JULY 2021
In this edition:
  • Dr. Mac's Minute: Decisions! Decisions!
  • Constitution & Bylaws changes to be considered at 2021 Dakota Baptist Gathering
  • Open House to be held July 20 to welcome DBC’s new ministry assistant
  • The Christian Social Media Experience
  • Registration Deadline for Pastors/Family Retreat is July 26
  • Baker Offering resources available in mid-July
  • Around the Dakotas
  • Youth & Children’s Camps impact young lives across the Dakotas
  • Sovereign Grace Church purchases Aberdeen American News building
  • Ellsworth Base Chapel to conduct VBS using LifeWay material
  • Christian school in Eagle Butte has openings for 2021-2022 school year
  • One man's prayer for laborers answered
  • Baptist Press: Promise Keepers set to return to large-scale events
Dr. Mac's Minute
Constitution & Bylaws changes to be considered at 2021 Dakota Baptist Gathering

Two amendments to the DBC Constitution & Bylaws will be presented at the October 2021 annual meeting in Mandan. In accordance with the requirements of the Constitution & Bylaws, notice is being published here in our state paper, the Dakota Happenings. Attached is an explanation and rationale for the two amendments and the proposed changes. Questions or clarification prior to the annual meeting can be directed either to the DBC Executive Director/Treasurer, Fred MacDonald or one of the Constitution & Bylaws Committee members, Josh Bonner (pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Rapid City, SD) or George Crawley (pastor of First Love Church in Lincoln, ND). A hard copy of this notice will be mailed to each church in the next week.
Open House to be held July 20 to welcome DBC’s new ministry assistant

Joann Liddell has been serving for the past two months as the new ministry assistant in the DBC office. An open house has been scheduled for July 20 from Noon - 3:00 p.m. to give Dakotans an “official” opportunity to stop by to meet and greet Joann and welcome her to the Dakotas. Joann moved with her husband Gary to Rapid City from Michigan. Gary, a retired law enforcement officer, is taking part in the Timothy Pastoral Apprenticeship Program at Redeeming Grace Church in Rapid City. 

If you are in the Black Hills area that day, come by the DBC office at 330 E. Anamosa in Rapid City. Refreshments will be available. Special appreciation is expressed to Anne-Marie Caldwell for organizing the open house. Anne-Marie is a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Rapid City and a member of the DBC Executive Board.
The Christian Social Media Experience

by Everett Hornbostel

I must preface my statements here with a disclaimer, I dislike social media. I miss the days when a person had to have a .edu email address to have a Facebook page. Social media has become a source of distraction and division among its users. However, as I often consider the elimination of my own online presence out of frustration, I see a glimmer of anticipation for a positive use of social media. 

At the SBC annual meeting in June, the following resolution was passed:

On Baptist Unity and Maintaining Our Public Witness

WHEREAS, The Scriptures charge the Church to “walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1–3); and
WHEREAS, The Scriptures likewise command the church to “be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8); and
WHEREAS, Our utmost devotion and supreme allegiance—including, but not limited to, political, cultural, ethical, and societal allegiance— should be to the kingdom of God and not the kingdoms of men (Joshua 24:15; Matthew 6:24, 33); and
Registration Deadline for Pastors/Family Retreat is July 26
Online registration for the 2021 Dakota Pastors & Family Retreat will open on June 1. This year’s retreat will be August 19-21 at the Ramkota Inn in Aberdeen, SD. The deadline for registration is Monday, July 26.

John Hinze, pastor of First Baptist Church in Tucumcari, NM is coming to lead the sessions for pastors and wives. The focus will be on cherishing your mate and cherishing God. A team from First Baptist Church in Artesia, NM will lead the activities for school age children and youth. A nursery will be provided for babies and preschoolers.

One of the highlights for the retreat will be an all-family picnic at Wylie Park on Friday afternoon. Pastors and their family will have the afternoon free to engage in water sports, walk through Storybook Land, and other great recreational activities. The Brown County Fair is also in Aberdeen that week.

The retreat is open to pastors, associate pastors, and other ministry staff leaders (such as youth ministers, music ministers, etc.) of Dakota Baptist churches along with their family.

There is no cost to the pastors and families for the retreat and the activities at Wylie Park. Because of the county fair, the July 26 deadline will be a hard deadline this year. Extra rooms at the Ramkota will have to be released after that date, so we will likely not be able to accommodate late registrations this year.
Baker Offering resources available in mid-July

The annual Baker State Missions Offering goal has been set at $40,000 for the 2021 year. This year’s offering allocations will include pastor and church emergencies, Native American ministry, summer missions/interns, and leadership development.

The offering is received each year in September. Resources for promoting the offering and a state missions prayer guide will be available later this month. Each church will receive samples of the different resources by mid-July and can then request additional resources as needed.
Youth & Children’s Camps impact young lives across the Dakotas
Small numbers see God do big things at DBC Youth Camp 

by Joe & Bethany Savery

What a GREAT camp year. This year youth camp had 36 attendees. While our numbers were small, we saw God work in mighty ways. One student made a commitment to receive Christ. Several students left with a renewed passion to follow Christ in their lives away from camp. We had teens from many different walks of life and were able to share the love of Christ with them. 

Our theme, “Let Go”, challenged us to move beyond our past and embrace the calling God has for us. Students shared challenges that they faced. They found camp to be a place where all of the adults encouraged them. With great joy we were so blessed to see God work in camp this year. Next year our theme, “Real Love,” will examine the love of God and how it affects every aspect of our life. Consider partnering with us by helping us plan or attend DBC Camp 2022. 

Joe and Bethany have served as youth camp directors for the past several years. Joe is pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Blunt, SD
Prairie Partners Association conducts annual children’s camp 

by Gaylen Lennick

This year the number of children was down, but we had a good missionary who the children seemed to enjoy.  We had excellent help and camp went well this year. Our theme was “Jesus Is.” We had the children think about that all week in every Bible study lesson.

At the last session we talked to them about who Jesus was to them. We helped them understand the ABCs of salvation and to realize that they must have a spiritual birthday at some point in their life. Some knew Jesus, some didn't. We did have some commit to giving their heart to Christ and some recommitments. That's always a home run!

Praying that we have double the kids or more next year. The children enjoyed the activities and seemed to enjoy crafts, missions, and lessons as well. The weather was pretty good. Praise Jesus for that! The kids missed the slide as it was not in operation, but hopefully next year. They are talking about next year already, so that's good. Food was good as usual. The camp people do an excellent job. We roller skated, climbed the rock wall, shot guns and sling shots, swam, kayaked, and did some indoor stuff. They had a blast. Thank you everyone for a blessed week.

Gaylen Lennick directs the PPBA children's camp. He is also the pastor of Word of Life Church in New Salem, ND.
Sovereign Grace Church purchases Aberdeen American News building

by Scott Ristau

We are grateful to God to be able to announce that on June 1st, Sovereign Grace Church purchased the Aberdeen American News building located at 124 S. 2nd St. Aberdeen, SD. This is a very well-known building in the community located two blocks from downtown. For the last ten years, we have rented space from St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, on the north side of town. Renovation projects will begin in July and we hope to be able to move in sometime this fall. Please pray that we would be faithful with this new tool for ministry, that more disciples of Jesus Christ would be made and equipped, and that God would be glorified. For 70+ years, this building has been used to publish the news. By God’s grace, it will now publish the good news of Jesus Christ for lost sinners in Aberdeen.

Scott Ristau is the Associate Pastor at Sovereign Grace Church in Aberdeen; he also serves as Vice-Chairman of the DBC Executive Board
Ellsworth Base Chapel to conduct VBS sing LifeWay material

The Ellsworth AFB Chapel will host Vacation Bible School this summer using the LifeWay curriculum, “Concretes and Cranes.” The VBS will be from July 26-30, from 9:00-noon. The VBS is being organized by Base Chaplain, Canyon Shearer. Shearer is a member of one of our DBC churches, Redeeming Grace Church in Rapid City.

Ellsworth AFB is located outside of Box Elder and Rapid City in the Black Hills. Several Redeeming Grace members will be helping with the event, but more volunteers are needed. Anyone interested in assisting with the VBS on any or all of the days can contact Chaplain Shearer at 928-606-6906 to volunteer.
Christian school in Eagle Butte has openings
for 2021-2022 school year

Windswept Academy, a private, non-denominational Christian school located in Eagle Butte, South Dakota that ministers primarily to Native American children, is looking for teachers with a heart for missions. The school is looking for a school principal/administrator and two teachers for the 2021-2022 school year. For more information, please contact Steve Rodgers at SteveRodgers2010@hotmail.com. Ben Farrar, a DBC pastor in Eagle Butte, teaches at Windswept. 
One Man’s Prayer for Laborers Answered

By Sarah Dixon Young

Wilbert Robertson became a believer while stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War. After that, he knew he was called to share the Gospel with his family and friends on the Dakota Reservations of North and South Dakota.

Many recently gathered at his memorial service on the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota to celebrate his service for the Lord and his passion for drawing others in as co-laborers.

“I remember a time when Pastor Wilbert said a prayer calling for the Lord to provide laborers, especially native leaders,” relative Rob Greywater shared at Pastor’s Robertson’s memorial service in May, “and I have been a witness to God answering that prayer. We have so many people who are answers to the prayer he made.”

Robertson knew about the need for Gospel witnesses on the reservation because of his own story. Ron, one of Robertson’s nephews, shared that Wilbert was not a saint during his early years. From practical jokes to months of binge drinking, Robertson drifted through life aimlessly. 

Robertson’s niece Myra told the story about how Robertson’s mother, Mabel, was the first to become a Christian in the family. Mabel Robertson had purchased a painting of Jesus and hung it on the wall. One day, two single women missionaries were going door to door sharing the Gospel. They asked Mabel about the painting and then shared the Truth from scripture about who Jesus was. Mabel hadn’t known Jesus before that day, but she was changed from then on. She began to teach her seven children, including Wilbert, about Jesus and the Bible. This legacy saved his life while overseas, showed him the way to eternal life, and opened the door for him to lead others to Christ.

While in the military, Robertson continued in the downward spiral of alcoholism and despair, which led him to contemplate suicide. He went to the chapel to pray and suddenly remembered John 3:16. He had learned it from his mother. The Lord changed the trajectory of his life from that moment.

He became a missionary pastor, working among lepers in Cambodia and then returned to the United States to pastor a church on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Eventually, he planted First Baptist of Sisseton and, later, Bethany Baptist on the Lake Traverse Reservation. After one of his brothers passed away unexpectedly, Robertson moved to Ft. Totten, ND to plant Dakota Baptist Church on the Spirit Lake Reservation to reach his many nieces, nephews, and other relatives who needed the Good News.

Not only did he have a passion for reaching his people with the Gospel, he trained others to do the same. At his memorial service, many people shared about Pastor Robertson’s role in leading them to be laborers for the Lord Jesus.

His nephew Jerry Robertson, who serves as a deacon at Dakota Baptist Church in Ft. Totten, ND, shared about how his uncle spent time with him hunting and fishing. 

“He always talked to me while we drove around hunting. I will miss him, but one day, I will be where he is,” Jerry Robertson shared, “A lot of people became Christians because of Wilbert, and I am one of them.”

Dr. Fred MacDonald, who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Dakota Baptist Convention, shared, “There are many ways you can measure the legacy of a man. For a preacher of the Gospel, it can be the men who come after him. This room is full of those who are in the ministry because of Pastor Wilbert’s influence. He gave me opportunities to preach when I was in college, and I am where I am today, doing what I’m doing today, in large part because of the work of Pastor Wilbert and his wife Judy in my life.”

Pastor Lon Cockerill read Hebrews 13:7-8, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He shared about how Pastor Robertson mentored him and licensed him to preach the Gospel at Dakota Baptist. Cockerill also served the Lord at Temple Baptist in Fargo, through chaplaincy at the VA, and also as a missionary to a SE Asian people group.

“Wilbert’s heart for missions, for his native people, and for people all over the world inspired me to go and share the Gospel,” Cockerill said.

In addition to his missions and church work, Pastor Robertson teamed up with Pastor David Boyd of Brockton, MT to begin First Nations Baptist Fellowship (FNBF). Their goal was to disciple indigenous leaders who would continue to share the Gospel on reservations across the United States and Canada. Today, there are eleven participating churches in FNBF that still host family and youth camps, evangelism and leadership conferences, and carry on the work begun by Pastor Robertson.

Pastor Steve Osage, from Oklahoma, joined the work of FNBF and shared about his call to serve the Lord in the Dakotas: “Wilbert became my mentor from the first day I met him. When he shared his passion and sorrow over needing more laborers to reach our native people, I knew I was being called to share the Gospel in the Dakotas. When you step out in faith like Wilbert stepped out, the Lord shows up and does the impossible.”

Rob Greywater grew up in Ft. Totten and currently serves as a deacon at Dakota Baptist Church. “There were very few people in my life who knew Jesus. I knew there was something different about Pastor Wilbert even from when I was very young. He made much of Jesus.” Greywater pointed out that the seeds Robertson planted are still bearing fruit on the Spirit Lake Reservation today. 

From Sunday Schools to Youth Camps, Pastor Wilbert and his wife Judy reached out to the children and teens on the reservation. In Ft. Totten, over half of the population is 18 years old or younger. This made reaching children with the Gospel an important part of ministry. Judy Robertson shared about a time when she and Pastor Robertson set up a tent by themselves so that they could do an outreach event.

“We always went everywhere together after he got out of the Air Force,” she said, “and He always followed wherever the Lord led.”

The current pastor of Dakota Baptist Church, Paul Young, shared about coming to Ft. Totten on mission trips as a teenager and being inspired by Pastor Wilbert’s ministry and passion. When Robertson retired from ministry in Ft. Totten in 2006, Young moved from South Florida to carry on the work. “Pastor Wilbert’s testimony encourages us to be ready for Jesus’ return,” Young said, “The last time I heard him preach, he spoke from 1 Thessalonians 4. He encouraged us not to grieve as those who have no hope but to be waiting and ready for Jesus’ return.”

Wilbert and Judy Robertson were married 58 years, and after Pastor Robertson was moved to a nursing home, they spent a lot of time praying together over the phone. Due to coronavirus, visits were limited, and Pastor Robertson became lonely. “But he is dancing up and down with the Lord in heaven now,” Judy shared, “He would be so joyful to see you all carrying on the work of sharing the Gospel.”

Today, through the work of First Nations Baptist Fellowship, individual believers, and the churches he planted, Robertson’s vision of the spread of the Gospel through indigenous leaders continues, and the hope of Jesus Christ shines brightly throughout the Dakotas and the world.

Sarah Dixon Young serves with her husband Pastor Paul Young at the Dakota Baptist Church in Fort Totten, ND. Sarah is also the author of several books designed to help strengthen women in their walk with Christ.
Promise Keepers set to return to large-scale events

NASHVILLE (BP) - In 2020, after more than 20 years, Promise Keepers prepared to return in a big way with a large-scale, in-person event at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. A speakers lineup led by Tony Evans indicated the group was headed back to the...

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