GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Calvary Baptist Church hosted the 2018 Church Ministries Conference, a ministry of the Grand Rapids Association of Regular Baptist Churches.*
This year’s theme was “For the Sake of the Gospel: Building Bridges in a Wall Building World.” Keynote speakers were Chris Weeks, pastor of Kent City (Michigan) Baptist; Doug Crawford, pastor of West Cannon Baptist, Belmont, Mich.; and Mark Shaw, pastor of Calvary Baptist, Greenville, Mich. The two-day conference offered numerous workshops in eight areas of ministry: evangelism, discipleship, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, student, children, counseling, and missions / cross-cultural ministry and in three ministry-related areas: general, leadership, and technology.
Alan Wilson, U.S. field coordinator for Regular Baptist Press, and Marrena Ralph, clubs program specialist for RBP’s Kids4Truth Clubs, represented the press both as exhibitors and workshop leaders. Alan led “Reaching the 4/14 Window” and “How to Evaluate Curriculum.” Marrena’s workshops were “Powerful Midweek Program: 12 Reasons to Rethink Your Midweek Madness” and “Engaging and Motivating Children to Learn.”
In “Reaching the 4/14 Window” Alan addresses the problem in some churches of a declining children’s ministry (Sunday School, midweek club, Vacation Bible School, etc.). His workshop addresses how to reach kids ages 4 to 14 and how to relight a church’s desire to grow its children’s ministry. His workshop on evaluating curriculum provides four vital steps for evaluation. He says, “Curriculum as a resource, with the Bible, is the heartbeat of our ministry with children, youth, and adults. It is important that we are accurate and effective.”
In Marrena’s workshop on midweek programs, she asks, “Systematic theology for kids—is it possible?” and then heartily answers, “Yes! It’s not only possible, it’s critical!” She identifies the kinds of teaching that characterize a well-rounded children’s ministry, the importance of listing objectives, evaluating curriculums to meet those objectives, and smoothly implementing or transitioning to a new curriculum. In her other workshop, Marrena shares methods that will engage children, will show them that the church cares, and will make learning fun and exciting.
The 2019 Church Ministries Conference will be held March 8 and 9.
*Learn about the vital, historic role the GRARBC played in the development of Baptist fundamentalism in the U.S. and in the formation of the GARBC in One in Hope and Doctrine, available from Regular Baptist Press.