Monday_inlineThe GARBC’s Council of Eighteen met on Monday, June 27, for its first business and planning meeting of 2016. Opening the meeting, chairman Ken Floyd commented on the continuing seismic shifts in the nation’s social arena. “It seems like every time this council is about to meet, the Supreme Court hands down a momentous decision.” One year ago, the Court had handed down the controversial Obergefell v. Hodges same-sex marriage decision just days before the council’s annual meeting. This year, it was a 5-3 decision striking down a Texas law designed to restrict abortions.

In response, Floyd encouraged the council members to make prayer a top priority. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” he said, reading from James 5:16. “We are ordinary men and women here today. We’re challenged, we’re vexed, we need direction. So our focus has to be that righteous people are right only when they turn their hearts and their attentions toward God. So we pray fervently, we pray obediently, and we expect that God is going to do great and mighty things.”

As the meeting continued, the council heard reports from each of the GARBC’s subsidiary ministries. “Daria and I continue to actively assist the churches of our fellowship in becoming stronger,” said John Greening, the association’s national representative. “You are important to us. We are always at your service. Thank you for the privilege of serving in this role of helping churches become stronger.”

One of the high points of this year’s council meeting was the official introduction of Clare Jewell, newly appointed national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Church Planting. “I ask you to join me in praying diligently for God to provide five qualified church planters to engage in starting five new churches in 2017,” Jewell said. “As you can see, we have quite a ways to go, but we are making progress by taking this all-important first step.”

“It’s always good to hear the reports and get up to date on business. Meeting with Clare Jewell really stood out to me as a highlight of the meeting,” said Tim Capon, state representative of the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches and member of the Council of Eighteen. “Church planting is so important for the future of our association, so I’m very excited by the church planting initiative. We’re working on that in Iowa as a focus and a priority, and so are many of the Baptist mission agencies and churches in our Regular Baptist circles. Meeting with Clare Jewell and hearing from him was a real blessing.”

The council’s next official meeting will be in November at the association’s Arlington Heights, Illinois, resource center.