In this edition:
  • Dr. Mac's Minute:   The More Excellent Way . . . Gives Value to Our Spiritual Gifts
  • DBC to host two pastor/wife retreats in September
  • Baker Offering celebrates what God is doing in, through, and around the Dakotas
Around the Dakotas:
  • Oklahoma Native America church partners with South Dakota churches
  • Sporting Christ in the Dakotas: First Baptist—Miller, SD
  • Western Way burns note
  • Church plant hosts community for lunch
Celebrating Church Planting... Dakotas style:
  1. Celebrating what God is doing in Custer
  2. Getting involved in church planting
Around the SBC:
  • CP story: Guillermo & Claudia Hernandez
   The More Excellent Way . . . Gives Value to Our Spiritual Gifts

Passage: 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Focus: If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” (v. 3)

Ask 100 Christians who are to any degree Bible literate where to go in the Bible to learn about love. Most will immediately turn to Paul’s first letter to the believers at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter. It is preached that way from the pulpit. It is quoted as young men and women declare their commitment to each other at the marriage altar. But there is much more here to take in than can be grasped in a single sermon or a brief wedding ceremony.

1 Corinthians 13 is not an isolated discussion on the nature and practice of true love. And, while it has some appropriate application for couples, it was not intended as a romantic passage. Generally, it is the centerpiece to Paul’s challenge to the misbehavior and bad attitudes of a church to which he had devoted a year and a half of his life (Acts 18:11). More specifically, it is the meat of his critique and correction of their misuse of their spiritual gifts (chapters 12 and 14). It serves as a roadmap, or what he called “a still more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31), back to the path they once walked. Over the next few months, we will work through the thirteen verses of this chapter. In them Paul shares four practical things that agape love does. 

In the first three verses, Paul reminds his friends that agape love gives value to our spiritual gifts. In chapters twelve and fourteen the apostle had beautifully described how each Corinthian believer was gifted in some way that was necessary to the entire body. He discussed various specific gifts, how they were to be used, and that without proper yielding to the Spirt how they were being abused. 

With all the different gifts and the different ways those gifts functioned in the body, it is easy to see how a church could get off the right path. More prominent gifts could be (and were) more highly valued. Those whose gifts brought less attention did not sense their importance. 

Corinth had become like the modern pro football team where a quarterback makes $30-40 million per year (some in excess of $50 million!), while an offensive lineman might earn just above league minimum. The QB is seen (and treated) as the most important player on the team. Without the tackle or guard, however, he will spend more time scrambling for his life than throwing touchdown passes. A lineman’s blocking might not make the highlight reel, but what he does adds great value to what the QB does. A wise QB regularly appreciates and honors the five 300+ pound men that make his work possible.

What gives value to our Spirit-given gifts within the body of Christ? Paul says it is that “still more excellent way.” It is agape love. In fact, he claims that without love, our gifts lack any real value. Our words become screeching noise. Our knowledge is useless. Our acts of sacrifice are self-serving rather than Christ-exalting.

Ever wondered why is this so? Quickly read 1 John 4:7-12. John highlights three things about agape love. It is God’s nature, it is God’s example, and it is God’s command. Considering who God is and what He has done for us, what else can we do but reflect that self-sacrificing, Christ-exalting love on others, “especially those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Love makes serving Jesus worthwhile. Therefore, exercise your gifts from a heart of agape love.
DBC to host two pastor/wife retreats in September

DBC pastors and wives are invited to attend one of two retreats in September. The first retreat will be September 8-10 at First Baptist Church in Mandan, ND. The second will be September 22-24 at Capitol Heights Baptist Church in Pierre. Each pastor is also invited to bring a key leader and his wife. 

Each retreat will feature a guest preacher for the two evening worship sessions, morning workshops that focus on evangelism, and several hours of free time on Friday afternoon. Each retreat will begin with registration and fellowship from 3:00-5:00 on Thursday and finish with lunch on Saturday.

Mike Proud, the executive director for the Colorado Baptist Convention will preach at the North Dakota retreat. Jaz & Breanna Terzic from Connection Church in Sioux Falls will lead worship. Chris Collier from First Baptist in Langdon will lead one workshop for the men. The other will be led by Jon and Seth Ballard from Connection Church in Spearfish. Annie Bifulco from South Canyon Baptist Church in Rapid City will lead the women’s morning sessions. Paul Young and Jeff Musgrave will share the morning devotionals.

The featured preacher for the South Dakota retreat is Tim Patterson, the executive director for the Baptist Convention of Michigan. Worship will be led by Todd Fuehrer, pastor at Community Church in Bismarck/Mandan. Evangelism workshops for the men will be led by Garvon Golden from Christ Church in Rapid City and T. J. Green, from Cornerstone Church in Williston. Catherine Renfro from the evangelism department at NAMB will lead a workshop for the women. Devotionals will be shared by Buck Hill and Everett Hornbostel.

Two nights at a hotel, meals, and activities will be paid for by the DBC. Details on the program and how to register is now available online. This year’s retreats will not have programming for children.
Baker Offering celebrates what God is doing in, through,
and around the Dakotas

September is the month for the annual Baker State Missions Offering. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Intentionally Together.” The theme text is Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” The goal is $40,000.

Sample resources have been sent to each church. These resources include two full color posters, a bulletin insert, envelopes, and prayer guides. If your church needs additional envelopes or prayer guides, call the DBC office or go to the DBC website and request more resources. 

DBC churches are invited to accept the challenge of being one of 40 churches that set and reach a goal of $1,000 for this year’s offering. The Baker State Missions Offering touches every aspect of work that the churches of the Dakotas do as a “network of Great Commission churches that partner together to strengthen established churches and start new churches.”
Oklahoma Native America church partners with South Dakota churches

by Steve Osage

With God’s help, our little Native church, “Country Baptist Church” in Locust Grove, OK, put together a mission team and came to Sisseton and Waubay, SD. There were twenty from our church, eight from Cornerstone church and five members from our “Builder’s For Christ Team.” The team helped the two churches with revival meetings, VBS, and improvements on the two buildings.

We put up and painted a church sign and put matching metal on two breezeways to match the roof. At Bethany we winterized the facility. We also replaced some siding, painted the outside of church, put wrap around bottom, and put roof matching metal halfway up all around. The ladies worked on inside dressing it up to look nice. 

The revival meetings were good as Country Baptist Music Team supplied music and our pastor, Keith Marler preached. We had one young man saved and two older ladies recommit their lives back to God. Pastor Nippy Owens said they were really encouraged by the revival.

Steve Osage is a former pastor in the Dakotas and the recently retired leader of First Nations Association. He continues to minister to the churches and pastors on reservations across the Dakotas. Nippy Owen is the pastor at First Baptist in Sisseton, SD. Billy Keeble is the pastor at Bethany Baptist in Waubay, SD.
Sporting Christ in the Dakotas: First Baptist—Miller, SD

by Debra Page

Summer in the Dakotas is a busy time. Families travel, towns celebrate various events, and the crops are growing. It is also a time for many of our churches to have their annual Vacation Bible Schools. Our church is not the exception. We reach out to our community in two ways during the summer months. In June we have VBS in the park and in July we welcome Sports Crusaders to hold sports camp for the kids in our area. 

We usually just have basketball camp, but this year we expanded and had soccer camp in the morning and basketball in the afternoon. The team consisted of ten members: adults, college, and high school aged. For each camp they taught kids skills for that sport, provided snacks, but most important they shared the Gospel of Christ with them every day. We had 29 participants, which was wonderful considering the school had a basketball camp at the same time. Our main purpose is not to recruit new church members but to plant seeds in the community’s youth that will bring them to Christ. There is no other program or event that takes the place of having a community built on the saving grace of Jesus.
Sports Crusaders is a national organization that we have worked with for the last ten years. The group that comes to Miller is based out of First Baptist Church Cassville, MO. The mission team leader is Jeff Alee, Associate Pastor of FBC Cassville. They are passionate about using sports to reach kids for Christ. Each camp is two hours long and they bring everything they need. All they ask is that the sponsoring church feed them dinner every night. In addition to basketball and soccer they also do baseball and cheerleading. Each camp is catered to the community they work in. God works in many ways to expand His kingdom. For our church it has been through sports camps for our local kids.

Will Page is the pastor at First Baptist Church in Miller.
Hilltop Baptist Church recently conducted an evangelistic ministry event on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation. Many lives were impacted with the gospel. Christian Little is the pastor at Hilltop.
Western Way burns note

by Karen Holmes

Western Way Cowboy Church began in 2005, meeting at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds. Later, the congregation moved to the Jensen Farm on 3rd Street in Huron. Ron Jensen, one of the founding members, let the church use one of his stables to meet in. He fixed it up, putting in windows and doors to keep out the cold. Mr. Ron (as many of us called him) loved having the cowboy church on his property and loved being involved. There was an article written about him in the Argus Leader in which he said, “It’s not so much that you have to get dressed up. You can come right from the stalls over here and you’re not out of place. It’s more like a working man’s church.” 

Mr. Ron passed away in 2013 from injuries sustained in an accident. In 2014, his wife Bonnie decided to move to Wyoming to be closer to her children and grandchildren. She talked to the church about purchasing the three acres that the church sat on. She would sell the other part of the farm separate. The church agreed!
The church got a loan from the bank and began making payments. The church made the last payment on the loan on September 8, 2021. A few years early! We began making plans for a celebration service. The date of July 4, 2022, was set. In the meantime, one of our members asked to be baptized. So, on July 4, we had a worship service, baptism, and note burning, followed by fireworks!

God has wonderful plans for Western Way. As the church continues to grow, and reach out to our community, we are praying for opportunities to minister to the cowboys, ranchers, and others who love this culture. Western Way Cowboy Church meets on Tuesday nights at 7:00 in our stable at 1858 3rd St., SW in Huron.

Chip Holmes is pastor at Western Way Cowboy Church in Huron and First Baptist Church in Wolsey, SD
Church plant hosts community for lunch

Mercy Gate Church in Box Elder, SD hosted a daily lunch for several days last month. Each day they fed many from the community including city first responders. The members of the new church were assisted by a mission team made up of members of Longview Point Baptist Church in Hernando, MS and First Baptist Church of Branson, MO.

In addition to the lunch the church and the mission team conducted a morning business donut drive and some light construction in Mercy Gate’s new facility.

Andy Daniel is the pastor at Mercy Gate-Box Elder.
“Celebrating Church Planting . . . Dakotas Style!” is a monthly celebration of what God is doing around the Dakotas through our new work. Each month’s feature will have two parts. The first is an article on one of the newer churches in the Dakotas. The second is one of the fourteen ways that you and your church can be involved in church planting along with an implementation suggestion. Help us celebrate the new things God is doing across North and South Dakota.
1) Celebrating what God is doing in Custer

The Church at Custer: Ryan & Natalie McGehee

I am excited to introduce myself and my family to our DBC family! I am Ryan McGehee and am the NAMB church planter at The Church at Custer in Custer, SD. I have been married to my wife Natalie for 21 years and we have four amazing kids (Walker, Melissa, Mari-Madeline, and Lorelai) and one grandson (Grayson). 

For the past 18 years, Natalie and I have served in a variety of ministry roles at home and around the world. We were indigenous church planters in Honduras and started a church planting network in the five villages in the Andes Mountains of Peru. We also made many trips to southeast Asia. I taught a 5th-6th grade boys connect class and served as chairman of deacons at our sending church in Longview Point Baptist Church in Hernando, MS. For 18 years, I owned a residential construction company until February 2020 at which time we transitioned to full time ministry as House Parents at a children’s home in North Mississippi. 

On one of our stateside mission trips, we served alongside Mercy Gate in Rapid City for a week and fell in love with the people of SD and the community-based aspects of ministry here. Three years later, we took a trip to Bismarck, ND to serve with Hope City Church and Chris Wallace. On the way home, we stopped in Rapid City to tour the Black Hills with the kids from the children’s home. While there, Buck Hill asked us to pray about planting a church in the area. After much prayer, we began the process of church planting through the SEND Network. We soon realized that Custer would be the new home for our family. We moved in May of this year. 

The community has been so welcoming, and The Church at Custer is growing each week. We currently have a small group study called ‘Foundations’ that I teach each Sunday morning and Natalie is doing an exegetical book study of James for women and teen girls on Tuesday nights. Both have been very successful, with eight to twelve in attendance at both studies each week. We are also starting a youth group fellowship this summer. Reaching the youth is an area that is lacking in Custer.

We are a relational church plant that is working to meet people where they live and work in the community. Part of our model is community service. We have been active with the Custer Chamber of Commerce by volunteering at their two largest events of the year, the 4th of July Celebration and Gold Discovery Days. Our first mission team just left this past week. We had a VBS in the Park and our first block party, which was well attended. We have three more teams scheduled to arrive in the next three months, culminating with our launch service the middle of October.

Please continue to pray for us as we work to develop relationships with individuals within Custer. Many people in this area profess to know Christ but they have a very shallow understanding of the gospel. Please pray for us to clearly articulate our beliefs through scripture. Our ‘Foundations’ study clearly lays out what we believe and why, setting a strong foundation for our church plant to grow (thanks Stephen Carson for the work you put into the study and for the use!). My children have all grown so much from this transition and are settling in very well, making friends and even joining the cheer squad at school. Please pray for this to continue, as a new school year and new cultural environment will bring with it hardship in time. And thank you to the Dakota Baptist Convention and partner churches that have been so gracious to us both and have helped make what could have been a difficult transition much easier.

NOTE: You can contact Ryan & Natalie McGehee at
2) 14 Ways to be Involved in Church Planting . . . Dakotas Style!

Way #6. Serve on a Church Planting Mission Trip: You may have members who want to help them by going on a weekend or weeklong youth or college or adult church planting mission trip. You may be involved in going door-to-door handing out information about the church plant, or helping with service projects, or backyard Bible Clubs, or Vacation Bible School.

Implementation Suggestion: Two suggestions . . . first, contact one of our Dakota Baptist Convention church plants. Ask the planter to share his vision for reaching his community and ways that other churches could assist in fulfilling this vision through a mission team project. Then work with your church to develop a team to go on mission and help meet that need. Second, work with one or two other churches in your association (or maybe even the whole association!) to develop a mission team to help one of our church plants.
“To see all 14 ways to be involved in church planting in the Dakotas, use this QR code or go to the DBC website and click on the Church Planting link in the Resources section.”
*click image above to link to CP story with powerpoint image download