National Representative John Greening announced his retirement plans on Thursday morning at the annual business meeting of the 2017 GARBC Conference. “I can honestly say that a lot has been accomplished by our team in the last twenty-one years, and that is gratifying,” Greening told the assembled church messengers. David Strope, chairman of the Council of Eighteen, later expressed the Association’s gratitude in turn. “We are very appreciative of John’s twenty-one years of ministry. It was more than a year ago when John began to communicate with the Council his longer-term plans in terms of retiring from ministry as national representative, and began to plant the seeds in our minds as a council as to when that might occur.”

The national representative transition plans were carefully laid out at the meeting. Strope, also chairman of the search committee, expressed the desire for the process to unfold like an Olympic race, in which the baton is passed smoothly from one runner to another. Per association bylaws, the next national representative must be elected at a national conference, so the goal is to have a candidate chosen by the 2018 conference. A website has been established to assist in the search process.

Several churches were voted into fellowship with the GARBC: Green Mountain Baptist Church in Center Rutland, Vermont; Heritage Multicultural Baptist Church in Quincy, Washington; Iglesia Biblica La Roca in Hayward, California; Involved Church in Nampa, Idaho; and Shiloh Baptist Church in Bowie, Maryland.

Two statements articulating the position of the GARBC on issues critical to ministry today were resolved at the meeting. The first was a resolution on the transgender revolution, clarifying the association’s Biblical stance. The second was a resolution about best church practices, following the theme of the conference. It articulated the orthopraxy, or right practice, that should characterize all rightly ordered and rightly functioning churches.

Excitement is building about several key initiatives. First, church planting and church revitalization are essential to the association’s future. They are an investment in the future by replacing churches that are leaving, dying, or merging. Second, a partnership has just been finalized with Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. This partnership will be beneficial to both Brotherhood Mutual and the association. Third, momentum is building for the New Testament Exposition Commentary, a proposed set of New Testament commentaries to be published by Regular Baptist Press.

Sandy Cove Ministries was a beautiful locale for this year’s conference. Gratitude was expressed for the wonderful job done by the Sandy Cove staff. In 2018 the conference will move to Fishers, Indiana. John Greening encouraged the attendees to look forward to it; the conference will be held at “a vibrant local church that is situated in a central location.”