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Garvon Golden to retire as Dakota executive director

RAPID CITY, S.D. (BP) — Garvon Golden, executive director/treasurer of the Dakota Baptist Convention since 2012, has announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31.

“After serving in denominational life for the last 20 years I am excited about retiring into pastoring again,” Golden, 66, told Baptist Press. “I hope to finish my life ministry in the local church as a pastor and preacher of the Gospel.”

He will remain in Rapid City, S.D., to pastor Christ Church, where he was involved in its founding by Richard Wells eight years ago.

In a letter to the administrative committee of the Dakota convention’s Executive Board, Golden wrote that “the only reason I have decided to announce my retirement at this time is because I believe this is how God is leading me.” He said it has been “an immense honor to serve the churches of the Dakotas.”

Golden has participated in the growth of Southern Baptist work in the Dakotas since he arrived in North Dakota to be pastor of First Baptist Church in Dickinson in April 1985 from his first pastorate in Powderly, Texas.

He was elected as the Dakota convention’s first director of evangelism in 2005, with a second responsibility — DBC associate executive director — added in 2008.

Earlier, he served as director of missions for the Black Hills Area Baptist Association in South Dakota for five years, pastor of First Baptist Church in Williston, N.D., for eight years and pastor of First Baptist Church in Forsyth, Mont., for four years.

During Golden’s tenure as the Dakota convention’s executive director, key accomplishments included:

— A 40 percent increase in Cooperative Program giving from Dakota churches over the seven-year period.

— Increasing the convention’s giving to national and international CP ministries from 16 percent of receipts from the churches to 28 percent.

— Downsizing the DCB staff.

— Casting a new vision for the convention focused on coaching pastors and church leaders and encouraging pastors and families.

And he was a longtime leader in the national evangelism ministry during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally using the evangelism model developed around the three-minute testimony, with Gospel presentations to more than 60,000 attendees in 13 years.

Golden hold an M.Div. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and an undergraduate degree from East Texas State University.

He and his wife Cindy have four adult children and 10 grandchildren.

In his letter to the DBC administrative committee, Golden wrote, “I believe in the next six months, I can finish strong and set the next [executive] director and the DBC up for success,” in such areas as planning for the convention’s annual meeting in October and the 2020 budget; composing a “need to know” list for the next leader; and bringing the work of the child sexual abuse task force and state staff study task force to a close.

The Executive Board’s administrative committee will conduct the search for Golden’s successor: Dude Garrett, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Fargo, N.D., chairman; Bob Farmer, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Minot, N.D., vice chairman; Sean Donnelly, pastor of Black Hills Baptist Church in Whitewood, S.D., and president of the convention; Jimmie Dettemen, pastor of Hills of Grace Baptist Church in Rapid City and DBC vice president; and Anne Marie Caldwell, member of Calvary Baptist church in Rapid City.