Dakota Baptists honor retired pastors
RAPID CITY, S.D. (BP) -- The Dakota Baptist Convention honored 11 retired pastors and their wives during its 28th annual meeting at Calvary Baptist Church in Rapid City, S.D.
Messengers approved a 2013 budget of $1.2 million, down $35,976 from the previous year. They also made constitutional changes and adopted resolutions on the upcoming national election and a renewed commitment to personal soul-winning.
The theme of the meeting was, "Renewing our Partnership in the Gospel," based on Philippians 1:3-6. A total of 75 messengers and 67 guests registered during the meeting Sept. 27-28.
David Wheeler, evangelism professor at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., presented a series of Bible studies. Steve Lindsay, president of the Dakota convention, and Garvon Golden, Dakota Baptists' new executive director, preached convention sermons.
A highlight of the meeting was the recognition of 11 couples with a combined total of more than 350 years of service to churches in North and South Dakota. Golden said the men and their wives had illustrated partnership in the Gospel by "planting their lives in the Dakotas." Each couple was given a carved bison made from North Dakota coal, which "symbolizes resilience," Golden said.
After honoring the pastors, Golden introduced new pastors and staff to the Dakotas and then asked the longtime servants to gather around the new staff and pray over them.
Of the $1.2 million approved for next year's budget, nearly $750,000 was designated for planting churches. Anticipated Cooperative Program giving from Dakota Baptist churches for 2013 is $275,000, and the amount of CP receipts forwarded for national and international ministries remains unchanged at 16 percent. The convention does not designate shared Dakotas/SBC expenses.
The change to the constitution involved clarifying requirements for seating messengers. The requirement that churches be members of associations to seat messengers was removed, and the requirement that giving through the Cooperative Program be "at least quarterly" was changed to "regular giving."
Throughout the two days of meetings, Wheeler delivered four Bible studies focused on obedient sharing of the Gospel. The idea of a "gift of evangelism" is not found in Scripture, Wheeler said. It is a requirement of every believer.
"Our purpose is to glorify God in all things," Wheeler said, "and our mission is to join Christ on mission by daily living out the Great Commandment and daily living out the Great Commission."
Wheeler added, "It's not about going to church. It's about being the church."
Messengers approved three resolutions. The first expressed appreciation to the host church. Calvary was the first church established by Southern Baptists in South Dakota.
The second resolution said "our current society and government are seeking to eliminate" many of the nation's cherished religious freedoms. It called on Christians to "pray for the upcoming election" and "participate in the election by voting biblical values." The resolution also affirmed a 2012 Southern Baptist Convention resolution "to defend the God-given and constitutionally guaranteed right of every American citizen to worship God freely in thought, word, and action, according to the dictates of his or her conscience."
The third resolution flowed from the challenge of Wheeler's Bible studies to engage in personal evangelism. The resolution called on Dakota Baptists to "be obedient in faithfully and intentionally sharing the love and gospel of Jesus Christ."
Two sermons were delivered during the meeting. In the president's message, Lindsay spoke on overcoming the trap of becoming discouraged, disheartened and disillusioned. Focusing on Galatians 6:9-10, he said, "You can be weary or not be weary. It's a choice."
Golden, who was named executive director of the Dakota convention in March, thanked Dakota Baptists for their confidence and for the love that he and his wife Cindy experienced during their decades of service in the Dakotas.
He commended the spirit of the annual meeting, saying, "I'm grateful this hasn't just been business; it's been fellowship." Golden then laid out his vision for the future. "The Dakotas is our responsibility. It's our time to touch the Dakotas."
The messengers elected Lindsay to a second term as convention president. Also reelected were Jeff Musgrave, pastor of First Baptist Church in Langdon, N.D., as vice president and Kathy Osborne, a member of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Grand Forks, N.D., as recording secretary. For the first time in many years, the convention elected an assistant recording secretary. Karen Holmes, a member of First Baptist Church in Wolsey, S.D., was chosen for the position.
The DBC Executive Board met briefly during a break in the annual meeting to elect officers for the coming year. John Flowers, pastor of Living Hope Baptist Church in Fargo, N.D., was elected to a second term as board chairman and Marion Davis, pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Aberdeen, S.D., was reelected vice chairman.
Fred MacDonald is an evangelism strategist for the Dakota Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).