Jesus said this, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). The leaders of RBC joyfully recognize that Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. We earnestly endeavor to follow His example, obey His teachings, and lead RBC into doing the same.
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We believe in qualified leadershipThe Bible sets forth qualifications for those who would hold the office of pastor (elder) and deacon in the church (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5). Motives and character matter. Those who would be spiritual leaders at RBC must meet these criteria.
We believe in plural leadershipChrist's apostles taught, by example and command, a plural form of church government. In other words, the Bible teaches that church leadership is shared among a number of men (Acts 11:30; 14:21-23; 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4; 20:17, 28; 21:18; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim 5:17; Tit. 1:4-5; James 5:14; 1 Peter 1:1-2 w/ 5:1-5).
We believe in male leadershipAlthough this last point is greatly contested today, we believe that church leadership is designed by God to be male leadership, as taught and modeled by Jesus and His apostles. Men and women are both made in the image of God. Men and women are equal in personhood, dignity, and value, but are distinct in their God-given roles. We believe that the male leadership of the family (Ephesians 5:22-32; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:1-5) is also meant to be exercised in the church (Luke. 6:12-16; Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:8-15). Therefore, we only have biblically qualified men serving as pastors (elders) and deacons.
I’m a sinner saved by the grace of God. I do not want to glorify my time spent in sin and reminisce over those years. It is sufficient to say that I was enslaved to drugs and that I was a blasphemer. I was one of the obvious bad guys. No one doubted where I would go if I died. I deserved nothing but wrath and condemnation, but God extended an amazing amount of mercy and grace to me, even though I resisted Him with all I had. Thankfully He is more powerful than I am. He delivered me from my sin and brought me into His glorious light. I am forever thankful for the cross of Jesus Christ!
Now, many years later, I am privileged to serve as one of the pastors at Reformed Baptist Church of Kalamazoo. While I take this responsibility very seriously, knowing that I will have to give an account to God for people’s souls, I thoroughly enjoy serving alongside the leadership and the people of this church. Their love and humility are so genuine. I have learned so much from the people here. They have made it a joy to shepherd this church. I wholeheartedly agree with Paul who wrote, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5).
Don Tinney’s Testimony
“Playing the game” best summarizes the first 38 years of my life. In all areas of life, I just tried to figure out the dynamics of getting people and things to work to my advantage, trying to secure the “blessings” by conforming my external behavior to match what I believed God and others expected. Give them what they want to get what I want was my formula, and it seemed to work well. I got good grades, awards, special opportunities, my own company, a lake house, new cars, new clothes and lot’s of toys. I thought I had it all figured out. I was pretty smart, in my own estimation and probably in the eyes of many of my peers. I had worked constantly to maintain the outward appearance of a successful person, but inside, I was empty and miserable.
In 1990, God graciously allowed me to see myself from His vantage point. My life, in its entirety, was offensive to Him. I called myself a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, but had little interest in truly following Him. Such hypocrisy! He wanted a loyal, completely devoted, Christ-centered follower. I was a self-centered manipulator, obsessed with my own gratification and advancement. But God did something in that awareness. He changed my heart and gave me an intense desire to know Him and serve Him. I responded and told Him I would give everything up to have Him, so on that day, August 10, 1990, He saved me. He delivered me out of a dark, empty, worthless existence into a life with eternal value and purpose – His purpose. And He continues to deliver me – molding, shaping and transforming me into a steadfast, faithful, holy follower – progressively removing the selfishness and those things that are offensive from my life. I now follow by faith, trusting in the grace supplied by His Spirit and looking forward to the day I will see Jesus face to face in His heavenly, eternal kingdom. To Him be praise and glory forever.
Josh Armstrong’s Testimony
There are 4 words I will forever stand in amazement at: Christ died for ME. For as long as I can remember, I always believed there was a higher being “out there” watching, listening, taking notes of my life. And I always believed He was happy with what He saw and heard. I had my bad days where I said the wrong thing or broke some rule in my house. But mostly, I felt I lived up to God’s standard. My parents divorced when I was young and my mom re-married when I was 5. Yet my family life was pretty normal. I was happy.
And yet God described me this way: “… unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice…envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness… gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Romans 1)
That was me. And yet in the Lord’s kindness, through my mom’s invitation, when I was 14 years old He led me to a church where I learned that all this time I’d really been living for myself, craving attention and love from this world. I was a sinner deserving of the just and holy wrath of God. Yet Christ died for ME to wash away my sin against Him and place me not where I deserve (hell), but adopt me into His family, declaring me guilty no more. God granted me faith to believe and my life now belongs to Him.
Christ not only blessed me in Christ, but He continued to show off His grace in giving me a loving wife (Janelle) and three kids (Katy, Titus, Anna). He has also amazed me in calling me to now care for HIS family here at Reformed Baptist Church, a responsibility that humbles me and brings me great joy. I greatly respect the men on the eldership team and am excited to partner with them in equipping the saints to treasure Christ, grow in Christ, and proclaim Christ.