From the inception of Religious Affections Ministries, I wanted to do everything I could to make sure that I and this ministry were accountable to a local church first and foremost, and to other wise and godly men as well. I desired this both because I didn’t want this ministry to turn into a completely disconnected para-church organization, and because I knew that accountability – philosophically, spiritual, and financially – was critical, especially with folks donating funds on a regular basis.
Over the past few months, I have gathered a group of godly, wise, like-minded men who have graciously agreed to serve as a board of directors for Religious Affections Ministries. Each of these men were among those who strongly encouraged me to start this ministry in the first place, and even before officially serving on the board of directors, each of these men have given me helpful counsel in a number of matters.
This past Tuesday we had our first meeting of the Board, and I am even more excited about what they bring to the table for this ministry!
I want to introduce each of them to you so you will know even better how this organization functions.
Pastor Stiekes is the pastor of our home church. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit over the past year through some mutual friends, and very quickly I discerned that we were on exactly the same page in terms of worship, music, culture, and an understanding of the Church. When we moved down to South Carolina, our first stop in search for a church was Bethany Bible Church, and we haven’t looked back since. In November of 2008 we joined Bethany, and now we’re serving in whatever capacity we can. I’ve recently begun helping with the planning of worship services, and we look forward to growing with this church body. I and this ministry are personally accountable to Pastor Stiekes; we meet regularly to discuss philosophy, ministry direction, and financial matters.
About a year after I began to really formulate the biblical ideas about music and worship that have now become strong convictions, I ran into some writings by Kevin Bauder. Very quickly I realized that here was another man articulating things that I was coming to understand, and he had years of study, experience, and wisdom behind him! Since then I’ve grown to greatly appreciate Kevin’s insights and understanding in a variety of issues, and he has always sharpened my thinking. Through speaking together at a few conferences, and having him speak at our own church conference in Rockford, I’ve been privileged to get to know Kevin better, and can now count him a friend. Kevin has been very encouraging in the startup of this ministry, and his counsel is always helpful.
Pastor Harding was my pastor from sixth grade through college. He has had a significant influence on me theologically, and his recognized voice on issues of music philosophy have also impacted my thinking. In particular, Pastor Harding has always founded his music philosophy on solid biblical and theological grounds, particularly in what the Bible has to say about the beauty of God. Perhaps no one has been more of a support to me over the years, and I’m thrilled to have Pastor Harding as part of the board.
Pastor Allen is the Music Pastor at the church where I grew up, and parallel to the theological influences of Pastor Harding, Pastor Allen has impacted me greatly in areas of church music and a high standard of excellence. A skilled musician and a humble Christian, Pastor Allen’s life and practice not only provide an example to me personally, but will also be invaluable in setting the direction for this ministry.
I served with Pastor Williquette for five years at First Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. It was Pastor Williquette’s encouragement and the freedom he gave me to research and write while I was there that allowed me the time and resources to develop much of the material that serves as the foundation of this ministry. First Baptist was a “lab” for the practical outworking of my philosophy, the perfect “average” congregation to teach and work with in these areas. Pastor Williquette and First Baptist have also been huge supporters of this ministry, providing significant financial resources and encouragement during its development.
I’ve known Mike since early high school, but it wasn’t until college that we really connected, mostly because of our shared interest in all things theological and philosophical. We’ve grown to be good friends, Mike serving as the best man in my wedding, and I serving in the same capacity this summer when he marries. Mike is truly one of the most careful, intellectual thinkers I know. I can always count on him to offer reasoned criticism of an idea or careful articulation of convictions we share. His friendship, along with these strengths, have been and will be great helps for this ministry.
I met Pastor Roth several years ago while attending a music conference, and very quickly saw in him a shared philosophy, conviction, and a humility I need. As I’ve gotten to know Pastor Roth and his ministry better, I am always impressed by the thoughtfulness and deliberateness he manifests as he plans the worship and music in his church. His practical insights and hours of careful thought will be a valuable help to the vision of this ministry.
I knew Dave Fassett when we were both members of First Baptist Church in Troy, MI, but when he was transferred to the Chicago area and joined First Baptist Church of Rockford, IL, I was able to get to know him and his family more personally. Dave is a hard-working, intelligent, wise, and humble Christian. Each of these qualities will be invaluable for setting the direction of this ministry, not to mention his keen understanding of business matters and finance. Dave has already been a great help in thinking through the financial future of this ministry, and I know he will be a great help as we move forward.
I am thrilled and humbled that each of these men has agreed to serve on the Board of Directors of Religious Affections Ministries. And it is not that they have just “agreed” — each one is enthusiastically in support of what we’re doing and excited about how this ministry can serve Christ’s Church. I thank the Lord for each one.