About Our Church
We are excited that you are interested in Maranatha Baptist Church of Sebring. Please take a look at the articles shown on the right to learn more about our Pastors, history and doctrine.
MEET OUR PASTORS
Interim Pastor: Dr. Ernie Schmidt
Dr. Ernie Schmidt began serving as Interim Pastor in March of 2020. He was born and raised in north central Illinois where he was saved as a teenager. He graduated from Pillsbury Baptist Bible College then received his M. Div. from Central Baptist Theological Seminary. He enjoys both the roles of pastor and of teacher. He served as pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Lindstrom, MN, Chisago Lakes Baptist Church in Chisago, MN, Grace Baptist Church in Owatonna, MN, Bozeman Baptist Church in Bozeman, MT, Parkers Lake Baptist Church in Plymouth, MN, Sterling Baptist Church in Sterling, AK, and Community Baptist Church in Ankeny, IA. He taught at Pillsbury Baptist Bible College, Northland Baptist Bible College, and Faith Baptist Theological Seminary where he also served as Dean and then later as Interim President.
Ernie has also enjoyed teaching on site in the Bible lands. He led two tours to Greece and Turkey where he visited the sites of Paul’s second missionary journey and the seven churches of Revelation. He led 17 tours to Israel sometimes including Jordan and/or Egypt in the tours.
Ernie and his wife Gen enjoy reading and spending time with their two children and their spouses Cyndie (David) Mumford and John (Stacy) Schmidt. Their lives are enriched by their six grandchildren, one of whom is married.
Administrative Pastor: Rev. Dwight Turbett
Rev. Dwight Turbett has been involved in full-time and part-time ministry for over 40 years. His ministry began during his Bible College and Seminary training years in the areas of youth, music, and preaching. He was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America into a missionary family serving in Ecuador. Upon returning to the USA, his family settled in St. Cloud, MN. He was saved as a boy of 8 years at First Baptist Church of St. Cloud, MN. He was baptized by immersion shortly after and was brought into the membership of the church there.
After graduating from White Bear Lake High School he attended Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (1965-1969). Then he attended Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Minneapolis (1969-1974). From 1974 until the present, his ministry experience has included the Pastoral Ministry, Assistant Pastor, School Administrator, and doing Interim Pastoral Work.
Dwight and his wife of 50 years, Cheryl, have 3 grown children and 10 delightful grandchildren. Their two daughters are involved in church ministry. One is a pastor’s wife. One is a Christian School teacher. Their son is in Law Enforcement. All three of the families live in Michigan.
Dwight and Cheryl came to Maranatha village and Maranatha Baptist Church in June of 2018. Dwight serves as Administrative Pastor.
Associate Pastor: Dr. Carl Barton
Carl Barton serves as part-time associate pastor with his main responsibility being visitation. Barton was born in Nauvoo, Alabama in 1941. He married Selma Anderson Barton of Miami, Florida. They have three daughters.
Pastor Barton is retired from missionary work having lived in Liberia, West Africa, Australia, Zimbabwe, and before his retirement he worked in the US. All of his years of ministry were with Baptist Mid-Missions, Cleveland, Ohio.
Pastor Barton has a B.A. from Tennessee Temple University, a M.R.E from Temple Baptist Seminary and a D.Min from Luther Rice Seminary.
He very much enjoys his ministry with Maranatha Baptist Church.
HISTORY OF MARANATHA BAPTIST CHURCH
On March 26, 1976 a group of 20 people, residents of MARANATHA VILLAGE, met in the village office to consider starting a church. The first services occurred on October 31, 1976 with a morning attendance of 33 and 38 in the evening. After the adoption of the Church Covenant, Articles of Faith and Constituton, 47 charter members officially become MARANATHA BAPTIST CHURCH on December 1, 1976. Later, a recognition council acted "...to acknowledge Maranatha Baptist Church as an independent Baptist Church". The church was subsequently received into the Sunshine Baptist Fellowship and the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (www.garbc.org).
Maranatha Baptist Church has maintained a deep love for missions and missionaries. A current annual missions budget of $183,000 supports 74 missionaries and agencies. In 1978 the church helped establish Spring Lake Baptist Church, and in 1984 helped to start the Sebring Baptist Tabernacle in Sebring (now Bethany Baptist Church of Avon Park.) Outreach continues in many other ways: Mailbox Ministries, Spanish Bible classes, services at area care centers, jail services, pulpit supply, tract writing and distribution, Sunday preaching in local communities, Spanish Literature production, musical concerts, and service on various mission boards.
In the summer of 2000, the church voted to reopen the "Sunshine Lodge" an assisted-living facility formerly operated by Maranatha Village, renaming it as "Maranatha Manor." People rallied generously with time, labor and gifts to fulfill this vision.
Today our folk represent a rich mix of backgrounds, occupations and professions. All have served the Lord with distinction either in secular jobs and through local churches or in full time Christian service. Those who have been in full time service include missionaries, pastors, pastors' wives, educators, chaplains, and mission board administrators.
A motto that reflects the personality of Maranatha Baptist Church is: "Helping one another 'til Jesus comes!" It expresses the spontaneous loving care and selfless service regularly showered upon one another, as well as the joyful anticipation of the sound of the trumpet that will accompany our entrance into the presence of the Lord!
ARTICLES OF FAITH
The Scriptures: We believe that the Holy Bible, as originally written, was verbally and plenarily inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men; therefore, it is truth without any admixture of error for its matter. We believe the Bible to be the center of true Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds and opinions shall be tried. (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21)
The True God: We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite, sovereign Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all honor, confidence and love. We believe that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. (Exodus 20:2-3; I Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11)
Jesus Christ: We believe in the absolute deity of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; that He was divine as no other man can be, being very God of very God, existing from all eternity co-equal with the Father and the Spirit; that He never ceased to be God for one instant and that His humiliation did not consist in laying aside His deity; that as a man He was miraculously begotten of the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary. (John 1:1-2; I John 5:20; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26-38)
Holy Spirit: We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the new birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. The gifts of tongues and healing were "sign gifts" until the Scriptures were completed. The gifts ceased at that time. (John 14:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 14:26; Luke 1:35; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5-6; Ephesians 1:13-14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:49; Romans 8:14,16,26,27; 15:19; Hebrews 2:4; I Corinthians 13:8)
Creation: We believe the Genesis account of creation as being neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man (spirit, soul and body) was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race. We believe that the days of creation in Genesis were literal 24 hour days. (Genesis 1 and 2; Colossians 1:16-17; John 1:3).
The Fall of Man: We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker. By voluntary transgression, Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, and all men sinned in him, in consequence of which all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam's fallen nature, and are sinners by nature and by conduct. Therefore all men are under just condemnation without defense or excuse. (Genesis 3:1-16, 24; Romans 1:18,32; 3:10-19; 5:12,19).
The Virgin Birth: We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God and God the Son. (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14); Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Hebrews 1:8).
Reconciliation for Sin: We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatory offices of the Son of God who, by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, honored the law by His personal obedience and by His death made a full and vicarious reconciliation for our sins. We believe His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner's place, the just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord bearing our sin in His own body on the tree. (Jonah 2:9; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24-25; John 3:16; Matthews 18:11; Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 2:14; Isaiah 53:4-7; 1 John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 11 Corinthians 5:21).