by Mike Durbin
PLYMOUTH, MI – Recently, we met with a pastor who is interested in affiliating with us - becoming a part of our Michigan Baptist family. It’s a conversation we are having more often as churches look for a network where they can connect.
As I gathered materials to share with him, I reread a document, ``Benefits of Affiliation with the Baptist State Convention of Michigan,” to make sure that it was up to date. It so encouraged me that I decided to share it with you.
We identify with the national Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant denomination and largest missionary sending body in America) which brings with it a commitment to Biblical orthodoxy and the reputation of diverse and autonomous Baptist churches working together to fulfill the Great Commission both locally and around the world.
As a cooperating church of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (agree with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, give to Cooperative Program, and complete an Annual Church Profile), you enjoy many unique benefits:
1. Worldwide missions investment.
Your church’s gifts through the Cooperative Program (CP) help support more than 6,000 missionaries in Michigan, North America and the world. These missionaries share the Gospel, make disciples of Jesus Christ, and help plant new churches, all from a foundation of sound, Baptist doctrine as expressed in The Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
2. Worldwide missions involvement.
These 6,000+ missionaries also form a network throughout the world for your church to be personally involved in missions, through praying, giving, going on short-term trips or as missionaries themselves. In addition, coordinated SBC and BSCM ministries such as Disaster Relief, women’s ministries, church planting, church revitalization, and collegiate ministries give churches many connections and opportunities for mission service.
3. Training for effective ministry.
Your church’s Cooperative Program (CP) giving helps support more than 24,000 students training for ministry in six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries, and that discounted education is available to members of your church as well. In addition, BSCM staff, supported through the CP, are available to help your church discern and clarify their next step forward in their vision. Webinars, distance learning, and downloadable web resources from BSCM and its partners can bring customized training right into your church or home.
4. Tax exempt status.
If your church does not have its own 501(C)(3) non-profit status, you may qualify for that status under the umbrella of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Each church is required to have their own Employee Identification Number (EIN).
5. Church staff benefits.
Qualifying church staff who participate in the GuideStone Retirement plan will receive protection benefit (death and disability) insurance through the national SBC’s GuideStone Financial Resources. GuideStone also offers health insurance.
6. Networking and fellowship.
BSCM has about 290 member churches and is starting new churches each year in Michigan. BSCM can connect you quickly with other churches or experienced church leaders who can assist your church in whatever challenges it faces, from pastor search processes to church conflict mediation to church finance and management issues. And when your church is ready to relocate, expand to a new site, or plant a new church, BSCM can assist you with those processes as well.
7. Quality communications.
In addition to the informative and helpful BSCM website, http://www.bscm.org, we have a monthly online news journal, the Baptist Beacon, baptistbeacon.net, that has encouraging, practitioner articles from Michigan Pastors and Church Leaders.
8. BSCM facilities and camps.
The State Convention Office is at 41100 Plymouth Rd., Bldg. 1, Suite 315, Plymouth, MI 48170. You are welcome to stop by for conversations or lunch at any time. We also have the Bambi Lake Retreat and Conference Center in Roscommon, MI. This facility is available to your church for its own training and retreats. Several pre planned events and retreats are provided each year in this relaxing getaway location. For current events, please check the website: bambilakelife.squarespace.com.
9. Financial ministry assistance.
Churches involved in evangelistic, or church planting strategies may receive financial grants or assistance from the BSCM in support of those efforts.
10. Fellowship and Encouragement.
Isolation can be devastating for pastors leading a church in today’s culture. Being part of the BSCM provides the opportunity for true Biblical fellowship, inspiration and accountability for pastors and leaders through associational, regional, and state-wide gatherings. There are regional pastor cohorts that foster peer learning, sharing and encouragement that help strengthen pastors.
11. Connection and Collaboration.
Here are some great connection points:
Tim Patterson, BSCM Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-408-9521
Tony Lynn, Church Planting Leader, email@example.com, 734-770-0608
Mike Durbin, State Director of Evangelism, firstname.lastname@example.org, 248-631-7154
Coye Bouyer, Diversity Ambassador, email@example.com, 517-402-1191
Bob Kiger, State Disaster Relief Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 586-381-0626
Susan Hodnett, State Women’s Ministries/WMU Director, email@example.com, 586-219-4192
Jamie Lynn, Executive Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org, 734-770-0587
Dan Carty, Ministry Assistant, email@example.com, 734-776-6495
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.