Mid-November saw the gathering of brothers and sisters from all over the USA and further afield, in the city of Greenville, South Carolina.
The meeting was convened and hosted by Grace Baptist Church, Taylors, with a view to the inception of a new association of Reformed Baptists — the Reformed Baptist Network, or RBNet for short.
As stated in its constitution, ‘The purpose of RBNet is to glorify God through fellowship and cooperation, in fulfilling the Great Commission to the ends of the earth’.
With meetings held intensively from the morning of Tuesday 15 November through to Thursday evening of 17 November, each day commenced with devotionals. These were led by men, each of whom stressed the importance of association, evangelism and working together in the extension of the kingdom of Christ, and encouraging an appreciation for and practice of sound doctrine.
Business meetings were held with charter members of the new association, as well as observers from several other churches. The charter member churches number 26, and there were representatives from 44 other churches present at the conference.
Meetings held throughout the day were generally attended by about 130 people. These were interspersed with other meetings for awareness of missions, so several missionaries provided reports on their work, whether in continental America or further afield.
There were reports on 16 mission efforts, including church planting, ministerial training and publishing, as well as singing, prayer, and fellowship, especially over the meals provided by the good folks at Grace Baptist Church.
Commitment to mission
Commenting on the association’s commitment to mission, Jamie Howell, one of the pastors of Grace Baptist Church, stated: ‘Co-operation in various mission endeavours will be our primary focus for cooperation. This will involve church planting at home and abroad, and ministerial training carried out by full-time missionaries, as well as by our own pastors, who are involved in ongoing efforts in places like Nigeria, Russia, the Far East, Latin America, India and France’.
A well-stocked bookstore made sure nobody would return home without having the opportunity of stocking up on good, Reformed literature at discounted prices, over and above the giveaways delegates had received in their registration packs. How thankful we should be for good literature in the propagation and promotion of the Reformed faith!
There was a significant representation of Spanish-speaking believers, a matter especially noteworthy in terms of the demographics of North America and the opportunities for promoting biblical Christianity and the Reformed faith among these saints.
Evening meetings were open to the public, as well as to conference delegates and were especially well attended. Keynote speakers included Mark Dever, Dr Richard Phillips and David Vaughan.
RBNet plans to meet again from 6-9 November, 2017, at Grace Immanuel Reformed Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.