2009-11-01 / News


New pastor marks new beginning for Chesaning church
By Hillary Grigonis Staff Reporter

CHESANING – Clayton Beck expected to spend the rest of his life as a missionary in the Central American country of Belize—but instead was lead to a different missionary field: Michigan.

“Over the course of time that we were [in Belize], there was one missionary for every 800 people,” he said. “[In this area,] there is a church for every 20,000 people. Its amazing— America has become a mission field.”

Pastor Clayton Beck has initiated a new beginning for a Chesaning church, formerly the Village Baptist Church. Beck will lead the grand opening service for Chesaning Bible Baptist Church at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8. Worship services will continue every Sunday at 2:30 p.m., followed by a bible study at 4 p.m. as well as bible studies on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m.

The new Sunday service time, Beck said, will allow many people otherwise unable to attend a service to have the opportunity to be a part of a church.

“What I want people to understand is that everyone is welcome and our whole goal is to love God and love people,” he said. “If people are looking for a place to love God, love people and be loved, we hope they will find that place here.”

Beck spent two years as a missionary in Belize, working on three projects including building one village’s first church. He returned in February of 2005 and leading a church in Merrill a few months later. Beck will continue to lead the Merrill Bible Baptist Church through morning services.

“I have a missionary’s heart, but we cannot forget our backyard,” he said, “because there is truly a need.”

Beck laughed when he said that, as a fan of warm weather, he was looking to head to San Diego, Calif. before he was lead to Michigan. “A lot of people have given up on Michigan…Clearly, God has not. There are great people here,” he said. “Our God can take care of us and provide.”

“I have complete peace that this is where I am supposed to be,” he said.

Beck began the thought of leading a church in the area when he and his wife, Rebekah, honeymooned in Chesaning. After returning from Belize, they decided to lead the church in Merrill because a Baptist church was already serving Chesaning. “Its kind of funny how God brings things full circle,” he said.

Beck plans to build a core youth group within the church, lead by the new youth pastor Josh Smith. The goal, Beck said, is to grow into offering ministry “all the time,” possibly in the form of a new multi-purpose building.

Beck, his wife and four children Anna, Isaac, Jericho and Bethany, along with Smith and his wife Sarah, will be introduced during the grand opening ceremony. The service, Beck said, will also include special music and a welcoming “get-toknow you” atmosphere.

“Because of the change in service time and new pastor, we are almost treating this in a new church sense, a new beginning,” Beck said. “We are looking forward to seeing what God will do with it.”

The Chesaning Bible Baptist Church is located at 811 South Main Street in Chesaning. For more information, call (989) 845-6077.

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