In this edition:
  • Dr. Mac's Minute: The More Excellent Way . . . Demonstrates Our Spiritual Character
  • Alysia McCord to serve as managing editor for DBC newsletter
  • On "The Great Commission"
  • Registration for 2022 Dakota Gathering is open
  • It happened at a Board meeting
Around the Dakotas:
  • Registration deadline for the second pastors/wives retreat is approaching
  • Hills of Grace conducts six-week evangelism Sunday School class
  • Saverys accept call to Belle Fourche
  • Living Hope hosts active intruder training
  • First Baptist Webster celebrates pastor’s anniversary and mission team work
  • Dakotas introduce new church planting website
  • Belle Fourche youth Sunday School class helps meet needs in Illinois community
Celebrating Church Planting... Dakotas style:
  1. Celebrating what God is doing in Minot, ND
  2. Getting involved in church planting
Around the SBC:
  • BP Press: 6 ways social media affects your ministry and how to steward it well
  • CP story: Cowserts & Keys
The More Excellent Way . . . Demonstrates Our Spiritual Character
Passage: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
Focus: “Love never fails.” (v. 8a)
We learned last month that what my mom used to tell me is true, “they won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Paul told his quibbling friends at Corinth that, without agape love, their gifts and abilities were useless. Selfless, godly love (not personal accomplishments or notoriety) is what gives value to our spiritual gifts. Agape love does something else for us as we relate to others, it demonstrates our spiritual character.

The word “character” comes from a Greek word meaning, “engraved mark” or “symbol or imprint on the soul.” Nineteenth century preacher, Sunday School pioneer, and committed practitioner of personal evangelism Henry Clay Trumbull wrote that character is “another name for the signature, monogram, or trademark of the potter, the painter, the sculptor, the writer, or any other artist, artisan, or inventor.” He concluded that this mark was “indicative of the personality of the maker . . . the visible token by which a thing is distinguished from every other thing with which it might otherwise be confounded.”

Agape love is God’s mark on our souls. It flows from our Maker’s “personality” and is His “visible token” that distinguishes us from the world. When agape love is not present in our lives or in the life of our church, it can leave others “confounded.”

Walk through the verses in today’s reading. The character of agape love is marked by unique attitudes: it is patient, it is kind, it is not jealous, it does not brag, and is not arrogant. It is marked by unique actions: it does not act unbecomingly (a fancy word meaning rude or obnoxious), it does not seek its own (it is selfless, not selfish), it is not provoked, and it forgives. It is marked by a unique approach to difficult and even painful circumstances: it rejoices in right not wrong, it trusts, and it endures. Paul sums up the character of agape love with, “love never fails.”

Each year ranchers burn their brand, their unique “mark,” onto their new calves. This brand identifies the calves as theirs.

Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Agape love is God’s brand on our soul. The attitudes, actions, and the approach we display in the face of challenges are what identify us as belonging to Him. And they give the world a clear picture of the “personality” of our Maker.
Alysia McCord to serve as managing editor for DBC newsletter
Alysia McCord, a member at Connection Church in Belle Fourche has agreed to serve as the managing editor for the Dakota Baptist Happenings e-newsletter.
Alysia and her husband Chad came to the Dakotas from Mississippi after serving for several years with the International Mission Board. Chad is the discipleship & missions pastor at Connection Church. He also serves as one of the DBC’s church relations missionaries, encouraging pastors and churches in the Black Hills and Siouxland areas. The McCords have three children: Maggie, Elizabeth Ann, and Josie.
As managing editor, Alysia will gather information each month from around the Dakotas, write and edit articles, and communicate with the DBC’s virtual assistant, Marissa Shimer. Shimer puts the various articles together each month into the format that goes out. DBC Executive Director Fred MacDonald will continue as editor of the newsletter.
On “The Great Commission”

by Alysia McCord
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20).
The immortal words of Jesus, among the last of the commands we have recorded that He gave to His disciples before He left this earth on a cloud headed up to heaven, are so important that many Christians have given this command a nickname. Many of us have grown up hiding these words in our hearts, and we know this command as “The Great Commission.”
Why is this command important? Those of you readers who are followers of Jesus might laugh at that question; no one has to tell you why any of Jesus’ commands are important. When you first called Him Lord, you knew that would mean to obey. In fact, you gladly chose to obey him, fed up with the emptiness and deceitful traps this world had to offer. He is your Master, and you have a heart willing to go where He sends.
But why is this particular command so important to believers? 
For one thing, there’s the element of strategy. Jesus let us in on the Father’s amazing plan for all the people He has created. He intended that all of them know His name. His Gospel did not stop with his inner circle (James, Peter, and John) or even with the twelve, or even the women who followed and dressed his body for the tomb, not with good old Nicodemus or Lazarus or the many others whose lives had been changed or the 500 witnesses who saw his resurrected body. No, the message did not stop there, praise God; the news of hope was intended for every people group, time, place, language, even up to you and me and the Hindu in remote crevices of the Himalayas today. There was an eternal intent in these commands, an intent that announced, “the kingdom does not stop here.”
Also, there’s a promise of His presence. He doesn’t send us anywhere He doesn’t go with us and before us. He has an amazing mission for us, and He will never leave us. Followers of Jesus know the gift of His calling, how valuable this calling is, and what a precious an invaluable gift is the gift of His presence.
Sadly, recognition of this Great Commission is not always reflected in Christian churches today. As a former leader of mine with the IMB, Todd Lafferty, pointed out to us at a mission conference, a Barna survey in 2018 tells us that 51% of believers do not even know what The Great Commission is! While 25% of those surveyed said they had heard of it but couldn’t recall the meaning, only 17% were able to correctly identify it.* Could it really be true that 83% of believers cannot explain The Great Commission?
This said, there are Christians out there committed to being Great Commission Christians. There are pastors who teach the Great Commission, and there are Sunday School teachers, Bible Drill leaders, and youth workers who teach it, quote it, and ask children to memorize it. Good job, workers who serve children and faithfully repeat these words. Great work, youth workers and teachers who incentivize memorization. Thank you, pastors, who preach through the Bible and uplift Jesus’s commands. Your work is so much more important than you may now realize. 
Let’s join in and find where we can make sure that Great Commission is not only recognized but taught, understood, memorized, and lived. Do our own children know the Great Commission? Is it taught at your church? Would anyone in your youth group or small group be able to identify it if asked? If so, well done! If you personally know The Great Commission, ask yourself how you learned it. Think about how to emulate the example of the person who taught it to you. Let’s decide that this is the generation that will change the Barna statistics. We will have young people and leaders who have at least heard of this command. We can have this command on our lips and make sure those around us know how precious it is to us. And if we begin to obey it, we could affect the story of entire people groups.  
Alysia McCord is the managing editor for the Dakota Happenings newsletter. She and her husband Chad served for about fifteen years as missionaries in Southeast Asia with the International Mission Board. Alysia is a member of Connection Church in Belle Fourche, SD.
Registration for 2022 Dakota Gathering is open
The 2022 Dakota Baptist Gathering is scheduled for October 6-7 in Huron, SD. Registration as a messenger or guest is now open at the DBC website, This year's theme is "Celebrating Intentionally Together". The theme verse is Psalm 118:24.
DBC president Jeffrey Mueller (Yankton, SD: Restore Church) and vice-president Josh Brown (Rapid City, SD: Redeeming Grace Church) will lead the meeting. The featured guest speaker is Dr. Jeff Iorg, who will speak twice on Friday. Iorg is the president of Gateway Seminary in California.
The annual meeting of Dakota Baptists will open on Thursday with a Celebrating Intentionally Conference. Breakout sessions for both men and women will be held. After the conference a celebration banquet will be held with presentations by various SBC partners.
The first business session will be on Thursday evening. Business will conclude on Friday morning. The Gathering will conclude with lunch and the final message from Dr. Iorg. The banquet and lunch will be provided at no cost to the messengers and guests. Blocks of discounted hotel rooms for Thursday night are being held at two Huron hotels. Information for these hotels is on the website.
It happened at a Board meeting
The Dakota Baptist Convention Executive Board met August 5-6 in Mandan. The meeting was moderated by Board chairman John Flowers (West Fargo, ND: Living Hope).
The Friday evening session included worship led by Scott Ristau (Aberdeen, SD: Sovereign Grace) and a devotional from 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, shared by Dude Garrett (Fargo, ND: Journey Church). Reports were then shared by each of the Church Relations Missionaries and the DBC Executive Director, Fred MacDonald.
Following the reports, the Board acted on several items presented by the Administrative Team. These actions included approving the proposed 2023 budget and calendar to be presented to the messengers at the October annual meeting in Huron.
The Board then considered and approved the following motions: from the Admin Team:
The first motion came from a recommendation made to the team by MacDonald and the DBC’s Send Network Director Buck Hill. The recommendation was to combine the two property funds that came from church properties sold in the past by the DBC into one fund. These funds have been designated for new work, but there was no specific plan to use them. The strategy will be to assist church plants and replants in the Dakotas with assistance to these new works, direct assistance for planters, and other forms of promoting and assisting new work across the Dakotas. The fund will function like the Capital Improvement Grants Fund that assists churches with capital improvement projects. MacDonald will be working with Hill and the DBC’s two CPCs and four CRMs to implement the new strategy by mid-October.
The next motion came from a recommendation from MacDonald to the team to dissolve the Pioneer Memorial Fund and use the funds to replenish several frequently used Board-restricted funds. The fund was created several years ago to create investment income that could be used by the Executive Director to accomplish various miscellaneous Dakota-related purposes. The fund had been rarely used over the years and it was suggested that, rather than having this large sum of money sitting idle, it could better be used to accomplish work that could help accomplish the DBC mission to “partner together to strengthen established churches.”
Registration deadline for the second pastors/wives retreat is approaching
The deadline to register for the second of two pastors/wives retreat is September 7. This retreat will take place in Huron, SD, September 22-24. The retreat had to be moved to Huron from Pierre due to hotel difficulties.
The first retreat will be September 8-10 at First Baptist Church in Mandan, ND. 
Hills of Grace conducts six-week evangelism Sunday School class
Hills of Grace Fellowship in Rapid City, SD, recently wrapped up a six-week class on personal evangelism. The class was led by DBC Executive Director Fred MacDonald. He is also a member at Hills of Grace.
The class was made up of the entire youth class and several adults who took a break from their regular Sunday School class. Students learned that they have three stories that they can share that can help their family and friends come to Christ: their personal story of how they came to know Christ, the story of the gospel, and then inviting others to let God give them a story of their own.
The pastor at Hills of Grace is Jimmy Dettman.
Saverys accept call to Belle Fourche
Joe and Bethany Savery (Blunt, SD: Calvary Baptist) have recently accepted a call to join the staff at Connection Church in Belle Fourche, SD. Joe will provide leadership in the youth ministry and Bethany will assist with the children’s ministry.
Joe has been pastor at Calvary Baptist for the past five years. Prior to that, the couple led youth work at Hills of Grace Church in Rapid City. The Saverys have four children: Samuel, Adalyn, Melody, and Isabella.
Stephen Carson is the lead pastor at Connection Church.
Living Hope hosts active intruder training
Living Hope Baptist Church in West Fargo, ND, recently hosted an active intruder training for church leaders. The training was developed and led by DBC Church Relations Missionary Everett Hornbostel. The training is built around the acronym RISE. RISE stands for Report, Interrupt, Secure, and Evacuate.
Hornbostel also serves as pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Mobridge, SD. John Flowers is the pastor at Living Hope Baptist.
If any DBC church is interested in hosting a RISE training event, contact Everett at
First Baptist Webster celebrates pastor’s anniversary and mission team work
First Baptist Church in Webster, SD recognized the 20th anniversary of their pastor in July. Steve and Sandy Hargis have served the congregation for the past twenty years.
The church also completed renovation work on the building. They were assisted by a Missouri mission team, Global Compassion Ministries. The team made minor repairs, built a shed, put flooring in, and led VBS. Sandy Hargis said, “We were very blessed by them.” The team also did work at Bethany Baptist Church in Waubay, SD.
Dakotas introduce new church planting website
The mission statement of the DBC is, “The Dakota Baptist Convention exists as a network of Great Commission churches that partner together to strengthen establish churches and start new churches.” A new tool to assist in accomplishing this mission was unveiled last month.
The SEND Network Dakotas website is now up and running. It contains information on how to become involved in church planting in North and South Dakota. The website address is The site can also be accessed with .org or .net.
This new website will serve as a partner site to the DBC primary website, For more information on church planting, contact Buck Hill at Buck is the Send Network Dakotas director. You can also contact one of the DBC’s two Church Planter Catalysts: Stephen Carson ( and T. J. Green ( Carson and Green also serve as pastors in the Dakotas in Belle Fourche and Williston, respectively.
Belle Fourche youth Sunday School class helps meet needs in Illinois community

by Alysia McCord
The Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) hosts an annual event in support of NAMB planters and missionaries in the month of August. It is called “Christmas in August.” During “Christmas in August,” the WMU accumulates requests from NAMB workers. They share these requests that Southern Baptist churches can read and determine how they can meet those needs.
The “Deeper” class, the middle school Sunday School class of Connection Church—Belle Fourche, SD, participated in the event during July and August.
The class chose Pastor Vince Bissey of Requiem Church in Alton, Illinois. Pastor Bissey requested items that would assist a local center that provides support services for pregnant women. The youth decorated a Christmas tree with card “ornaments” that had needs for the resource center written on them. Church members picked up the “ornaments” over the summer and left items to be donated for use in Illinois. Items gifted included gifts for ladies, diapers, baby toys, and Target gift cards. The items were shipped to Illinois in mid-August. The “Deeper” class also prayed for the Bissey family and their work in their community. 
WMU provides tremendous mission education resources for local churches. For more information about the work and service of the WMU, visit
“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 Minot, ND

Waypoint Baptist Church: Jeff & Amelia Musgrave
Jeff & Amelia have a long history in the Dakotas. They came from Arkansas as mission volunteers doing youth work, first in Rapid City, SD and then Whitewood, SD. Jeff later served several years as pastor at First Baptist in Langdon, ND, before joining the DBC staff to work in discipleship and leadership development. Today Jeff is a CRM with the DBC, interim pastor for Crossroads Baptist in Minot, ND, and a replanter.
Waypoint Baptist Church in Minot is a replant of North Hill Baptist Church on the north side of Minot. We started meeting with a few people from the old church and have now transitioned to people who have come since the replant started. We currently meet in a weekly Sunday night Bible study with our family and two other couples. I have been meeting weekly with a couple of our guys for discipleship and leadership, and they have been taking on duties leading Bible study every other Sunday through this summer. We have done a couple of community cookouts in our neighborhood this summer, and we have had some visitors thanks to that as well. We are close to dividing into two Bible study groups and looking forward to doing a Sunday morning worship time when we add additional groups in the mix.

We use a Bible study method based around Bible storying and discussion, and we have seen God at work in that process in the lives of those who attend. Our goal is to reach the community through these groups and bring them together for worship as we grow. Eventually, we would like to see God raise up additional leaders to start groups/churches in other communities around Minot and the northern part of central North Dakota.
Pray for God to give us opportunities to reach our community. Pray for our men who are growing as leaders to be ready to lead others. And pray for God to continue to grow our faith and our reach as we minister to Minot and the communities around us.
NOTE: You can contact Jeff & Amelia Musgrave at
2) 14 Ways to be Involved in Church Planting . . . Dakotas Style!

Way #7. Discover unreached/underreached people in your community: Your church can help in the discovery process about the community you live in. You can conduct community surveys to gather information about your community. You can survey your own congregation to see who your people are. Once you compare these two surveys, you just may find there are many people in your neighborhood who probably would not fit in your church. Helping to get a new work started targeting those people may be a great ministry and encouragement to your church.

Implementation Suggestion: Contact our Send Network Dakotas director Buck Hill or one of our two Church Planter Catalysts (CPCs). Ask them to help you discover and understand the demographics of your community. Seek to identify any unreached or underreached people groups that live in your area. Find out as much as you can about these groups and seek ways to reach out to them with the love of Christ.
“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.”
6 ways social media affects your ministry...

DALLAS (BP) - Social media has fundamentally changed the way we communicate with one another. Thoughts are broadcast to followers in a matter of seconds, generating quick public criticism or praise. Posts can be as entertaining as your latest...

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*click image above to link to CP story with powerpoint image download
DBC Monthly Newsletter, September 2022

Dr. Fred MacDonald, Editor
Alysia McCord, Managing Editor
Marissa Shimer, Print Editor
Dakota Baptist Convention
P.O. Box 549, Rapid City, SD 57709