Fall 2023 Congregational Meeting
October 24, 2023
- Report on Facilities - Rod Amberson
- Report on Finances - Rod Amberson
- Presenting the 2023 YTD Financial Statement
- Membership - Rod Amberson
- Biblical basis
- List of members
- Report on Activities - Rod Amberson
- Age Integrated as much as possible
- Bible Study
- Quiz Meet
- Ladies Study
- Report on Preaching - Floyd Gadd
- Rotation, Schedule, Pulpit supply
- Report on Music - Floyd Gadd
- Report on Missions - Floyd Gadd
- Ministries and Missions Support
- Open Floor for questions, comments, and suggestions not already addressed
- Closing - Floyd Gadd
1 Timothy 1:12-17, “12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
This could be the words of every believer - Jesus gives me strength. Jesus accounts me faithful. Jesus appoints me to His service. Though I was a blaspheming, lying, murderous-at-heart, adulterer-at-heart, God acted with mercy toward me, through Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
The mercy shown to me is not for my glory, nor is it to exalt mankind, or anything in creation - it to display God’s perfect patience, his perfect mercy, his perfect love, to all of creation and to be of service to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. We are saved by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone, to the Glory of God Alone. But we are not saved alone - we are to serve each other first (those who were to believe in him for eternal life), and also to display His common grace to those who refuse to acknowledge him or to give him thanks (those who refuse to believe in him for eternal life).
All the honor and all the glory goes to God - The King of all ages, eternally immortal, invisible, the only God, God alone who is wise. God gives us strength. God is our source of wisdom. May he provide us strength and wisdom as we seek to serve one another and reach out to the world around us with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our arrangement with Sonlight is going well. We currently pay $1000 per month for Sunday afternoons after 2:30 pm (Sonlight is almost always gone by 12:30 pm), Tuesday evenings in the sanctuary and Thursday evenings upstairs in Rooms 22 and 23 (we also have permission to use the foyer are some adjacent rooms for listening, but those are not reserved for our use). We do not have permission to use the Sanctuary on Thursdays. If we have additional needs, there may need to be additional fees.
We need to ask that people refrain from hanging out in stairwells, closed rooms, etc. Food and all open drinks need to remain in the fellowship hall downstairs. There has been dirty plates and empty cups left in various places, including in the stairwells, the nursery, and the sanctuary, as reported to Sonlight on Monday morning.
Wesley United Church is for sale, and I went to take a look and learn about the particulars - it will be sold by sealed bid, highest or any bid not necessarily accepted. A component of the bid would be to describe the bidder's plans for supporting and engaging with the community. The United Church has sold other buildings in Canada, and has a mandate to sell nearly 1000 buildings. SEND Canada (CNBC/SBC Canada) indicates that the United Church of Canada usually does not entertain purchases from conservative groups. Both Hillsdale Baptist and Faith Baptist own multiple buildings in Regina, but are operating as satellite churches.
Sonlight has asked whether we want to be involved with their outreach activities, and I went to several of their meetings earlier in the year, but have not continued over the summer. They have continued to invite us to their community BBQ, the speaker they brought in a couple weeks ago, and have talked about doing a joint service. It would be nice to have unlimited access to the rest of the building, or perhaps to engage with Sonlight on upkeep or renewing the sound system. With the removal of the artwork from the sanctuary, and the access we have currently, our proposal is to continue with our current agreement.
If anyone has questions, suggestions, or feedback for Sonlight, please speak with me and I'll pass them along or set up a meeting.
We are able to pay our bills, with about $1000 per month available for missions support, future expenses, potential vocational support, or acquiring capital assests like purchasing or leasing meeting space. At this point, with a forecast $12,000 surplus for all of 2023, we simply can't afford to support full-time ministry. One item that is not captured is the honorarium we supplied to Marshall Schettler for filling our pulpit - the e-Transfer did not go through or was not deposited - Rod will make a cash withdrawal and put the money into Marshall's hands.
Two line items need explanation: (1) Teaching Supplies; (2) Website, online.
A Sample of Bible Teaching that Pertains to Membership.
- The conviction that there is a universal church and a local church.
- The Greek word we translate as "Church" is Ekklesia, which basically means "assembly". It could be a town meeting. Other ways of saying "assembly" would be "the gathered" or "the fellowship".
- In the majority of cases, "ekklesia" refers to a group of Christians who gather together in person, regularly. The bulk of the times that "Ekklesia" is used, it refers to an identifiable group of people - specific people who gather together physically, not a generic group of people.
- There are also times in the New Testament when Ekklesia refers to all followers of Christ, which we understand to be accurately deemed the "universal" church.
- This universal invisible church includes those who have "fallen asleep" and are currently with the Lord, and all true believers alive today, and all who will believe in the future.
- This universal church will assemble in the New Heavens and New Earth.
- The Covenant of Grace is the same thing as the New Covenant.
- There are no members of the New Covenant who are not regenerate. This constitutes the Universal Church.
- There is no "external" membership in the New Covenant - a person is either united with Christ or is apart from Christ.
- The Local Church ought to consist of only regenerate, born again, true professors of faith in Jesus Christ.
- A local church will know each other and will commit to caring for each other, including nurturing and admonishing each other, and provoking one another to love and good works.
- There is the potential of false professions of faith, that are to be dealt with openly through local church discipline.
- There are no members of the New Covenant who are not regenerate. This constitutes the Universal Church.
- Acts records a pattern in which people profess faith in Jesus, are baptized, and are then added to the church.
- Also in Acts, there is a specific number of disciples (members) who are known to the apostles.
- Paul himself travels to Jerusalem to "join" himself to the church. This is what is recorded in Acts 9:26-31:
- Paul presents himself for examination (Acts 9:26)
- Paul has his profession of faith verified by Barnabus and examined (Acts 9:27, Galatians 2:2,7-8)
- Paul receives welcome into fellowship (Acts 9:28, Galatians 2:9)
- Paul is cared for by the church (Acts 9:30)
- Paul is commissioned and sent (Galatians 2:9-10, Acts 9:29-30, Acts 15:22)
- Paul subsequently:
- Gives instruction to appoint Elders in all the churches (Acts 14:23) and to appoint Elders in every town (Titus 1:5).
- Instructs members of local churches to "obey those who watch over you".
- Instructs Christians to do "one anothers" that necessarily involves being together and in a close relationship with each other.
- Instructs identifiable members of local churches about specific members who have committed gross sins to discontinue meeting with them, even to consider them unbelievers (with the hope that they will repent and return to the fold).
- Provides instructions for discipline in local churches, that includes bringing the matter "to the church" and then to stop fellowshipping with those who remain unrepentant - ultimately to consider them unbelievers (with the hope that they will repent and return to the fold).
- Membership makes the most sense of biblical metaphors of body, flock
- We are "members one of another"
- Though many, we are one body
- 1 Corinthians 12 uses the metaphor of a human body with many "members" (eyes, hands, feet, ears, etc) to describe how the local church knits the gifts of individual members into the service of the body as a whole.
- Jesus and Paul both use the metaphor of sheep, a flock, and a shepherd.
- (Paul and Peter both also use the metaphor of a building to describe, most directly, the universal church, but such a metaphor is not negated to speak of a local church also being comprised of "living stones")
- The conviction that there is a universal church and a local church.
- Our practice of church membership is necessarily contained in the scriptures, though not expressly set down.
Second London Baptist Confession, 1.6: The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelation of the Spirit, or traditions of men.Biblical Church Membership is necessarily contained in the scriptures - holding all the biblical data together, the necessary conclusion is that local church membership is taught in the scriptures.
- The focus placed on church membership is appropriate
Those who attend regularly and do not consider Grace Reformed Baptist Church "their church" are welcome to attend and fellowship with us.
Those who are not members (have not publicly confirmed their commitment to do the "one-anothers" of church life together) will not be asked to lead in services, but neither will they be excluded from participation or denied counsel or attention.
Those who attend regularly and consider Grace Reformed Baptist Church "your church" should consider making that statement publicly through membership.
- Our Membership policy:
does not place undue burden or pressure on those who choose to move more slowly.
does not restrict friendship with those who regularly attend.
does not exclude others from participating in worship.
does not bind members' consciences beyond the scriptural warrant.
does not improperly elevate membership beyond the emphasis given in the bible - it is reasonable.
- Our membership policy will remain:
Confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, testifying to being born again by the Holy Spirit, and walking in repentance and faith.
Have been baptized upon providing a credible profession of his or her faith.
Be committed to fellowship, responsibility, and accountability within the local church.
Members of Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Feedback and discussion is welcome.
Almost everything we do is for everyone in the church. The biblical model for discipleship is age-integration. Our focus will remain on keeping families intact, not on multiplying programs to cater to specific age groups. The elders will examine requests on a case-by-case basis. For the foreseeable future, there will not be a youth group, or children's church.
Here are some helpful resources:
- Ken Ham and Britt Beamer - "Already Gone"
- Voddie Baucham - "Family Driven Faith" (And this video, "The Centrality of the Home in the Evangelism and Discipleship of the Next Generation" or pdf.).
- Church & Family Life - churchandfamilylife.com (For example, Lost: The Biblical Order in the Church and in the Home)
- Scott Brown - "A Weed in the Church"
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please speak with us.
Everyone is encouraged to attend and participate in our mid-week Bible Study.
This is an example of examining things on a case-by-case basis. Karen is leading a mid-week ladies bible study. The request was to have a mid-day study that was open to ladies who wanted to attend. Because it is mid-week and mid-day, it should not interfere with family life.
The Quiz Meet bible quizzing program is run through UB David & I'LL B Jonathan. Quiz Meet would not allow a group that was not affiliated with a church. This is another example of examining things on a case-by-case basis.Grace Reformed Baptist Church believes that God has given the responsibility for training children to parents.
- Our primary focus will remain on keeping families intact - we encourage fellowship together as families, we worship together as families, we study together as families, we respect fathers and mothers and the jurisdiction of the family.
- QuizMeet does not replace parents, and signing children up for QuizMeet does not replace family worship or individual devotions - view this as "extra-curricular".
- Guard against a pharisaical or downtrodden attitude in your children - doing well at QuizMeet is not a sign of being "super-spiritual", and doing poorly is not a sign of being a "bad Christian".
- Guard against worldliness in your children - the biblical discipleship model is (1) parents raising their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; (2) Older men modelling manly conduct to young men, and older women modelling conduct for and teaching younger women. There is no place where children are encouraged to disciple other children. The opposite is the case - foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.
- Parents are welcome to come to the quizzing practice and the Quiz Meets.
This came up when we obtained insurance last November, and questions around church policies. “Safe Church” is a term for Abuse Prevention policies. This is more of a concern for schools, clubs, and churches that aspire to run many programs. In such situations, there is a need for processes to avoid abuse and allegations of abuse, or deal with such situations responsibly.We don’t intend to run a lot of programs, but we can also benefit from having a “Safe Church” Policy. Rod is working on a draft policy, as time allows.
Preaching is being shared on a rotating basis between our two elders, Rod Amberson and Floyd Gadd. We started the year continuing our series of sermons on Thessalonians and then a short series in the Psalms has been followed by a series in Ezra and Nehemiah. At the end of November, after Nehemiah 10, we begin a series on the incarnation, using Isaiah 6-11 as a framework. In January, we'll complete Nehemiah and then move on to Hebrews.
From time to time, as we did when Marshall Schettler preached from the Psalms one Sunday, we expect to draw from outside of our immediate congregation for pulpit supply. Our most likely sources will be personnel from Gospel of Grace Fellowship in Weyburn, Moose Mountain Reformed Baptist Church in Arcola, and Fellowship Baptist Church in Saskatoon. We look forward to the prospect, in time, of raising up competent preachers from within our own congregation.
Feedback is always welcome.
We understand the singing of the congregation to be a vital part of local church life. The scriptures call on us to sing to God, and to speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
We are using the hymnal “Hymns of Grace” as our principal source for congregational song, though we do, from time to time, also use songs from other sources. We value the use of scriptural psalms, and we have added copies of The Book of Psalms for Worship to our collection of congregational resources, to supplement the selections of psalms that were already present in our hymnal.
The pool of people who present lead congregational song is presently quite small. We look forward to expanding this group to include others. We elders place a great deal of value on leadership that is covenanted together and committed to "submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ". Since this is a role that involves public spiritual leadership, our normal practice will be to engage people who have expressed mutual commitment by aligning in covenant with GRBC.
We are committed to the primary importance of the voice of the congregation in our musical expressions of worship and devotion. We do value the use of musical instruments in support of the congregational voice. We understand that it is most fitting that not only the intellect, but also the heart, the affections be engaged in expressions of worship and devotion. It is good that we be moved in our innermost being by the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God as we sing. We understand the texts that we sing, and the truth that they communicate, to be the appropriate primary drivers of this engagement of our affections. Music that is well crafted and well fitted to these texts, these words, is good, and helpful, and supportive.
We do live in an age where much music is valued for its ability to drive emotional experience. Ours is not the first age in which this has been true. Elements that drive such emotional experience can include a significantly emphasized physical stimulation of the senses, and various appeals to memories and past experiences that are engaged not for their meaning, but for their usefulness in crafting a particular mood or state of emotional intensity. There is much that has been put forth as worship music in this world (and I speak not only of Christian worship) that treats such emotional experience as an end in itself, such that participants come away from the experience with the sense and understanding that they have been worshiping, even if their engagement with the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God has been minimal or absent.
This reality is a significant component in our valuing of simplicity in our approach to the use of music in worship. We want to sing texts that are rich in meaning—in meaning that warrants and evokes a response of the heart. We want music to serve this heartfelt engagement with truth, rather than supplanting it with an emotional experience that imitates it.
We do not imagine that our present practices of music represent some kind magic bullet--some ideal approach to the matters at hand. There is a degree to which we are distancing ourselves from some practices that we understand to be misguided, and we are committed to a significant degree of simplicity in terms of how we lead the congregation in song, but that does not mean that we will always do exactly what we are doing now. There is room for conversation. There is room for participation. There is room to grow in our understanding of what constitutes faithfulness in this realm of ministry.
At the present time our church is not designating a part of the offerings collected on an ongoing basis to the support of missionary activity. We would like to begin doing that in the near future.
Aaron Cross - Good News Ambassadors and Bibles for Muslims
Aaron is well known to many at GRBC and has made it his stated intention that GRBC be his home church. He has attended here regularly. Rod is working with the board of directors at Bibles for Muslims to obtain Charitable Status. GRBC will use some of our funds to pay for resources for Aaron’s ministries.
Big things are happening for Aaron - at the banquet in September, Aason proposed to Anna and they will be getting married. Aaron will become a step-dad and will move to Calgary. We will continue to pray for Aaron and his ministries, Good News Ambassadors and Bibles for Muslims.
The Killalley family is sent and supported by a local church in the USA for ministry in Peru. Tim is elder-qualified and has focused on training men from Peru for the work of ministry, through theological education and discipleship. The Killillays are currently active in planting and establishing a local church in Peru. The Killilllays are registered with a missionary-support organization in Canada, that makes it simple for GRBC to direct our giving to their support.The newsletter is available here. Their church plant needs to build a wall on the building, for which we would like to contribute. A video describing the need is available here.
CBTS is a confessional seminary that focuses on training people where they are, through online courses and generous audit options. The dean is Sam Waldron. CBTS also publishes books, articles, and podcasts. Our support may include the benefit of discounts for our members to enroll in CBTS courses for credit. There would likely need to be arrangements made to be able to give to CBTS, since they are based in the USA.
We join with TMAI in prayer each year. Unfortunately, their material was held up at the border this year and did not arrive until the events were concluded.
Several books and videos have been purchased for the library and a list will be published on the website. There needs to be a method of marking and tracking borrows and returns. Expect this to be up and running by the end of the year.
We still have permission to access the GoGF electronic library. To access the GoGF e-library, go to http://weyburnchurch.com/member-login/library and enter the password, "login."