Executive Minister Search Committee
Continues Listening
Pastor Bunyan Cocar

At right, David Bilyeu (member of Search Committee and co-pastor of Greenville First Baptist Church) attends to Search Committee Jerry Phillips' introductions as the two begin a session of listening to pastors and laypersons gathered at First Baptist Church of Peoria on Tuesday, April 21. The church's Pastor, Rev. Dr. Jim Carlson, hosted. The process and questions used to generate ideas and discussion were fruitful.

More sessions are scheduled throughout April and into early May. Put this on your calendar and pray about what God wants you to share. Read cover letter sent to churches)

Also, please complete the survey that will help us know more about your needs as to the next Executive Minister. Thank you.

Your Church Web Site Mobile Friendly?

About two years ago more internet searches were done on handheld/mobile devices, a.k.a smartphones, phablets, and tablets. Now Google, the most used web search service will begin on Tuesday, April 21 to list web search results giving preference to sites that are mobile friendly. According to USA Today on April 18, "A site that has been listed number one result of searches "could hypothetically fall to ninth or tenth place." Here is a site to test how mobile-friendly your site is: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

How does the abcgrr site compare: The result of the test is "Awesome! Your site is Mobile Friendly."

If you have not yet made changes, you are not alone. As many as 40% of top corporations - including retail - have not yet made changes. They are now scrambling to do so.

Churches need to make the change. We have the best and most important service in the world to offer. Let's communicate it so all can hear and see.

First Baptist Church Macomb Easter WorshipMacomb First Baptist Church Worships in New Building

The church's first worship services gathered Easter Sunday in their new building 1515 S. Candy Lane, Macomb, IL 61455

Missionaries GRR Promotes -
Executive Minister Offers Clarity


There have been recent questions regarding the support of ABC missionaries historically promoted by the Great Rivers Region (see the attached flyer as an example). 

In particular, I have gotten word that we are no longer promoting support for Kristy Engel – that is not true! We promote her support!

As I reflected on the possible source of such I rumor, I came to suspect that it is over the recently released list of “Special Interest Missionaries” by IM.  This list has its roots in ABWM, and is related to their mission education strategy.  It changes from year to year and the list of “special interest” missionaries selected by IM has nothing to do with the missionaries that the Great Rivers Region chooses to promote.

The Great Rivers Region continues to promote:

  1.  ABC Missionaries serving in Costa Rica, because of our covenant relationship with Baptists in Costa Rica (presently this includes Ruth Mooney and Sue Hegarty).
  2. ABC Missionaries that have come from GRR churches (presently this includes Scott & Tan Coats, Annie & Jeff Dieselberg, Kristy Engel, Katie & Taku Longkumer, and Becky & Larry Stanton).

While we encourage the support of ALL ABC missionaries, we have assumed a special role in promoting the financial support of these missionaries.  I am always happy to answer any such questions.

Dwight Stinnett
Executive Minister

Interim Executive Minister Announced

Friends in the Great Rivers Region –
The GRR Regional Ministry Board is pleased to announce that Rev. Dr. Larry Mason has accepted the offer to serve as our Interim Regional Executive Minister. Dr. Mason will begin 15 June. We all welcome Dr. Mason, and continue in prayer for our Executive Minister Search Committee under the leadership of Gerald Phillips.
Bonnie Cassida
President, ABC Great Rivers Region

Retiring Executive Minister Affirms GRR Board's Call

I add my “welcome” to Bonnie’s. Larry is a good friend and colleague. I am absolutely confident in his ability to keep a steady course through this brief, but turbulent season of transition.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, this is part-time. Larry will not be available 24/7.
  • His focus will be to maintain legal and administrative stability for the Region during this transition. His tenure is temporary. The regional covenant with Larry names December 2015 as the ending date. That is done with the full hope and anticipation that the work of the Executive Minister Search Committee will be finished by (or before) then.
  • Larry is prepared to negotiate an extension with the Board if that is necessary.

Larry and I will be working together closely to make this transition as smoothly as possible. I am happy to leave the Region in Larry’s capable hands.

Again, thank you for the privilege of having served you.JDS Signature



Area V ABCGRR Steps Toward Reconciliation

In the March 26 edition of the Mainstream Executive Minister of the ABCGRR reports on the steps taken before and during and prayer for the future reconciliation in the Greater St. Louis area. You may also find Dr. Stinnett's report with pictures on the home page of Area V.

Many others throughout the ABCGRR were praying for the gathering at St. Louis' Day Spring Baptist Church on March 14. These included sisters and brothers of Area I meeting for their Annual Gathering (also meeting on Saturday, March 14) at First Baptist Church of Ottawa IL. A special time of prayer was set aside by Area I leaders during their business meeting. After all, isn't working to be instruments of peace God's purpose for the Church?

Clergy Spouse Retreat 2015

“The Times…. They Are a-Changing”
with Rev. Muriel L. Johnson

April 24 - 25, Lake Springfield Baptist Camp
Download Brochure / Registration

For Your Calendars - An Update:

The Chateau of Bloomington ILThe Annual Assembly of the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region will be held Friday / Saturday, October 2, 3 in Bloomington, Illinois. We shall gather at The Chateau (formerly Jumers) Hotel and Conference Center. The Annual Minister's Conference will be held on Thursday, October 1 with guest presenter Jeffrey Jones. Further information and registration materials will be available late summer. (View/Download Keep Date Flyer)

Your GRR is pleased to offer the matching grant opportunities for both mission and interns during 2015.  Prayerfully discern if one of these might be appropriate for your church: Mission Grant | Intern Grant

Alternative Ministerial Education

Paul Maitland, Dean Alternative Ministerial EducationFrom Dwight Stinnett, Executive Minister, ABC GRR:
It is my sad duty to announce that Rev. Carl Cottingham, Dean of the GRR Alternative Ministerial Education (AME) program has retired (again!!!). 


Paul MaitlandBut it is also my happy privilege to announce that Dr. Paul Maitland has agreed to serve as the next Dean, beginning 15 February.

The Alternative Ministerial Education program (read more) ...

Medical Insurance Information and Options for Pastors / Churches

Since MMBB discontinued offering medical insurance through CIGNA and the piecemeal implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there has been a lot of confusion, misinformation, and continuing evolution in the field of medical insurance.  While not claiming to be experts in this, we share this information with the hope that you might find it helpful. (read more...)

Could Your Church - or Pastor - Survive a Tax Audit?

Could your church or non-profit organization survive an IRS audit? Many clergy and churches are asking this question today be-cause financial accountability in churches and religious organizations is such an important and timely topic. Many clergy are finding themselves facing IRS audits. It is imperative that those responsible for your organization’s finances have the information they need to protect your exempt status and your right to accept donations. (2 Brochures available: Importance of Church Accounting and Church Accountability. These are made available from Summit Tax Accounting (formerly Patterson Accounting).

Speakers' Presentations: GRR Annual 2014 Assembly

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Brian Romanowski on Gifford Habitat Rebuild

Don Ng (Friday & Saturday Worship)