In this edition:
  • Dr. Mac's Minute: Where is God when you can't see or hear Him?
  • September is Baker State Missions month
  • 2021 Baker State Missions Offering and week of prayer
  • Who was John P. Baker?
  • It Happened at a board meeting
  • Dakota Vision 2025 Task Force Lays Out New Ministry Plan for DBC
  • Dakota Baptists Gather in October for 2021 Annual Meeting
  • Around the Dakotas
  • Pastor/Family Retreat: Aberdeen, SD
  • VBS report: Webster, SD
  • Cross Roads Baptist seeks pastor candidates: Minot, ND
  • Women’s Conference: Prairie Partners Association, ND
  • NAMB names Steve Ford as third CPC for the Dakotas
  • Dakota Baptist training opportunities
  • Biblical Care and Ministry class begins soon
  • Sunday School/Small Group training available from Lifeway
  • Will Graham Crusade comes to the Black Hills
  • CP Story: Jay & Kathy Shafto
  • Baptist Press: Prayer guide on Afghanistan crisis made available for Southern Baptists
Dr. Mac's Minute
Where is God when You Can’t See or Hear Him?

Passage: Exodus 2:1-10
It was a time of great despair for God’s people. For centuries they labored under the tyrannical oppression of the Egyptian king. They also multiplied! Fearful this growing nation would one day rebel, the king ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew boys as soon as they were born.

Fortunately, the midwives feared God more than they feared Pharaoh and let the boys live. When confronted over their labor room mutiny, they said, “The Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them” (Ex. 1:19). As a result, “God was good to the midwives and the people multiplied and became very mighty” (Ex. 1:20); the opposite of what he wanted. Then the king doubled down on his plot. He ordered the Egyptians, “Every son who is born, you are to cast into the Nile” (Ex. 1:22).

Moses was born into these desperate times. His mother courageously hid him for three months. When she realized this could not continue (just try to keep a three-month old boy quiet!), she prepared a basket, placed him in it, hid him amongst the reeds along the edge of the river, and had her daughter keep watch. 

You know the rest of the story. Pharaoh’s daughter found him, paid Moses’ mother to care for him, and then took him into her home and raised him as her son.

I’m sure the Israelites wondered at times, “God, where are you?” They sighed and groaned under the weight of their burden and cried out in pain for His help (Ex. 2:24) . . . but the oppression continued. Where was God?

Go back and reread today’s passage. His presence is all over the place. I see God at work in the faith of the midwives. I hear His voice in their courageous words spoken face-to-face to an evil king. I see His wisdom on display in the tender hands of a mother as she crafted a safe place for her son. And I see God’s sovereign hand working out His will and way as the daughter of the man who sought Moses’ death became the very tool that thwarted his wicked scheme. There was no way they could know it, but at no point were things out of God’s control. They were never out of the sight of His gaze or the reach of His hand.

Where is God when you cannot see or hear Him??? Right where He always has been, holding you securely in the palm of His gracious and loving hand.
September is Baker State Missions Month
2021 Baker State Missions Offering and Week of Prayer

September is the month for the annual Baker State Missions Offering and Week of Prayer for State Missions. The theme for this year is “Willing and Working Together for Him.” 

The 2021 offering will be used to fund four ministry allocations: pastor and church emergencies, Native American ministry, leadership development, and summer missions and interns. The goal is $40,000. A challenge has been issued to Dakota churches to consider being one of 40 churches to set and reach a goal of $1,000. Offering envelopes and posters have been sent to assist churches in promoting and receiving this year’s offering. Additional resources can be requested at the DBC website,

September 5-12 has been set aside as a week of prayer for the work of the Dakotas. A daily prayer guide has been developed and is attached at the end of this article. Hard copies of the prayer guide are also available and can be requested online or by contacting the DBC office.
Who was John P. Baker?

Editor’s NoteThe Baker State Missions Offering is named for John P. Baker, the first executive director of the Northern Plains Baptist Convention. The following summary of his work in the Dakotas was written several years ago.

A true pioneer in Southern Baptist work in this part of the country, John P. Baker was the director of stewardship and missions for the Colorado Baptist General Convention when elected to serve as the first executive director of the newly formed Northern Plains Baptist Convention in the fall of 1967. In true humility, his response to those electing him was, “I don’t understand it . . . but I believe the Lord is in it.” Then, he quoted 1 Corinthians 1:27: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” 

Baker plotted a course through “uncharted waters” as he sought to guide and develop the work throughout the nearly 400,000-square-mile area that constituted the NPBC: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Through his extraordinary and compassionate leadership style, Baker strengthened the Convention, mentored pastors and other leaders, led many to Christ, and unified the work.

A deeply spiritual man, he continually prayed for the concerns and the mission of the convention. He retired at the end of 1976; and he and Clide moved to Baton Rouge, La., where he promptly started two churches. Then they were called back in 1984, after Wyoming churches formed the Wyoming Baptist Convention, to assist with the formation of the two new fellowships—the Montana Southern Baptist Fellowship and the Dakota Southern Baptist Fellowship. 

In a 1992 interview, Baker said: “Never forget that there is a world outside the walls of your church and that missions is the heart and soul of what we do. Your Dakota Southern Baptist Fellowship is a first line of defense against the forces of evil, and when you promote and participate in this once-a-year Baker Missions Offering for State Missions, then you strengthen your own missions base.”
It Happened at a Board Meeting

The Dakota Baptist Executive Board met August 6-7 in Pierre, SD. Each of the two sessions opened with a devotional from one of the Board members. Restore Church-Yankton, SD pastor Jeffrey Mueller shared in the opening session on Friday evening and Joe Savery pastor at Calvary Baptist in Blunt, SD opened the Saturday morning session.

Major actions taken by the Board included receiving and approving a new ministry plan from the Dakota Vision 2025 Task Force and adopting a 2022 budget and calendar to present to the messengers at the Dakota Gathering in October. The Board also heard reports from the Dakotas executive director and three church relations missionaries.

The vision task force, led by DBC president Paul Young, was authorized at the March Board meeting. The team was made up of Young, Steve Ford, Kristy Wallace, Steve Osage, Jon Ballard, Sam Ellyson, and Stephen Carson. Young and Ford presented the new strategy to the Board on Thursday evening in the opening session and, after some discussion and minor revisions, it was approved on Friday morning.

In presenting the plan, Young said that this was the next logical step in the DBC’s growth towards becoming a self-sustaining state convention. He recalled the work last year of the state staff study task force in developing a new staff structure and pointed out that this task force was building off of what they began. 

The task force will make a presentation at the 2021 Dakota Gathering in Mandan to introduce the new ministry plan to the churches of the Dakotas. (See related story below on the new ministry plan)

The Board also approved a 2022 budget of $482,924. This is a 3.5% increase over the 2021 budget. The most significant change to the new budget was a change in the role of the Baker offering. If the budget is approved at the October annual meeting, the Baker offering will become budget-based rather than allocation-based, beginning in 2022. 

Board chairman Dude Garrett and DBC executive director Fred MacDonald explained that this change meant that the annual state missions offering would be part of the income for the general budget, rather than being focused on specific designated ministry activity. They shared that this was a critical step in having an operating budget that was fully funded by Dakotans. They pointed out that beginning in 2022 the administrative support that had been provided by NAMB and in past years by Lifeway, would be gone.

They also told the Board that this would make the state mission offering like NAMB’s Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and the IMB’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The North American and International mission agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention receive a significant part of their annual budgets from these critical special mission offerings. MacDonald indicated that this change would make the Baker offering approximately eight percent of the 2022 budget.

Garrett shared with the Board that this would not impact the 2021 Baker offering. This year’s offering will be allocated to pastor and church emergencies (30%), Native American ministry (25%), leadership development (25%), and summer missions/interns (20%). He also said that funds given in previous years for specific allocations would continue to be used in those ways.

MacDonald expressed appreciation for NAMB, Lifeway, and others that had helped support the basic work of the Dakotas over the past several decades. He also indicated that this budget was cause to celebrate as “we continue to grow as a Convention.” He also affirmed that, while our operating budget would be self-sustaining, we would always be cooperating and that the new ministry plan the Board adopted would provide a framework to continue partnering with other entities like NAMB to accomplish the mission.

Other Board actions included adopted the 2022 calendar and approval of other Administrative Team recommendations.

The 2022 budget and calendar will be forwarded to the October Dakota Gathering in Mandan for approval by the messengers. The Dakota Vision 2025 Task Force will also share the new ministry plan at that meeting.
Dakota Vision 2025 Task Force Lays Out New Ministry Plan for DBC

Last March the DBC Executive Board authorized the formation of a new task force to develop a ministry plan that would lead the state convention to continue its’ move toward becoming “a self-sustaining, but always cooperating” convention. The task force, led by Fort Totten, ND pastor and DBC president Paul Young, presented their work to the DBC Executive Board at their August meeting where it was approved for implementation.

The ministry plan identified five values (who we are), a mission statement (why we’re here), a vision statement (where we’re headed), and several objectives, action plans, and goals built around three key words from the mission statement (how we’ll get there). 

The five values are:

In all we do, we value . . .
   1) God being glorified in Christ.
   2) The authority and sufficiency of God’s Word, the Scriptures, as the true center of Christian union.
  3) The autonomy and priority of the local church, under the headship of Christ, in fulfilling the Great Commission.
   4) The role of pastors in equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.
   5) Cooperation among churches in fellowship, training ministry, and mission.

The mission statement is: “The Dakota Baptist Convention exists as a network of Great Commission churches that PARTNER together to STRENGTHEN established churches and START new churches.”

The vision statement is: “The Dakota Baptist Convention will be a growing network of healthy churches that make disciples in local communities, across the Dakotas, and around the world.”

Thirteen objectives flowing from the key words partner, strengthen, and start were also adopted. As part of the task force’s process, and after developing the objectives, the team asked the DBC staff to develop some action plans for the next four years that would, “help accomplish the mission and reach the vision.” These plans and several target goals were included in the report that the Board approved.

The task force will make a presentation of the new strategic ministry plan at the Dakota Gathering in Mandan in October.
Dakota Baptists Gather in October for 2021 Annual Meeting

The Dakota Gathering, the annual meeting of Dakota Baptists, is set for October 7-8 at the Baymont Inn & Suites in Mandan, ND. Messengers will gather for worship, fellowship, encouragement, and business.

The theme for the 2021 meeting is “Willing & Working Together for Him.” The theme text is Philippians 2:13: “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” The meeting will be led by DBC President Paul Young and Vice-President Jeffrey Mueller. Young is the pastor of Dakota Baptist Church in Fort Totten, ND. Mueller is pastor at Restore Church in Yankton, SD.

The Gathering will begin on Thursday the 7th at 2:00 with the Working Together Conference. The conference will open with a large group session. Dillon Rykard from Cornerstone Church in Williston, ND will lead in praise and worship. Willie McLaurin, the Vice President of Great Commission Relations for the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee will bring the opening message.

After the session, men’s and women’s breakout sessions will be held. Denise MacDonald from Hills of Grace Church in Rapid City, SD and Kristy Wallace from Hope City Church in Bismarck, ND, will lead the women’s session. The men will hear messages from John Flowers, pastor at Living Hope Church in West Fargo, ND and Matt Hadden, pastor at Creator’s Fellowship in Sharp’s Corner, SD. DBC president Young will close the men’s session with a time of concerted prayer.

Supper will be served at 5:00 that evening. The theme of the banquet is “Working Together Beyond the Dakotas.” Reports and greetings will be shared by representatives of various Southern Baptist agencies.
(click image to learn more)

The first business session begins at 6:30 Thursday evening. Worship will be led in this session by Todd Fuehrer, pastor at The Gathering Place in Bismarck/Mandan. Business in this session will include adoption of two recommended changes to the Constitution and Bylaws and Executive Board recommendations, including the 2022 budget and 2022 calendar.

Also in this session will be a presentation by the Dakota Vision 2025 Task Force. The task force will share the new ministry plan that was approved in August by the DBC Executive Board. 

The evening session will conclude with the Executive Director’s annual message and recognition of new and newly retired pastors. A dessert fellowship will follow.

The final session of the meeting will begin at 8:30 on Friday morning. McLaurin will share from God’s Word followed by worship led by Rykard and then a sermon preached by Russ Grim. Grim is the pastor at First Southern Baptist in Gregory, SD.

Business items in the final session will include reports from various committees, election of officers, and reports from DBC staff members. After these business matters are concluded, DBC president Young will bring the president’s message.

The 2021 Dakota Gathering will conclude with recognition of the newly elected officers and prayer by the new president.

Following the annual meeting, the members of the DBC Executive Board will hold their organizational meeting.

Messengers and guests can register online at the DBC website, A block of rooms for Thursday night is being held at the Baymont Inn & Suites at a discounted rate of $85.

Future Dakota Gatherings will be in Pierre, SD in 2022, in Williston, ND in 2023, and in Brookings, SD in 2024.
Pastor/Family Retreat: Aberdeen, SD

A total of 57 Dakota Baptist pastors, wives, and their children took part in the 2021 Pastors and Family Retreat last month in Aberdeen. Everyone had an encouraging and relaxing weekend that involved lots of food, fun, fellowship, and encouragement. 

John and Marcia Hinze led the adult sessions, which focused on Gary Thomas’ book, “Cherish.” John, the pastor at First Baptist in Tucumcari, NM, shared with the pastors and wives the difference between loving your mate and cherishing your mate and how that impacts the way we relate to God. Joel Harris, worship leader at South Canyon Baptist in Rapid City led several periods of praising God. DBC executive director Fred MacDonald shared two devotionals, one on how to pray for someone when you don’t know how to pray for someone and the other on guarding our reputations.
The youth and children’s sessions were led by a mission team from First Baptist Church in Artesia, NM. The team, led by the church’s worship leader, Mike Wright, connected well with the Dakota young people. Wright has a special connection with the Dakotas. It was on a mission trip to Sharp’s Corner on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation several years ago that he sensed and surrendered to God’s call to ministry.

Laura, Jacey, and Jennifer Atilano, from Faith Community Church in Grand Forks, ND cared for the preschoolers during the retreat. The Atilano sisters provided Bible lessons, crafts, and fun for the youngest “retreaters.”
VBS Report: Webster, SD

First Baptist Church, Webster SD: We had VBS in the park the week of August 9. We averaged 25 children each night, with a total attendance for the week of 52 (this includes workers). This is our third year hosting VBS on our own without a mission team to help us. We are a small church, but have a big heart to serve the Lord. Our teacher for the week was Elaine Holland. She is 91 years old and blind. Just goes to show you, that God can use you no matter your age or your physical situation. No decisions for the Lord, but the seed was planted. We praise the Lord for a great week.
Cross Roads Baptist seeks pastor candidates:
Minot, ND

Cross Roads Baptist Church of Minot, ND is seeking an experienced Southern Baptist seminary trained pastor to lead and disciple our congregation. We desire a man who is steadfast in prayer with a strong biblical conviction that is exemplified, not only in his preaching, but also in his personal and family life, showing a maturing relationship with Christ. Our compensation package will be starting at $45,000. Please email resumes to [email protected] or mail to:

            Cross Roads Baptist Church
            Attn.: Pastor Search Team
            415 28th Ave., SE
            Minot, ND 58701

Resumes will be accepted through October 31, 2021. If you have any questions, please contact one of our Pastor Search Team co-chairs: Blair Hamilton (701-240-4569) or Doris Hoffart (701-720-5140).

Women’s Conference:
Prairie Partners Association, ND

Prairie Partners Association is hosting a fall women’s conference on October 16 at Cornerstone Church in Williston, ND. Leading the conference will be Christina Goleman from Utah. A follow-up conference will be held in mid-May in Bismarck featuring Catherine Renfro. Renfro works with the evangelism section at the North American Mission Board. For more information on the conference and how to register, contact Sharon Grover at 701-641-6138 or [email protected].  
NAMB names Steve Ford as third CPC for the Dakotas

The North American Mission Board has named longtime Vermillion pastor Steve Ford as a part-time church-based Church Planting Catalyst (CPC) to serve in the Dakotas. Ford joins fellow CPCs Stephen Carson and T. J. Green and state missions director Buck Hill in helping facilitate the starting of new works around North and South Dakota.

Ford and his wife Pam moved to South Dakota from New York. They have served at Vermillion’s Grace Baptist Church for the past fifteen years. The Fords have been blessed with eight children and six grandchildren.

Ford’s CPC work will focus primarily on the eastern part of South Dakota. He also has a heart for either starting new churches in university towns or working with existing churches to develop intentional strategies to reach out to college students with the gospel. 

In his time at Grace, Ford has seen the church have a great impact at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. In recent years, dozens of university students have surrendered to God’s call to be part of teams that reach out to other areas with the message of Christ.

Ford will begin his role as a CPC on September 1. He will also continue serving Grace Baptist Church.
Dakota Baptist Training Opportunities
by Jeff Musgrave
Biblical Care & Ministry class begins soon

There will be a new fall class offered in the Dakota Baptist Ministry Training Institute (DBMTI). This fall’s class is Biblical Care and Ministry, and the instructor will be Dr. John Flowers, pastor at Living Hope Baptist Church in West Fargo, ND. This class is being offered in partnership through Midwestern Seminary as a part of the Continuing Leadership Development certificate program. By completing this class, you will earn credit toward our certificate in Dakota Ministry, and you will also receive three hours of credit at Midwestern which can be used toward a degree program through either Spurgeon college or the seminary level. The course fee is only $100 plus the cost of books. If you are already enrolled on the DBMTI system, you can find the course in the catalog under the ministry section. If you have not signed up for a class with the DBMTI before, please go to to get more information on getting started. You can also contact Jeff Musgrave at [email protected] or 701-818-8801 for more information.  
Sunday School/Small Group training available from Lifeway

Attention DBC Sunday School and Small Group leaders. We have a training package available courtesy of our partnership with other western state conventions and Lifeway. In years past, we have taken a team from the Dakotas and brought back training to you. This year, the event was assembled in a digital training format to access on demand. We have a limited number of access codes to take advantage of this training. I am looking for churches who would like to hold a training clinic for you church or multiple area churches to take advantage of this training opportunity and material. If you are interested in holding a training for re-launching or revitalizing Sunday School or small groups in your church or area before September 30th, please contact Jeff Musgrave at [email protected] or 701-818-8801.
Will Graham Crusade comes to the Black Hills
by Sean Donnelly

The Will Graham Black Hills Paha Sapa Celebration is coming to The Monument in Rapid City September 24th– 26th. The events start at 7:00pm on the 24th and 25th and at 6:00pm on the 26th, which is a special student night. There will be a Kidzfest at 10:00am on the 25th. An additional event is being planned on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Much groundwork has been laid for this ministry. Many of our DBC churches have been involved in the preparation.

A team from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been on the ground in the Black Hills since the summer of 2020, gathering support from local churches and praying over the area non-stop. Training events have been held and a strategy for connecting individuals who confess Christ at the celebration with local churches has been developed. Christians aged 13 and up are being tapped to counsel at the event and help with follow up as appropriate!

This is an exciting opportunity for partnership and to get connected with people who might never walk through the door of a church. Would you consider praying over this event as it draws near? And invite a friend or two to hear the message of hope that Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham, will proclaim.
More information can be found at
*click image above to link to CP story with powerpoint image download
Prayer guide on Afghanistan crisis made available

NASHVILLE (BP) - The SBC Executive Committee, in partnership with Send Relief, has released a prayer guide for Southern Baptists regarding the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

Read more