Montana Baptist E-News

The Montana Baptist E-News | December 2014


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2.3 Staff Meeting

2.6-8 Winter Blast (Fairmont)

2.13 Elevate (Bozeman/Missoula)

2.14 Elevate (Miles City/Great Falls)

2.24 Staff Meeting


3.2-9 NAMB Emphasis

3.5 Executive Board Meeting (Great Falls)

3.5-6 MPact Montana (Great Falls)

3.20-21 VBS State-wide Training

3.28 Legacy Youth Worker Training


4.5 Easter

4.7 Staff Meeting

4.12 Cooperative Program Sunday

4.17-18 Get Real East (Billings)

4.17 Elevate (Bozeman/Missoula)

4.18 Elevate (Miles City/Great Falls)

4.23-25 Celebration for Women (Great Falls)


5.2-3 TSBA Pastors Retreat

5.13-16 Spring Staff Retreat

5.17 Elevate (Bozeman/Missoula)

5.18 Elevate (Miles City/Great Falls)

5.26 Memorial Day, Office Closed


6.1-3 Summer Missionary Orientation

6.2 Staff Meeting

6.15-17 SBC Annual Meeting


7.2 Independence Day, Office Closed

7.27-28 Send North America

7.27-8.8 Peru Mission Trip


7.27-8.8 Peru Mission Trip

8.4 Staff Meeting

8.10-12 Shepherding the Shepherd


9.6-27 Montana Missions Offering Emphasis

9.1 Staff Meeting

9.7 Labor Day, Office Closed

9.4 Elevate (Bozeman/Missoula)

9.5 Elevate (Miles City/Great Falls

9.15-16 MTSBC Executive Board Meeting

9.29 Staff Meeting


10.6 Pastor's Conference (Bozeman)

10.6 Pastor's Wives Luncheon (Bozeman)

10.6-7 MTSBC Annual Meeting (Bozeman)


11.5 Staff Meeting

11.6 Elevate (Bozeman/Missoula)

11.7 Elevate (Miles City/Great Falls)

11.6-7 Get Real West (Missoula)

11.26-27 Thanksgiving, Office Closed


12.9-10 Winter Staff Retreat

12.10 Christmas Party

12.24-31 Christmas, Office Closed


Every Believer a Witness at MPact 2015

Mark Langley, MTSBC Strengthening Team Leader

Certainly the first work of ministry of every Christian should be the sharing of our faith…don’t you agree? I truly hope so. And if you do agree then an opportunity to do that kind of equipping is coming your way.

M-Pact 2015, March 5-6, is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and church strengthening endeavors of all time in our state convention. It is our privilege to introduce you to the ministry of Dennis Nunn, founder of Every Believer A Witness.

At M-Pact, Dennis will conduct a three-session workshop for pastors and church leaders on how to conduct an Every-Believer-A-Witness campaign right in your own church.

I have read through the materials and listened to Dennis Nunn teach this exciting process of showing people the simple yet powerful joy of being a witness. This process is going to give God’s people a great tool for sharing their faith. The difference in this process and the many others that we have experienced is that this resource is given to the corporate church.

Witnessing can and should be an obedient act of the entire community of faith. Far too long we have expected our church members to rise up and take individual responsibility for personal evangelism. And I ask you, how has that worked?

On the other hand, the Every Believer A Witness campaign is a church-wide, faith-family-based endeavor. Pastor, you will be equipped to take this material back to your church and through a weekend campaign ignite a fire of compassion for the lost and sow a seed of desire in the hearts of your people to be what God intended for them to be… a witness.

The MTSBC Church Strengthening Team has decided that this training process is so important for our MTSBC pastors and churches that we will be paying all fees and material costs so that our pastors can receive this valuable training.

I believe that this M-Pact Montana will truly impact our state for the cause of Christ. But Pastor, your responsibility starts now!

You must not hesitate or procrastinate. Go here and and select "yes" under Every-Believer-A-Witness Pastor training workshop.

When you do, you will receive your workbook plus a complete set of training DVDs.

I hate to break this to you. I know you are too busy for homework. But the time that you take to prepare for the M-Pact workshop will simply enhance your learning as well as guarantee the success of your own Every-Believer-A-Witness church campaign. Take a look at the promo video on the state website. You will be challenged by the testimonies of other pastors who have experienced a church revival because they were obedient to the use of these materials.

Let us pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on us. Jesus is coming soon. The time is short. I’ll see you March 5-7, 2015 at M-Pact Montana in Great Falls.

Register now and come prepared to see what God wants to do in His church through your obedience.


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Every Believer a Witness Homepage

MPact 2015 Registration

Ronnie Floyd

Pleading with Southern Baptists

Ronnie Floyd, Southern Baptist Convention President

Get Real West in its second year was twice as awesome!

November 7-8 over 230 teenagers and youth workers from nearly 50 MTSBC churches in Western Montana gathered together in evangelistic celebrative worship, biblical training and fellowship.

Hosted by Meadowview Church in Missoula, students experienced the power and presence of the Holy Spirit as many gave their lives to the Lord and others recommitted to Christ. There were about 50 students who made first time decisions of faith in Christ!

One pastor who brought several youth from his church said, "Wow! Get Real was a terrific opportunity for many students on the west side of the state to gather for the first time and to meet with the Lord! Thanks so much for your efforts, leadership, and ministry to the youth, the youth leaders, and the churches this past weekend! I was blessed along with many others."

Get Real speaker, Mike Thibodeaux brought the truth with power, humor, relevance, and freshness.

Worship was led by Urban Rescue who did a wonderful job of leading worship that students could truly connect with and brought their focus to the Lord.

Event organizer Jim Taber, serves as the state coordinator for youth ministries with the MTSBC. Jim also led a session on Saturday morning to encourage and train youth leaders.

Dr. Fred Hewett, State Executive Director said, “Jim did an amazing job of organizing and promoting this youth event. Jim understands the eternal importance of reaching the next generation for Christ. We are committed to hosting these events for Montana teenagers every year.”

Get Real East will be held March 17-18, 2015 at Emmanuel Church in Billings.


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Get Real

Meadowview Church, Missoula

Vision 20/20
Vision 20/20

Merck family portrait, MTSBC Church Planters.

Church Planter Profile: Lee Merck

Montana Southern Baptist Convention

Lee and Christie Merck are new church planters in the small resort town of Red Lodge, MT. Lee comes with a variety of pastoral, evangelism, and associational ministry experiences. He has served as pastor in Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi, as well as church planting experience in Colorado. Lee has a variety of education experience as well earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, a Master of Divinity, and is currently nearing the completion of a Doctor of Ministry degree.

Lee and Christie Merck have been married for over 20 years and have four beautiful daughters: Maggie Lee Michelle, Beverly Caroline, Rebecca Colleen, and Ruth Abigail, all of which have been actively involved in their family’s ministries.

The Mercks moved to Montana as church planting interns and served a year in Livingston, MT. During this time, they felt God’s call to Red Lodge, a small town considered one of the Gateways to Yellowstone National Park located along one of the most scenic highways in the country, the Beartooth Highway. With a population of a little over 2,000 and no Southern Baptist Church in this town, the Mercks knew that there was a need for a witness and a church in this and surrounding areas. They partnered with The Rock Church in Laurel, a church who under the leadership of Pastor Greg Payton, had already been tilling the spiritual soil in this community.

During the last year, the Mercks have aggressively immersed themselves into the community and have served the residents in a variety of ways. They have hosted numerous mission teams which have been a huge asset in doing service projects in the community, hosting sports camps, block parties, and many other activities, services, and events to meet needs and build relationships so that the gospel message can be proclaimed. The Mercks have also utilized student missionaries and is currently hosting a church planting intern, Chris Baker.

One of the most effective ways of reaching into the community is through Common Ground, a hunger ministry that serves 80-100 people every Tuesday evening. Lee describes Common Ground in this way: “It's time to COME TOGETHER on COMMON GROUND at the LEGACY LODGE! Common Ground is a come and go event! Come, eat, enjoy, stay as long as you like, and leave whenever you wish. A delicious, hot meal will be served in a relaxed, friendly environment. The meal is ABSOLUTELY FREE and there are no strings attached.” Through this selfless ministry, many lives have been touched and this ministry has been a springboard to help launch Church of the Rockies.

Church of the Rockies launched on September 7, 2014 and had over 90 in attendance. A special part of that service was the baptism of two new believers. The church continues to do well and just baptized another this past week in the chilly waters of a nearby creek!

Continue to pray for Lee and Christie Merck and the Church of the Rockies as they continue to minister in Red Lodge, MT.


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Church of the Rockies Homepage

Church of the Rockies on Facebook


2014 Annual Church Profile

The Montana Souther Baptist Convention

MTSBC pastors are asked to complete the Annual Church Profile (ACP) by filling out the document online or mailing it in. Churches should have received the ACP form in the mail in early September.

“By participating in the ACP report, Montana churches can affect how the SBC allocates its resources by providing more accurate information regarding trends here in the West. In essence, the ACP helps us and the SBC be a better steward of resources,” said Fred Hewett, MTSBC Executive Director.

Please submit your church’s ACP information today. You may contact Jeannie Hayes ( or 406-252-7537) if you need assistance.

Go here for directions on filing your ACP

Rabea and Leonard Epps

Yellowstone Christian College is thrilled to announce the inaugural season of men’s and women’s college basketball in 2015. YCC will participate in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA).

Men’s coach Leonard Epps and women’s coach Doug Brakke are spending the 2014-15 academic year recruiting Christian students for 2015-16.

Coach Epps comes to Montana from Louisville, Kentucky. Epps played basketball at York College (Nebraska), and in Germany. He has been involved in numerous mission trips and ministries using his basketball skills. Epps’ personality is infectious as he speaks about his love for Christ and desire to grow students in their Christian walk.

Coach Brakke’s 22 years as a Billings Senior teacher makes him a local asset. Brakke is also well known throughout our recruiting region after seventeen years of coaching various girls’ teams. Doug and Brenda, married nearly 30 years, have two adult daughters. As an active church member, Brakke’s passion for the Lord, his family, and coaching are unmistakable.

YCC is a confessional Christian college. Therefore, just as all applicants, athletes must provide a written personal testimony of their faith and furnish a pastoral recommendation. Athletic and academic scholarships are available, as well as on campus work-studies. All basketball players will take full academic loads, live in the campus dorms, and participate in a weekly ministry. YCC offers affordable tuition with more than 95% of students avoiding student loans.

Please contact Enrollment Dean Max Soft for information on how to get started at YCC or to recommend a traditional or student-athlete (406 656-9950; More information may be found at


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Yellowstone Christian College Homepage

Bill Tinsley

Reflecting on the Ferguson Protests

Bill Tinsley

Every so often our nation’s façade of calm and quiet is peeled back to reveal racial unrest that simmers beneath the surface. In 1992, smoke rose above the skyline of Los Angeles where businesses and abandoned cars burned following the acquittal of white police officers in the beating of Rodney King. Last year thousands protested across the nation when George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. And last week, once again, protests boiled to the surface when the grand jury refused to indict a local police officer who shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Prejudice is a universal problem of the human condition. It exists in every generation and every nation. Wherever there are racial, tribal and cultural differences, prejudice will take root, fueled by pride, ignorance, fear, bitterness, resentment and anger.

So what can we do? We must affirm the rule of law in our land. We must live up to our pledge to provide “liberty and justice for all.” And we must recognize the problem is ultimately one of the heart that requires a transformation of soul and spirit.

We can do what Bennie Newton did during the Los Angeles riots. Risking his life to save a truck driver who was being beaten to death, Newton rushed to the victim’s side, lifted a Bible above his head and cried out, “Kill him and you have to kill me too!” We can do what the churches in Ferguson did last week. Worshipers from the mostly white St. Stephen’s and the Vine Church joined the predominantly African-American Wellspring Church for Thanksgiving dinner. We can embrace one another across racial divides, like the white officer who embraced the black youth in Ferguson during one of the protests. We can take actions, little and large, to reach out as Jesus did, across the chasm of prejudice to embrace those of different ethnicities and cultures.

Jesus gave us the example when he found it necessary to go through Samaria, a forbidden territory where no respectable Jew ventured. It was there that he sat down by a well, alone, entered in to conversation with a Samaritan woman, and extended to her the water of life. He crossed cultural, racial and traditional barriers to demonstrate God’s love for every person. As the children’s song says, “red and yellow, black and whiter, they are precious in his sight.”

When Paul was a young man he was filled with self-righteousness and contempt. He considered himself a Jew of the Jews, born of the tribe of Benjamin, superior to others by race, class and intellect. He once set out in an angry rage to arrest innocent men and women who disagreed with him. But after he met Christ, his heart was changed. He later wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourself.” (Philippians 2:3).


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The Tinsley Center


Good News: Housing Allowance Overturned, Dismissed

Roy Hayhurst, Guidestone

DALLAS — The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower court’s ruling that the minister’s housing allowance was unconstitutional. In the decision by the Chicago-based appeals court, it determined that the plaintiffs lacked standing to file the suit.

The appeals court vacated the trial court’s judgment and remanded with instructions to dismiss the case. The plaintiff’s only recourse would be to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The appeal was in response to a December 2013 decision by Wisconsin federal judge Barbara Crabb, who had declared the tax-free housing allowance unconstitutional. At the time of her ruling, she stayed the ruling, keeping it from taking effect, until the appeals process could run its course.

“This is indeed good news for ministers,” said O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources, which had filed an amicus brief in the case as part of a coalition of large and historic denominational pension boards. “Throughout the decades, there has been a recognition that the minister’s housing allowance is a vital benefit that is consistent with our constitution. We are thankful for the government’s defense of the housing allowance against this case and thankful to the appeals court for its decision in this matter.

“We are mindful that this might not be the last case of its type. Along with our ministry partners at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and our partners in the denominational benefits community, we will continue to remain vigilant to advocate on behalf of pastors.”

Roy Hayhurst is department head of Denominational and Public Relations Services for GuideStone Financial Resources.

Media Contact — Tim Head, Executive Officer for Denominational and Public Relations Services, GuideStone Financial Resources, SBC. Contact Mr. Head via email,, or by telephone at (214) 720-4706.