6899 Scottsville Navilleton Rd
Floyds Knobs, IN 47119

Churches and Ministries - Missions - Youth Camp - Conferences - BPH - Leadership - Doctrine - History - Doc Varnell

Rev John Wongler and Rev Dave Matthews, Host Pastors
April 22-25, 2020
"Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!
That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives..." (Job 19:23)

This year's BMA Spring Conference looks to be one of the most unique, interesting and maybe inspirational conferences we have ever had. At first glance, I'm sure you can tell that this conference is about writing. (Yes, I know I spelled "writing" wrong up above...that is one of the central issues of this art, speling correctly. You absolutely must catch words spelled incorrectly! My attempt to insert a little levity into the discussion.) This conference might go over big, and it might not. As with all our conferences, however, it is our hope to honor and glorify the Lord first. Come help us do that, please.

The central thought of the conference is an attempt to emphasize what we do every week as ministers...communicate. Most of you have used your skills in preaching, teaching and testifying for years, even decades. We learned how to do it by going to school, by learning our skills from others before us, and frankly, by doing it over and over again. The years and years of doing this has made most of us very skilled communicators. Our hope in this conference is to introduce to you ways to translate those communication skills into writing about them. Many among us have done so, and I think the rest of us can learn from them.

Each of our evening meetings will begin with praise and worship to our Lord. We want to follow this with a session led by a very close friend of mine, Retired Air Force Colonel Doug Dildy, who is an accomplished author. His primary efforts have been in writing about military history. However, when he described to me his latest research for his next literary work, the topic of the Centurions of the New Testament, I felt a real leading from the Lord to feature him in a conference where he could share his skills and probably inspire each of us as ministers. Doug's testimony will touch you. His communication skills will inspire you. His stories as he tells them will give you pause to consider the lessons the New Testament teaches us about these soldiers' lives.

After each of Doug's evening introductions to each different story of these soldier's connection with Jesus, we will feature one of our own BMA ministers to take the story and apply Biblical doctrine and teaching from their lives to ours. I think you might be truly blessed by each of these sessions.

Each morning, we will feature those among us who have already launched out into this sometimes-intimidating branch of ministry. We will feature Pastor Steve Schwambach, our own published author among us, who has truly experienced the complete success of not only coming up with things to write about, but put them on paper to completion, promoted the product and seen it through to professional publishing. I have asked a lady from my Sunday School class in New Albany to speak to us on her approach to writing Christian Romance Novels. I suspect that her abilities and experience may show us some things we have never seen about writing and ministry. JoAnn Durgan does this for a living...she makes a living writing, promoting and publishing her stories. She will inspire many of us trying to do the same thing. Rev Jose Rodriguez is actively involved in full time ministry but still found time to come up with his first novel. I suspect that he will represent the "I can do this" approach that many of us think cannot exist in our own lives. Rev Kevin Horath has taken his teachings at Hillside Bethel Tabernacle and incorporated them into teaching books. He is the best example of what I feel all of us can become. I know Kevin will inspire you to follow his example. Lastly, Rev Keenan Smith is our "celebrity" pastor who is in the process. He is in the process of putting together so much of his testimony and translating it into printed words. We want him to share with us how that is happening, what some of the joys and sorrows of the experience are and what he sees as the future of this endevor. I know his testimony will again inspire you.

In the afternoons of this conference we will hold our Board Meeting and Membership Meeting on Thursday as well as work on the camp grounds both Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons. We have two power-packed weeks of Youth Conferences planned for our kids and teens in June and July that need to be prepared for. (There's that preposition you don't end your sentence with.) We have always believed and applied the Scripture that whatever our hand finds to do, we will do it with all of our might. There is LOTS of work to do in preparation for our Conference season. We hope you will stay here with us and help us work on the grounds as well as fellowship and enjoy the teaching of our ministers. However much you can join us, we know that this conference has the potential to change your life. We hope you will pray about it, come join us and see what comes to pass for you!

God bless and see you there.
Rev Dave Matthews

Click here after April to see photos from the conference

Click on any of the sessions below to view message on YouTube (After April)
Any of these sessions can be ordered by emailing Dave at
Wednesday Night Service
April 22, 6:30pm

"The Centurion at Capernaum"
Matt 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10

Colonel Doug Dildy, USAF, Retired
Retired Airline Pilot for Federal Express
    Colonel Doug Dildy is a personal friend of Rev Dave Matthews. They served together at Vance AFB, OK in the late 1970s.
     Doug retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 1997 after having flown the T-38 and F-15, having ultimately served as a Vice Wing Commander. Doug graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1974. Over the years he has been a published author of many books, particularly in the area of Military History.
     After retirement from the Air Force, Doug flew around the world for FedEx. He is a prolific writer, artist and accomplished "teller of tales." Doug's latest avenue of research is in preparation for his book on "The Centurions of the New Testament." Listening to Doug describe his vision for this latest book, I knew that we would richly benefit by hearing his testimony, his experiences with writing and his findings from his research into this area of the Bible. Knowing that several of us have started our own foray into the world of writing, I knew that we would certainly benefit from his lessons learned and maybe apply some of them to our own experiences in writing.
Click on this link to see scores of books written by Col Dildy
"Faith and Authority"
Matt 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10
Pastor John Wongler
Senior Pastor, Hatfield Bethel Church
    Pastor John will use the theme and verses historically introduced by Colonel Dildy to expose us to the Scriptural basis for what Jesus was saying regarding such a great faith and the authority with which the Centurion demonstrated it. Hatfield Bethel Church, Hatfield, IN
Thursday April 23, 10am
Session 1

Pastor Steve Schwambach
Pastor, 1on1 Church, Evansville, IN

"Our First Author"
    Rev Steve Schwambach is no doubt our most "published" author in the BMA. He and his wife Judy have been counseling married couples for decades now and Steve...never one to shy away from any perceived challenge no matter how difficult it might seem...has produced several books on Christian marital counseling. His latest self-appointed challenge is to try the Action Novel genre. It is very possible that we have among us the next Christian "Tom Clancy" writer with his latest novel, "Hi Cat." "Hi-Cat", An Action Thriller
Thursday Session 2, 11am

JoAnn Durgin
Graceland Baptist Church

"Christian Romance Novels"
     JoAnn Durgin is a member of my Sunday School class at Graceland Baptist Church. She is a prolific writer in the Christian romance novel genre. Having written over 35 novels, she is the author of the beloved contemporary Christian romance series, The Lewis Legacy Series, including Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other novels include Catching Serenity, Heart's Design (the forerunner of Gentle Like the Rain), Love So Amazing and Love So Divine (The Wondrous Love Series, Books 1 and 2), Perchance to Dream, Echoes of Edinburgh, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series.
     I'm not a fan of romance novels. However, I know that as JoAnn does this for a living, she can bring a unique perspective to us about this approach to writing. She can answer many publishing questions that most of us have never thought to advertise your book, how to sell them online (the method she prefers), how the endeavor can be profitable and still, very much, a ministry. You will enjoy her perspective. My mom loves her novels.
Look at all the books JoAnn has authored!
Thursday, 1:30-4:30
Work Projects at Camp: Sweep floors, clean mattresses, wash windows, paint buildings, Paint posts on tabernacle, clean kitchen, clean all bathrooms, benches in tabernacle
1:30pm, Board of Directors Meeting
3pm, Membership Meeting
5pm, Dinner in Lynnville
Bored Meetings
Need I say more?
Thursday Night Service
April 23, 6:30pm

"The Centurion at the Cross"
Matt 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47

Colonel Doug Dildy, USAF, Retired
Retired Airline Pilot for Federal Express
     I am also extremely interested that, by sharing his experiences and the experiences of several among us who are already writing, we might inspire others of our pastors and teachers to take on the challenge of writing. Many of our ministers in the BMA have been "telling stories" for forty to sixty years.
     Though seemingly daunting in its assignment, I cannot help but think how many lives might be touched if many of those sermons of the past were shared in writing with those who will follow us. There are actually ways to take our sermons, lessons and speeches and have them translated for us into books...several of our speakers will share how that can be done. My hope is that by sharing the "how", the "why", the "how much" and the "what" of translating our ideas and thoughts to the written medium, this conference will inspire several others to write their stories too.

Click on this link to see scores of books written by Col Dildy
"Beater to Believer"
Matt 27:54; Mark 15:39; Luke 23:47
Pastor Steve Owens
Senior Pastor, Full Gospel Evangelistic Center, Lincoln, IL
    Pastor Steve will use the theme and verses historically introduced by Colonel Dildy to expose us to the Scriptural basis for what Jesus observed at the foot of the cross and the faith that the Centurion demonstrated. Full Gospel Evangelistic Center
Friday April 24, 9:30am
Session 1

Pastor Jose Rodriguez
Pastor/International Field Director
Global Grace Ministries

"First Novels"
    Our own Rev Jose Rodriguez recently completed his novel, "The Way Up." Jose represents the perspective of author among us who is "new" to writing, but has actually finished a novel. He served in pastoral ministry and military chaplaincy for us for over forty years. He and Sandy attended IBC back in the 70s. He retired from the Army in 2012 as a Lieutenant Colonel and currently is serving as International Field Director for Global Grace Fellowship, a missions sending agency in California.
     He has written numerous articles on a variety of subjects and appeared on a number of radio and television programs. It will be very interesting to hear Jose's perspective on the why, how, when and where of accomplishing a unique task.

"The Way Up", A Novel
Friday Session 2, 10:30

Rev Kevin Horath
Assistant Pastor, Hillside Bethel Tabernacle, Decatur, IL

"Teaching Novels"
    Rev Kevin Horath will most likely demonstrate the type of author I know that many of us can be. His books spring from his preaching and teaching. They are instructional as well as good reading. They are tools for teaching as much as they are inspirations to higher living. Kevin will be very instructional to us regarding operating in the self-publishing world.
    He will also be very valuable to teach us how to get into sharing our thoughts and testimony in writing, no matter how few you think your skills are and no matter how little time you think you have for it. I'm sure as a practicing minister and a vice president for a large company, Kevin will tell us how to manage time to fit this potentially, very important part of life into it. I'm having a hard time reading "El Factor Burrito" but it sounds delicious.

The Factor
Friday Session 3, 11:30

Rev Keenan Smith
Pastor, Crosby Church
Crosby, TX

"Budding Writers - Newcomers"
    Rev Keenan Smith is better known for breaking blocks of ice and blowing up water bottles than he is writing a book. However, he has pushed out there and "given it a go."
    I want Keenan to tell us about the frustrations of trying to do this, the troubles making time for this while pastoring a big church, the fears of accomplishment and acceptance of what he is trying to do. I bet most of you didn't even know Keenan was trying this. But his fearless example might just prove to be an inspiration to all of us.

Crosby Church
Friday, 1:30-4:30
Work Projects at Camp: Sweep floors, clean mattresses, wash windows, paint buildings, Paint posts on tabernacle, clean kitchen, clean all bathrooms, benches in tabernacle
We plan to use this time at the conference center to clean up camp, paint, repair things and maybe even do some roofing. Why don't you come join us as we prepare for our kids to come to 2020 Camp programs?
5pm, Dinner in Dale
Friday Night Service
April 24, 6:30pm

"The Centurions of Acts - Cornelius and Julius"
Acts 10:1-48; Acts 27:1-44; Act 28:16-31

Colonel Doug Dildy, USAF, Retired
Retired Airline Pilot for Federal Express
    The third in our series of studies on centurions of the New Testament focuses on the book of Acts. These soldiers were put in charge of not only keeping Paul under guard, they were also in charge of insuring his safety. Doug will share with us how their duties affected their faith.
Click on this link to see scores of books written by Col Dildy
"Can a Soldier be a Christian?"
Acts 10:1-48; Acts 27:1-44; Act 28:16-31
Rev Dave Matthews
Secretary, BMA
    I hope to also use the theme and verses historically introduced by Colonel Dildy to expose us to the Scriptural basis for what Paul observed as he was held prisoner at the end of his life and ministry.
    I grew up in the BMA. At age 18, I left home to attend the Air Force Academy and then become an officer in the US Air Force. Along with Doug and Jose, I think I can help share some perspective on what it was I think Jesus and Paul saw in the lives of soldiers in their time. Together, we will see if we can make that perspective interesting to you.

The History of the Bethel Ministerial Association

For last year's conference at the Conference Center, take a look at 2019 Spring Conference