Dakota Happenings

DBC Monthly Newsletter | January 2023

Dr. Mac's Minute:

Resolved to Receive and Reflect Jesus

Passage: Jude 20-23

Focus: “ . . . keep yourselves in the love of God.” (v. 21)

What is your favorite holiday? Mine is New Year’s Day. I call it “Philippians 3:13-14 Day.” It is an opportunity for, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” It offers a fresh start at pressing “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” New Year’s Day is a symbol for new beginnings.

It is also a day when many make “New Year’s resolutions.” Have you made any? How long do you think they will last? A few years ago, USA Today reported that 25% of these well-intended personal promises are broken within the first week and 50% by the end of January. Less than 20% survive the year!

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Dakota News

DBC President Announces 2023 Theme for the Dakotas

One of the first tasks for the new president of the Dakota Baptist Convention is to decide on a theme for the coming year. The theme guides planning for the annual meeting, provides a theme for the annual Baker State Mission Offering, and gives a focus for the entire year in the network of DBC churches.

Big Events for 2023 in the DBC

There are several big events on the Dakota Baptist calendar for 2023. Here are a few to put on your calendar:

April 2023: Evangelism Workshops

June 2023: Youth Camp

August 2023: Pastors/Family Retreat

October 2023: Dakota Baptist Gathering

April 2023: Evangelism Workshops

The DBC will continue providing annual evangelism workshops in different parts of the Dakotas. The two events for 2023 will be in Rapid City, SD and Fargo, ND. The theme for both workshops is “What is the Gospel?” and will feature large group sessions as well as breakouts for men (led by different DBC pastors) and women.

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Finding Your People

by Alysia McCord

Everyone feels most at home among “their people.” What makes the people around you either “one of us” or “one of them”? Maybe you feel like people who “get you” eat the same kind of food as you, or speak the same language. 

Since moving back to my role as schoolteacher, I have found that there is at least one boy in my classes who is one of “my people.” Often, to explain more complex and lofty subject matter, I resort to illustrations using things like Twinkies and Little Debbie Snack cakes. To my shock and surprise, many of my students are unfamiliar with basics of life such as Pop Tarts and Christmas tree cakes. Not this boy. I can always count on him, to not only know what Zebra cakes are, but to enthusiastically explain to the rest of the class what makes them the extraordinary delights that they are. He is one of my people.

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The Dakota Baptist CP Ambassadors will have their first meeting of 2023 on Tuesday, January 24 at 10:00AM (mountain time). The meeting will be on Zoom.

The CP Ambassadors are individuals from various DBC churches who have an interest in missions and the cooperative work of Southern Baptists in the Dakotas, across the country, and around the world. They have several Zoom meetings and one in-person meeting each year.

Each DBC church is invited to designate a CP Ambassador by sending their name, phone number, and email address to DBC Executive Director Fred MacDonald at fred@dakotabaptist.com.


On December 2-10, Connection Church Spearfish took a mission trip to Puerto Rico with Send Relief through NAMB. Puerto Rico has experienced a series of earthquakes and hurricanes in recent years, including a hurricane shortly prior to the trip. Send Relief has 3 outreach centers, in San Juan and Ponce, and the 10 member team from Spearfish served with the center in Ponce. Connection Church met other team members from West Virginia and Alabama who also joined in outreach in Puerto Rico. A major project the team took on was rebuilding much of the interior of a local woman’s house, including walls, flooring, and putting a new kitchen in. Send Relief translators were able to share the Gospel with her. Many Spearfish team members serving were taking part in their first mission trip. The missionary over the Ponce Send Relief Center, Jonathan, led a well-organized and excellent experience. Pastor at Connection Spearfish is Jon Ballard.


Hope City Church Bismarck was able to take a trip to Nepal in the month of October, from

October 14-26. Hope City was part of a strategic training emphasis organized for churches and leaders interested in partnering with IMB workers in S Asia. Team members first met with South Asia regional leaders in an urban setting where they spent time in the Scriptures and studying the core missionary task and strategy. The team was then able to join hands-on mission outreach such as helping with training for local leaders and visiting other areas. Hope City Church was able to build a partnership with James and Leslie,* who work with Tibetan Buddhists.

*Names are changed for security reasons

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The Siouxland Associational Meeting was held during the month of November at Connection Church, Sioux Falls, SD. The meeting was held on Saturday, Nov. 12. 

James Kliewer, who is church planting resident at Connection Church Sioux Falls, attended the meeting and shared future plans to plant a church in Brookings in order to reach college students. Jonathan Land, pastor at Connection Church Sioux Falls, also attended, along with Connection Church’s director of ministries, Jaz Terzic.

Grace Baptist Church in Vermillion’s new pastor, Evan Welcher, was also present at the meeting. He was joined by Mike Lindsey of Set Free Ministry and his son David, who is now the senior pastor of Set Free Ministry.

Also from Grace Baptist in Vermillion, Steve Ford attended as moderator of the Siouxland Association. He and other officers were re-elected to continue to fill their same positions from the previous year. 

Russ Grim, from Gregory, shared about the Siouxland Association’s children’s camp. This camp will take place in July 2023. 

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Connection Church Sturgis held a ladies’ Christmas dinner during the month of December. Ladies from the church gathered to decorate tables for the event, while men of the church cooked and served the meal to the women. Ladies from Connection had been intentional about using the event as outreach and invited community members to attend. Approximately 45 women attended the dinner, and the event was a wonderful night of worship and fellowship. Attendees sang Christmas Carols and heard Missy Price, wife of pastor Matt Price, shared a message on Christmas based on John 1.


The new year will bring a new goal for both the Cooperative Program giving and the Baker State Missions Offering in the Dakotas. The CP target for the 2023 budget is $435,000 and the Baker goal is $45,000.

The theme for the 2023 Baker offering will follow the annual theme that was recently announced. It is, “The Heart of Christ.” Matthew 11:28-30 will be the focal passage for this year’s offering. The state mission offering is promoted in September, but individuals and churches can give to the Baker offering at any time. Gifts can be sent by churches with their regular monthly CP giving. Gifts can also be given online at the DBC website: www.dakotabaptist.com

Final figures for 2022 are not yet available, but as of mid-December the churches of the Dakotas were very close to reaching last year’s targets for both CP and Baker.


Ladies from Connection Church, Belle Fourche, joined together to clean out their closets in the month of November in order to support the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Several members donated shoes, and other ladies volunteered to man the Nov. 12 sale from 9 to 11 a.m. on a cold, winter morning. Shoes were sold at the blanket price of $5 a pair, and all proceeds went to the LMCO following the sale.  

Earlier this fall, The Belle Fourche Community Rec Center was able to hold its traditional “Spooktacular” Celebration this year after a hiatus during covid. This event is widely attended by members of the community, and various community groups and businesses set up booths at “Spooktacular” in order to engage the community.

Connection Church Belle Fourche was able to set up a booth with candy give aways, gospel tracts, and a bouncy house for children to experience. Volunteers from the church helped man the candy table and bouncy house. Some volunteers chose to be very intentional about sharing the gospel message, including one volunteer who used cards that worked as an optical illusion, concluding with the message, “definitely confusing but so can life be. One thing is for sure and that is Jesus loves you very much.” Attendees were then given the optical illusion cards, which had a Gospel message on the back. Church members and those involved were pleased with the opportunity to interact with so many members of the community and show them that they were loved by Connection Church. Turn-out was incredible, with long lines of attendees during most of the event. 


Connection Church, Spearfish, partnered with a local grocery store, Lueders, in order to reach out in love and kindness during the Thanksgiving season. Ahead of Thanksgiving, Connection Church offered registrations so that community members could register if they needed a Thanksgiving meal. The church also advertised this outreach through local schools and social media. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, members then stayed after church to help hand out the boxes, which included turkey, sides, and dessert. The church offered this kindness outreach as a way of showing love to the community and gave cards from the church to tell people who received the boxes that they loved them. According to Pastor Jon Ballard, the church was able to distribute 50 boxes this year. 


by Sean Donnelly

I would like to share about the heart of Christ on display through service and servanthood. At Black Hill Baptist Church we have a newly installed deacon, Dave. He is every bit a servant as the title would suggest. Every week I am hearing from somebody either in the church or in the community how they had a need and Dave was there to supply for them.

Here is a particular illustration. Dave accidentally developed what we now fondly refer to as “Ramp Up Ministries.” Over the last year, Dave has built at least six ramps into people’s homes who had broken a leg, had a surgery, or became wheelchair bound for a short period. And no matter the conditions of the work, he is always upbeat and showing the utmost love and care to those he is serving. Without a doubt, Dave has allowed me to see the heart of Christ on display through servanthood.

Sean Donnelly is the pastor at Black Hills Baptist Church in Whitewood, SD.


by Sarah Young

S. visited the reservation from a distant city last year, planning to share the Gospel. He saw D. outside and stopped to talk. D. had been a believer for about a year, and they rejoiced in the Gospel together. They exchanged phone numbers and stayed in touch.

This month, S. called and invited D. to come to the city where he could use D.'s help in ministering to a young native man in jail. D. agreed and sent a message to our church members: “I will be going on a mission trip this Saturday. Will everyone please pray for me?” We prayed. He went. When D. reached the city and met with his friend, S. told him the name of the incarcerated man. D. discovered that it was his brother.

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Sarah Young is a member of Dakota Baptist Church in Fort Totten, ND.

How can Pastors Help their Congregations Read the Bible Better Next Year? | Baptist Press

Although Christians confess the Bible is God's Word, many don't read it regularly-much less daily. According to Lifeway Research, 1 in 3 Americans (32%) who regularly attend a Protestant church say they read the Bible personally every day. Close to 1 in 8 (12%) admit they rarely or never read the...

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*Click the image above to access full CP article

DBC Monthly Newsletter

January 2023

Dr. Fred MacDonald, Editor

Alysia McCord, Managing Editor

Marissa Shimer, Print Editor

Dakota Baptist Convention

P.O. Box 549, Rapid City, SD 57709


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