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Dakotas increase CP percentage SBC causes

ABERDEEN, S.D. (BP) — The Dakota Baptist Convention increased its giving again to the SBC Cooperative Program missions and ministries — by one-half percent for 2016 — during its annual meeting.

This brings to 23 percent the amount forwarded from CP giving by the two-state convention’s 26 churches in North Dakota and 62 churches in South Dakota to Southern Baptist national and international causes.

This continues CP percentage increases from 16 to 20 percent in 2014 and from 20 to 22.5 percent in 2015. The data also reflects an increase of four churches since last year.

“While our [eventual] aim is to reach 50 percent… our [more immediate] goal is to raise our CP percentage for the next five years to 27 percent by 2020,” DBC Executive Director Garvon Golden said. “This decision was made by our Executive Board last July and is reflected in our proposed budget.

“This is important for us because it is a move toward taking greater responsibility for the work in the Dakotas and worldwide,” Golden said. “Our churches and pastors desire to send more resources to reach people for Christ in the nation and beyond.”

The budget and election of officers were the only business conducted during the two-day annual meeting of the convention. No resolutions were proposed. DCB staff and SBC entity representatives made reports.

The 31st annual meeting of the Dakota Baptist Convention, with a theme of “Preach the Word,” drew 65 messengers and 12 guests, and a total attendance of 120, for the Sept. 24-25 sessions in Aberdeen, S.D., at the Best Western Ramkota Inn.

A Pastor’s Conference with Jimmy Draper, former president of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, and three others — Jeff Crawford, TC Melton and George Ross — preceded the annual meeting.

“Our meeting this year was marked with good attendance, a good spirit and great unity,” Golden said. “We continue to grow and accomplish the 2020 goals we set in 2013. God continues to work in the Dakotas as we add new churches and see our existing churches strengthened.”

Messengers approved a $457,000 budget for 2016, including $325,000 in Cooperative Program giving from churches in the Dakotas; $50,000 from the North American Mission Board; $60,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources; $12,000 from church health/development funds; and $10,000 in interest income. In addition to the total, NAMB is to provide $527,000 in grants, $440,000 for church planting and $87,000 for evangelism.

Doug Hixson, outgoing Pastor’s Conference president and DBC vice president and pastor of Connection Church in Spearfish, S.D., was elected president of the Dakota convention.

Elected as vice president and recording secretary, respectively, were Steve Ford, associational missionary in Siouxland Baptist Association and pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Vermillion, S.D., and Karen Holmes, church clerk and pastor’s wife at First Baptist Church in Wolsey, S.D., recording secretary. Last year Holmes was assistant recording secretary. Jonathan Land, church planter at Connection Sioux Falls, S.D., was elected assistant recording secretary.

“Evangelism and discipleship are inseparable,” Golden said in his annual report to messengers. “The Dakota Baptist Convention desires to help churches develop strategies to accomplish both.”

Golden outlined basic guidelines to accomplish the strategies:

1. Focus on prayer and spiritual awakening “in the Dakotas, across our nation and the world,” Golden said.

2. Help churches know how to build bridges of hope and relationship to their communities to help share the Gospel boldly and freely.

3. Help churches develop an evangelism plan and a disciple-making process to move them toward health and growth.

4. Train and offer expertise to assist churches in sharing the Gospel everywhere with everyone using all possible methods.

5. Celebrate with churches and the two-state convention as a whole “God’s work among us in reaching people for Christ and making disciples,” Golden said.

Hixson challenged every Southern Baptist church in the Dakotas to participate in a mission trip to another Southern Baptist church in the Dakotas in 2016.

“Our people are the best untapped resource of the Dakotas,” Hixson recounted after the meeting. “I challenged our Dakota Baptist churches to plan a mission trip before the next annual meeting, to partner our churches.

“That was very well-received,” Hixson said. “Before we left the meeting, several churches had connected.”

Mike Brennan, pastor of Sharps Corner Baptist Church on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, led part of the worship time during the Friday morning session of the annual meeting. He sang a Native American Christian song, led in a prayer dance and played “Amazing Grace” on a native flute.

Brennan asked for prayers and for reconciliation for the people on the Pine Ridge Reservation who live in one of nation’s poorest counties, with an annual income of about $6,286, according to Census Bureau statistics. The reservation has “massive amounts of suicides and alcoholism,” Brennan said.

The DBC’s Book of Reports also noted the annual ministry at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. In this, its 10th year of evangelistic outreach, 6,195 Gospel presentations were made and 607 people prayed to receive Christ during the evangelism tent’s 87 hours of operation.

During the ministry’s 10-year history, more than 38,000 people have received a Gospel witness and more than 7,200 have made professions of faith in Jesus Christ as their “boss,” to state a term frequently used at Sturgis.

The 2016 annual meeting of the Dakota Baptist Convention is set for Sept. 22-23 in Bismarck, N.D.