GRR Annual Gathering - October 2 - 3

Speakers and Location announced | Download Registration Form

or, Register Online

Father and Son at altarLighting More Than a Candle

His father assists him in lighting the candles at the altar as their church, First Baptist of Macomb, gathers to worship. As the father and church have given him the opportunity to serve - as they have his older brothers - more than a candle gets lit and starts to light up. "Train up a child in the way he should go..."

Macomb First Baptist Church invites you to the dedication worship service of the new sanctuary that God has blessed them with. Put September 20 on your calendar and join in at 3:00 p.m.

So Worth It!?!!!!

To be exhausted. To go from very humid mid-90s then to drop to about 58 degrees. To be surrounded by 106 junior highers for a week.

What's it worth?

35 children making decisions to follow or recommit to following Christ and loving one another. That's what happened at Lake Springfield Baptist Camp last week (Week of July 5). Decisions and discipleship of children, youth, and adults (counselors and directors grow, too).

What's it worth?

For Pastor Pat Embley of FBC Graymont it was to come back from that week and preach with renewed energies partly given him by personal statements of the youth from Graymont who were with him last week. Perhaps this is what gave him the energy to help out in Vacation Bible School Graymont VBS Worship Service Kickoff 2015where 65 plus are expected each day this week --- all this is very much worth it.

What's Camping worth? Lives changed ready to go back home and discover God's love through His Church. What's VBS worth?

Pray. Send children and youth to camp - if not this year? Next! Give a gift. God's gifts of Lake Springfield and Blackhawk Camps are SO WORTH IT! Invite the Directors of the Camps to speak at your church. SO WORTH IT!!!

Introverted Evangelist?

Not as oxymoronic as you may think. Read more.

MMBB Retirement Seminar

Reserve October 14. More news soon!

Larry Mason, Interim Executive MinisterInterim Executive Minister, Dr. Larry Mason

Larry began his service to the Great Rivers June 1. Following a month of former Executive Dwight Stinnett's transition, as of July 1 he is now committing 20 hours per week to this calling per the contract the GRR Board of Managers negotiated with him. To reach him at the GRR office: (217) 726 - 7366 or

GRR Staff 2015 Link to Area III Page Area III Link Area I Link Area II Link Area II Link Area IV Link Area IV Link Area V Link Area V Link link to more on Larry Mason link to abc-usa






His focus will be to maintain legal and administrative stability for the GRR during his temporary tenure. He will not be available 24/7. The Board of Ministries hopes to have a new full time Executive on board by December when Larry's contract ends.

Read about his journey in the latest edition of the Mainstream.


2015 Ministers Conference: New Hope of Faithful Churches with Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Jones

Jeffrey JonesRegistration is now open (download and mail in; or, online) for this continuing event for ministerial church leaders. The seminar is scheduled for Thursday, October 1 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at The Chateau Bloomington (Illinois) Hotel and Conference Center.

Seminar fee includes a copy of "facing decline, Finding Hope: New Possibilities for Faithful Churches," Jones' most recent book.

North Bridge Baptist Hosts Ordination Council for Pastor Michael Sloan

Pastor Michael SloanOn Sunday, June 7, the church hosted a council to examine their pastor, Michael Sloan (at left; Tim Smith at right), in regard to the congregation's call for his ordination. Pastor Jim Wolfe (Pontiac First Baptist Church), served as chairperson of the council. Other council participants were Steve Anderson (Sr. Pastor, Fairbury First Baptist Church), Harry Sanders (Area III Assistant Area Minister), Shai Nyi (M.D. Pontiac First Baptist Church), Russell Zehr (El Paso First Baptist Church music minister), Adam Davis (Sr. Pastor, Bloomington First Baptist Church), Janice Hazekamp (retired ISU ABC campus minister and hosting church advocate for Michael), Tim Smith (Pastor, El Paso First Baptist Church) and his wife Val Smith (teacher; member of El Paso First Baptist Church), and Richard Ricks (GRR Regional Associate Minister serving Area III). The church is scheduling a worship service of ordination to be held on August 23.

First Baptist Aurora has invited their neighboring ABC churches to help compose an ordination council to interview their Associate Pastor John Withum. The council is scheduled to convene at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 20. The council will meet in the church building. Contact the church for more information.

Board of Ministry Announces GRR Staffing Changes

As a result of Regional Ministry Board action on Monday, May 18, Dwight Stinnett (retiring in June) is pleased to report that our staffing arrangements for 2015 (and in to 2016) have been completed...changes will be effective 1 June and will last only 12 months.  It is assumed that the next Regional Executive Minister will be able to design their own staffing plan by that time. (Changes | Staffing Chart)

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

Alternative Ministerial Education

Paul Maitland Dr. Paul Maitland serves as the new Dean of the Alternative Ministerial Education Program. He began 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

Posted as processed per requests.

Brian Romanowski on Gifford Habitat Rebuild

Don Ng (Friday & Saturday Worship)