying churches. After careful consideration, the committee and the Council of Eighteen voted to engage Clare Jewell as the Regular Baptist Churches national church planting coordinator. Clare is a veteran pastor in association churches. He has a passion for church planting and seeing new churches multiplied. I believe God brought us together at this time to network with churches, state fellowships, mission agencies, and schools to begin pursuing the goal of 100 church plants by 2025. Your prayers and involvement in making this vision happen are essential.

We continue to work on the GARBC Conference to build on its value for attendees. We have reformatted the schedule to make it more accessible and compact. We made changes to the number of conference days, the placement of events such as Talents For Christ, and the addition of learning modules. Currently we plan for the 2017 GARBC Conference to be in the Delaware/Maryland/Virginia region, at the gracious invitation of the regional churches. A top-notch conference is in the planning. The Washington, D.C., region will afford wonderful sightseeing options for individuals and families.

Over the past three years I have been enjoying a growing friendship with Dr. Thomas White, president of Cedarville University. Dr. White has asked if it might be possible to renew the friendship between the association and the university. The school made a formal request to again be able to exhibit at our annual conference and advertise in the Baptist Bulletin. The Council of Eighteen is in conversation with Dr. White. I commend the strong positions Dr. White and the trustees have affirmed.

I am grateful for my colleagues on the administrative team. I anticipated that Chris Hindal would be concluding his work this year as director of Regular Baptist International. In light of the many initiatives under way, I have asked Chris to consider continuing on in his role. He has happily consented to do so. I appreciate the fine work Manning Brown is doing as our new director of Regular Baptist Chaplaincy. I urge you to invite Manning to your church to raise awareness of this strategic ministry field. Michael Nolan, Regular Baptist Churches CFO and Regular Baptist Builders Club director, donned an additional hat in assisting another organization as a business consultant. In coordination with my oversight and the Council’s awareness, Michael divided his time between his Regular Baptist duties and this other ministry.

Shortly after last year’s conference, I aggressively worked to recruit Jack Klem to join the team as director of Regular Baptist Press. Jack accepted the position, beginning his duties in September. He brought educational skills and networking capacity to the table, which were seen as great assets. But due to family considerations, Jack and his wife, Cathy, decided to relocate back to Florida. That change meant Jack would be unable to continue his role, which requires working with our team on-site. I am deeply disappointed for RBP’s sake. I wish the Klems God’s best. I am looking ahead to align leadership for RBP and fill vacancies. In the meantime, the existing RBP staff is more than competent to keep the vital ministry not only going but growing.

To build on the selection of RBP Bible studies, I completed a new men’s study titled 12 Clueless Men, based on the Upper Room discourse in John 13—16. This Bible study would be beneficial for discipling men in your church.

Daria and I continue to actively assist the churches of our fellowship in becoming stronger. We are at your service. Please make us aware of your questions or needs. It is our objective to help you. Thank you for the privilege of serving in this role.

John Greening is national representative of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches.