Montana Baptist E-News

The Montana Baptist E-News | August 2014


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10.7 Pastors’ Conference

10.7 Pastors’ Wives Luncheon

10.7-8 MTSBC Annual Meeting


11.6 Staff Meeting

11.7-8 Get Real West

11.7 ELEVATE Training (Bozeman/Missoula)

11.8 ELEVATE Training (Miles City/Great Falls)

11.27-28 Thanksgiving Day Office Closed


12.30-1.7 International Missions Emphasis

12.10-11 Winter Staff Retreat

12.11 Christmas Party

12.25 Christmas

12.24-31 Office Closed

Doug Hutcheson

Celebrating the Celebration Church

Doug Hutchison, MTSBC Strengthening Team

As I travel around the state working with the churches I find that there are 2 kinds of churches with which I visit. First there is the celebration church. They know why they have come to worship as they worship the Lord Jesus and all he has done for them and it is quite evident even when you arrive on the premises. They have an attitude of joy and anticipation as they greet one another and worship together. They may not have the best musicians or music or the best facilities, but they know who they worship and they worship with their hearts. They celebrate each victory that the Lord gives to them and they find the victories even in the smallest of gifts from the Lord. They even pray with exuberant hearts.

There is another kind of church and it is one in which the people are going through the motions of worship. They are mechanical in their form and their function. It seems like there is nothing to celebrate and they have no hope or joy. They seem to have forgotten all that it means to be a child of the Living God and the grace and goodness that he bestows on them each day. Here are some characteristics of the celebration church and how you can effect change in your church to be a celebration church.

1. They work at making worship a celebration. They know who it is they worship and they acknowledge it in their music, prayers, welcoming, and their giving. They have an attitude of gratitude for what they have. They approach worship as an expression of celebration and they find ways to express it in their lives. What are you grateful for when you gather with God’s people?

2. They look at ways to challenge their people to grow and worship the Lord. They are looking at ways to change and encourage their people to worship. It is a growing experience. They are not about the status quo and are not concerned with just their preferences for worship. In fact they work at including guests and visitors into their worship experience. How are you changing up your order of worship and getting out of the rut of routine?

3. The atmosphere is affirming and not negative. They work at making people feel welcome and they offer ways that involve people to come to know Jesus and to follow him without being negative. This does not mean that they don’t preach about sin, but they offer an invitation to know Jesus and follow him. Are you offering times of confession and repentance?

I was in a church recently that worshipped with choruses and hymns, they prayed for another church in their community (not of their denomination), they had a time of prayer for those who wanted to come to the front for prayer with the church leaders, and showed a great video on the attitude of gratitude in giving of their offerings. They also took time to celebrate with a baptism and with a victory they had in ministering to their community. It was truly a worshipful experience. I think the Lord was honored! You too can be a church that celebrates in worship. If you want more info contact me or Mark.


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MTSBC Church Strengthening Team

Vision 20/20
Vision 20/20

Meet the Bell Family

Montana Southern Baptist Convention

“Connecting those who love the outdoors to the love of Jesus Christ” is the vision statement of Ken and Cary Bell, church starting couple in western Montana. The Bells are currently living in Bonner and are praying and working toward starting a church in this community.

Ken and Cary have been married for 15 years and have four children. Their oldest son, Tyler, is 13 and likes sports and outdoor activities. Haley is 12 years old and enjoys acting and writing plays and stories. A second daughter, Katelyn, is 10 and enjoys gymnastics and just spending time with her family. At the age of 4, Caleb, enjoys NASCAR racing and wrestling with his brother.

Ken graduated from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, with a Bachelor degree in Biblical studies. Prior to their move to seminary, the Bells lived in Salman, ID, where Ken worked for the US Forest Service as a Wildland Fire Manager. Cary also attended college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Deaf Studies. Before answering God’s call to stay at home and focus on being a wife and homeschool teacher to her children, she taught second grade for six years. Cary has been involved in leading children’s ministry, leading vacation bible school and teaching women’s bible studies.

As a family, the Bells have always enjoyed being outside together and enjoying outdoor activities. One of their favorite things to do is take a walk together or find a nice trail to hike. Ken and Cary agree, “We love being out in God’s creation and marveling at His majesty.”

Prior to arriving in Montana over a year ago, God was leading them to be involved with an “outdoor” style of ministry. The Bells recognize that western Montana abounds with opportunities to enjoy the outdoors - hunting, fishing, white water rafting, rock climbing, snowmobiling, skiing, camping, hiking, and much more. They see that this has made it difficult to reach those who are not in church because many people participate in their favorite outdoor event on the weekends. Therefore, this church plant will not look like a traditional church or meet according to traditional time lines. The Bells believe they will reach their community in a manner and time when they are more available and receptive to meet and worship God.

The Bells moved to the Missoula area over a year ago and Ken began an internship with Outdoorsmen Church, a church that has similar ministry visions, goals, and philosophies of reaching people for Christ. Ken is now serving in an apprentice role with Outdoorsmen Church. During the first four months of the internship, God showed Ken and his family that the Bonner/Milltown area in Montana was where He wanted them to plant the church. Since that time God has opened so many doors for them in the community. Their goal is to reach individuals and families who are currently not attending any church, to build relationships with them in order to build trust, and to demonstrate or live a Christ-centered life as they live life together.

Ken and Cary believe that they need to be intentional about making personal relationships so they plan on having church services during the work week. This would allow those that they seek to share the gospel with, to still be engaged in their activities with their family and friends on the weekend. It will also provide opportunities for them to seek and build relationships during that time with people doing what they love to do.

The Bells are living out their plan. First of all, God has provided for a house for the Bells to move into in the Bonner community. They have also done several things to reach into their community. They have worked with the Bonner PTA to help with some children’s activities, chaperoned a dance, served cookies at a Christmas drama, and held OutdoorsFest at the school at which they had many people to attend.

Just last week they hosted a mission team from North Carolina which helped them paint a building and picnic tables at the school as well as cut and deliver wood to an elderly couple in town. They also were able to meet many people in the community at a Family Fun Day/BBQ and water Olympics in the park. Even though the temperatures were the coldest for the week during the water Olympics, they had over 100 people to attend!

These are just a few examples of the things the Bells have done and will continue to do to meet people in order to share Christ in the community of Bonner. Please pray for them as they seek to see God’s kingdom grow in western Montana.


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Bell Family - Church Planter Profile

MTSBC Church Planter Profiles

Outdoorsmen Church

Bruce Speer

7 Ways to Find Graceful Boldness

Dr. Bruce Speer, Montana Southern Baptist Convention

The Bible makes it clear that boldness this is one of the characteristics of great leaders. Acts 4:13, 4:29, 31, 28:31.

But exactly what is Biblical boldness? Let me take a couple moments of your time and explain what bad boldness is and what graceful boldness will enable you to do.

Boldness will always take you further than reluctance. But, boldness is dangerous. Lack of boldness is a bedfellow to inaction. But, boldness is an ugly beast when taking too far.

The sins of inaction destroy more than failure. So it takes character and skill to act boldly with grace.

Characteristics of bad boldness:

  • Uses anger and fear as energy.
  • Reacts "against" more than pushes "forward."
  • Is loud in private and quiet in public.
  • Is arrogant, rude, and ill mannered.
  • Acts like an angry child when it does not get its way.
  • Takes vengeance and holds grudges.

  • Characteristics of graceful boldness and how it enables leaders to:

  • Face uncertainty with grace, confidence, and realistic optimism.
  • Keep trying when progress is slow.
  • Serve when under-appreciated. Rise above self-pity.
  • Pause and re-think, and ask clarifying questions.
  • Is willing to say, "I don't know."
  • Accepts correction with gratitude.
  • Is willing to change course. When the horse is dead dismount.
  • Try again and again after failure.
  • Take action when failure matters.
  • Express what's in your heart.

  • Last, let me give you some ways to find graceful boldness.

  • Keep doing stuff until you find what you really love, then keep doing what you love.
  • Humility is the heart of healthy boldness. Put others at the center, not yourself. The greatest freedom is seeking another's highest good.
  • You develop courage by doing courageous things, small things, but things that cost you some mental and spiritual excursion.
  • Cultivate friends who bolster your boldness. Invite people into your life who see your frailties and still believe in your potential.
  • Embrace restlessness and discontent with a "make it better," not a, "make it perfect," approach. Perfectionism is fear in disguise.
  • Treat people with kindness, generosity, and high expectations.
  • Forgive offenses quickly. But hold people accountable.

    Missions Giving is Our Heartbeat

    Dr. Fred Hewett, MTSBC State Executive Director

    I am often asked, “What ties us together as Southern Baptists in Montana?” A big part of that answer is our commitment to missions at home and around the world. From our very earliest days Southern Baptists have always been a mission-minded people and mission giving has been our heartbeat.

    This strong tradition is very alive and well in Montana. 2013 was our very best missions giving year of our history and 2014 is on pace to exceed last year.

    The Cooperative Program is our primary means of funding our state convention and its ministries, our two mission boards, our SBC seminaries and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Annie Armstrong is our support for the North American missionaries, Lottie supports our International missionaries and Montana Missions stays here at home to support Literacy Ministries, Campus Evangelism, Hunger Ministries, Pastoral Emergencies and Church Planting.

    Thank you for your faithful, generous and sacrificial giving to our four primary missions offering.

    MTSBC Missions Giving

    January-June 2004

    Download Full Report


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    Cooperative Program Offering

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    Dave Ferguson

    New Kind of Scoreboard

    Dave Ferguson, Lead Pastor at Community Christian Church (Illinois)

    Growing up in Chicago, I remember a couple scoreboards. There was a scoreboard at the old Comiskey Park where my White Sox played when I was a kid—I I loved it! Every time someone hit a home run, the scoreboard would explode with fireworks.

    Another scoreboard I remember is the one on the sanctuary wall of the little rural church my Grandpa and Grandma attended in Farber, Missouri. That scoreboard, like all the other scoreboards, was there to tell us if the home team was winning. Winning, according to that church scoreboard, came down to a couple key measurements: attendance this week versus last week; and offering this Sunday versus last Sunday. As long as both were increasing, then the church was winning.

    Here’s my observation: Most churches are still using a scoreboard similar to the one used in my grandparents’ church. Now, I doubt your church is still using the wooden “register of offering and attendance,” but maybe it lives on a program passed out on the weekends, or is plotted out on an Excel spreadsheet, or is accessible on the church website. What most churches are measuring is still the same: how many nickels and how many noses—offering and attendance. In Comiskey Park fashion, we need to explode the old scoreboard! Why?

    Exploding the Old Scoreboard

    There are at least two problems with the current scoreboard:

    1. It is entirely possible for a church’s attendance to be growing, while the kingdom of God is shrinking! Right now, there are more people attending church on any given weekend in the United States than ever before! We could conclude that U.S. church attendance is growing and therefore we must be winning, right? Wrong! While there are more people attending church than ever before, a smaller percentage of the total population in every state in the country is attending church than ever before! If we are content with that, we will never accomplish the mission of Jesus.

    2. It is entirely possible for a church’s attendance to be growing, but the impact of the church is shrinking. The second problem is that, even if church attendance numbers were increasing faster than our country is growing, that stat completely ignores other vital statistics. I believe God is interested in a neighborhood’s crime rate, the percentage of people living below poverty level, the high school graduation rate, home ownership and more! Church attendance says nothing about the social metrics of our communities. And church attendance says nothing qualitative about the lives of the people in our churches. An attendance graph that is up and to the right does not guarantee that people are faithful in following Jesus and displaying the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.

    My friend and futurist, Reggie McNeal, describes a new scoreboard and three shifts that are taking place in forward-thinking churches.

    1. From internal to an external focus

    McNeal says, “First, we must move from an internal to an external focus. The church does not exist for itself. When it thinks it does, we’ve created a church-centric world. Our perception of reality is skewed. By external focus of ministry, we radically reorient to understand that we exist primarily to do ministry beyond ourselves.”

    One of our newer sites at COMMUNITY is on the far north side of Chicago in the diverse neighborhood of Edgewater. This new location understands what it means to be externally focused. For more than a year before ever having a celebration service, Rich and Dori Gorman and their team volunteered every week in the local elementary school and at the alderman’s office. When we had the first celebration service at Swift Elementary School, the place was not only packed with people who were part of COMMUNITY, but also people who were part of several other not-for-profits that we honored. This new site of COMMUNITY was both “in” and “for” the Edgewater community from the very beginning.

    There are now a number of very creative metrics being used by churches that have made the shift from an internal to an external focus. They are measuring the number of hours that volunteers from their church are investing in the community. Other churches have placed a priority on measuring the number of partnerships they have with local not-for-profits. The first shift we have to make is from internal to external.

    2. From program development to people development

    (Reggie) McNeal continues to make his case by saying, “We need to move from a program-driven agenda to a people-development agenda. Over time, the North American church has largely become a collection of programs run by staff or lay leaders. While we will certainly continue to have programs, I believe a new, people-development agenda will base its sense of accomplishment on how well its people are doing, not its programs. If you start with people, the programs then serve the people, not the other way around.”

    I’m convicted that the best kind of people development happens through apprenticeship—a life-on-life relationship where one person invests in another. At COMMUNITY, we have used the “5-steps” for developing people and leaders with tremendous success. This is simple, reproducible and can be used with any leader at any level. Here are the steps:

    1. I do. You watch. We talk.

    2. I do. You help. We talk.

    3. You do. I help. We talk.

    4. You do. I watch. We talk.

    5. You do. Someone else watches.

    Because of our commitment to people development and leadership development, we keep track of and report every month how many apprenticeships are taking place and what percentage of our leaders have apprentices.

    3. From church-based to kingdom-based leadership

    McNeal explains the third shift by saying, “It is really a leadership response to the other two. It will require that leaders move from a maintenance or institutional model of leadership to a ‘movement model’ of leadership. Leading a movement is very different from leading an organization. Christianity was largely a street movement in its early days, when it turned the world on its head. Once we institutionalized it and put it into the hands of the clergy to run, then we lost the virility of that movement. It became all about institutional management. We have to return to the kind of leadership that’s required in leading a street movement, if we’re going to recapture that energy.”

    In Acts 1:8 Jesus gave His team of apprentices a final challenge by saying, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Jesus was describing a movement that would start right there with this small band of brothers and sisters and would move from Jerusalem across Judea into Samaria and, ultimately, around the globe of this planet. Jesus was casting a vision for a movement that would accomplish His mission. Church-based leaders only see the four walls and the programs of the building from which they lead. Kingdom-based leaders see the four directions of north, south, east and west and look for people whom they can invest themselves in to accelerate the movement of Jesus to the far-reaching parts of the world.

    At COMMUNITY, we have exploded the old scoreboard of counting only nickels and noses and are now keeping track of what we call the “family tree.” Annually, each campus is asked to account for the attendance of not just their campus, but of all the campuses and churches they have helped plant and reproduce. A great example comes from our Montgomery Campus. This campus has a 1960s church building that was given to us and seats almost 200 people. Every weekend they have one Saturday night service and two Sunday services and average about 450 in attendance. But, if you look at their “family tree” metric, it averages an outreach of over 1,200 weekly because they have launched two local campuses, as well as a church they planted in Boston.

    The motivation to destroy and explode the old scoreboard is all about accomplishing the mission of Jesus. And to accomplish the mission of Jesus (not just where you live, but globally, like Jesus describes in Acts 1:8), there must be movement!


    Dave Ferguson is the lead pastor of COMMUNITY an innovative multi-site missional church who is passionate about “helping people find their way back to God.” COMMUNITY has grown from a few college friends to thousands every weekend meeting at 14 locations throughout Chicagoland and was recognized as one of the most influential churches in America. Ferguson provides visionary leadership for NewThing whose dream is to be a catalyst for a movement of reproducing churches. He is an award-winning author of books such as The Big Idea, Exponential, On The Verge and Discover Your Mission Now!.

    This article was adapted from the FREE eBook Keeping Score: How to Know If Your Church Is Winning by Dave Ferguson–part of the Exponential Resources Series.

    Yellowstone Christian College

    Why Excellence Matters

    Bruce Cannon, President, Yellowstone Christian College

    I was surprised several weeks ago when an influencer said to me, “Accreditation brings ‘big brother’ to the doorstep and dictates our ability to stay true to Christ.” My response was that we are being evaluated by a faith-based agency, the Association for Higher Biblical Education (ABHE). My friend double-downed on his response, “I don’t think anyone should be telling us how to think or act.” Herein is the problem: there may be a misunderstanding of accreditation.

    Accreditation encourages (forces) institutions to do with excellence what the institution claims it is doing. ABHE is not telling YCC what to teach, only requiring YCC to prove it is doing with excellence what it claims it is doing. Accreditation evaluates the claims of educational plan objectives, goals for each objective, and student progress toward those objectives and goals. Accreditation also evaluates financial solvency, administrative and board effectiveness, as well as student life issues. Each evaluated area confirms the truthfulness in all that is claimed.

    Excellence matters in all areas of life. This is especially true with preparing YCC students for life. Educating and coaching students to effectively serve in our churches demands excellence in all that YCC attempts. Excellence is holistic involving a growing spiritual maturity, solid academics, pleasing interpersonal skills, financial wisdom, and a keen sense of calling whether or not the student is pursuing full time ministry. With this in mind, accreditation matters.

    Yellowstone Christian College is seeking accreditation for its academic programs. Moving to Candidate Status, projected in February, 2015, will provide the opportunity for Pell grants for students, access to the FAFSA system, greater transferability, and permission from the Montana University System to add a variety of associate degrees to open the enrollment door even wider. These issues benefit Christian students looking for an affordable, quality, Christian education.

    These are good days at YCC. Strong moves are being taken to strengthen the college. God is opening doors and blessing in a variety of ways. We continue to thank the churches and individuals who help make Christian education in Montana a reality. Excellence is not just a by-word, it’s our mandate.


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    Yellowstone Christian College