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The Council of Eighteen, governing body for the GARBC, met on Monday morning ahead of the 2021 conference. Every year the council takes this opportunity to settle outstanding business and strategize for the coming year.

Pointing to Hebrews 12:1–2, Chairman David Strope reminded the council of the constant need to remind themselves of the centrality of Jesus Christ: “When we fix our eyes on Jesus—the captain and perfector of our faith—that tempers the way we do ministry, and that tempers expectations and interactions and egos and our tendency to go the wrong way in life.”

Much of the discussion this year addressed the fallout from COVID-19 and the resultant shutdowns. “This was an incredibly difficult year,” National Representative Mike Hess said. “But by God’s grace we’re still here, and we’re still pursuing our mission of making disciples through healthy local churches.”

Hess also emphasized to the council the need to clearly communicate the GARBC’s purpose and mission. “We exist to resource, revitalize, and reproduce disciple-making local churches for the glory of God,” he said. “That purpose drives every single thing that our ministries do.”

The council received annual reports from the Regular Baptist Ministries’ directors. All the directors shared that although many plans and initiatives were unexpectedly interrupted due to the pandemic, things are now beginning to return to normal. “Our sales pretty much flatlined during 2020 as the nationwide shutdown orders went into effect,” said Regular Baptist Press Director David Gunn. “But we’re now beginning to see those numbers going back up. God has been extremely good to us.”

“It is so encouraging that we’re able to meet together again this year,” Mike Hess said. “Even the provision of this church [Bethel Baptist Church of Schaumburg, Ill.] as a venue for this year’s conference is a gracious gift from God.”