Montana Baptist E-News

The Montana Baptist E-News | September 2015

MTSBC Calendar












Pastor's Conference

MTSBC Annual Meeting (Bozeman)

Get Real West (Missoula)

ELEVATE Training (Bozeman/Missoula)

ELEVATE Training (Miles City/Great Falls)

International Missions Emphasis


Church Planter/Wives Retreat (Fairmont)

Church Starting Team Retreat






























Winter Blast

Elevate Training (Belgrade/Missoula)

Elevate Training (Great Falls/Miles City)

North American Missions Emphasis

Executive Board Meeting

MPact Montana 2016 (Billings)

VBS State-Wide Training

Legacy Youth Worker Training

Cooperative Program Sunday

Get Real East (Billings)

Elevate Training (Manhattan/Missoula)

Elevate Training (Miles City/Great Falls)

Celebration for Women

Summer Missionary Orientation (Bozeman)

SBC Annual Meeting (St. Louis, MO)

Peru Mission Trip

Peru Mission Trip

Elevate Training (Manhattan/Missoula)

Elevate Training (Great Falls/Miles City)

Montana Missions Offering Emphasis

MTSBC Exec. Board Meeting

Pastors' Conference (Great Falls)

Pastors' Wives Luncheon (Great Falls)

MTSBC Annual Meeting (Great Falls)

Get Real West (Missoula)

Elevate Training (Manhattan/Missoula)

Elevate Training (Great Falls/Miles City

International Missions Emphasis

MT Missions Darren Hales, right, pastor of Big Sky Fellowship in Helena, recently visited with some potential church planters. Here, he shows them areas in the state capitol where church plants are needed.

BOZEMAN, Mont. — A 10-year partnership between the Tennessee Baptist Convention and the Montana Southern Baptist Convention has mutually benefited both parties, leaders agree.

The partnership has been “a shot in the arm” for Montana Baptists, observed Steve Fowler, a church planting missionary who was state missions director for the Montana convention when the partnership began. Tennessee Baptists will forever be known as one of our partners that helped us move forward,” Fowler said, adding that the partnership exceeded his expectations.

Kim Margrave, volunteer missions specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, agreed. “The partnership definitely has helped both conventions,” she said. More...

MT Missions A scenic view of Bozeman, one of the seven primary cities targeted by the Montana/Tennessee partnership. Teams also worked in and around Helena, Butte, Missoula, Billings, Great Falls, and Kalispell.

MT Missions William Johnson, left, church planting missionary for the Montana Southern Baptist Convention, and Kim Margrave, right, volunteer missions specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, visit with Sean Stevenson, pastor of Crossroads Church in Bozeman. The nearly 4-year-pld church has been assisted by Tennessee volunteers since its start.

MT Missions Volunteers from Ridgeway Baptist Church, Memphis, (from left, Isabella Everett, Carrie Ray, and Kymberly Kirkpatrick) conducted Vacation Bible School at Lakeside Baptist Church in Lakeside, Mont., in July. The volunteers are among thousands who have participated in the partnership between the Tennessee Baptist Convention and the Montana Southern Baptist Convention which began Jan. 1, 2006 and will conclude Dec. 31, 2015.

Montana is classified by the North American Mission Board as “a new work state,” meaning that it is a largely unreached missions field.

According to the convention’s website, Southern Baptists in Montana represent less than 1 percent of the population and evangelicals number less than 10 percent.

Despite the distance between the two states, thousands of volunteers from Tennessee made the two to three day trek (by car) to Montana since the partnership officially began on Jan. 1, 2006. It will end Dec. 31.

“Distance was a factor but not an issue,” Margrave observed. She noted that because Montana is a “destination” state, volunteers initially were willing to make the long trip. There is an “intrigue” factor about going to a western state, she added.

After going there once, many of the volunteers saw the overwhelming needs that existed.

For Tennessee Baptists, traveling to Montana was an “eye-opening” experience because it did not take long for Tennessee volunteers to realize they were no longer in the Bible belt, added Margrave. “There were not churches on every corner and, more importantly, there was a definite lack of gospel presence there,” she observed.

“The impact Montana has made on Tennessee has helped us realize that not everyone, even in our own country, has access to the gospel,” Margrave added.

Because of that, “our churches were willing to make the sacrifices needed to travel to Montana because they saw the tremendous lostness in the state and the urgent need to share the gospel there,” she said.

Margrave observed that early in the partnership Montana Baptists expressed the desire that the partnership would be “church to church. We tried to connect a Tennessee church with a Montana church or church planter,” she said. And it worked. The relationships that have been established have been invaluable, said William Johnson, a church planting missionary based near Bozeman.

The relationships formed have had the biggest impact on the state, added Johnson who had just started a new church in Manhattan when the partnership began.

First Baptist Church, Sevierville, “adopted” his congregation and made numerous trips to Montana to assist Gallatin Valley Baptist Fellowship.

TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis was pastor at FBC, Sevierville, when the partnership started.

“As a pastor I had the joy of first getting to know Montana through the eyes of William and Teresa Johnson in the church they planted in Manhattan. First Baptist, Sevierville, helped the Johnsons as they planted that new work,” he observed, adding that the “partnership between our churches was rich, rewarding, and fun.”

Johnson noted that the financial help along with the prayer partners and missions teams supplied by First Baptist were a huge asset to Gallatin Valley.

First Baptist also enabled four members of Gallatin Valley to join them on a missions trip to Haiti. Johnson noted that for a new church start, participating on an international mission trip was viewed as impossible. “It was empowering for us,” he recalled.

After Davis became executive director of the TBC he noted the partnership between the two conventions was in full bloom.

“Long and continued connection has allowed me the privilege of getting to know my counterpart at the MSBC, Fred Hewett. My respect for Fred and his wife Cherryl is deep. “His vision, drive, and competency is so very obvious. We are very thankful that God has allowed churches and associations all over our state to be blessed by our partnership with our wonderful friends in Montana.”

Hewett, who has been in Montana for eight of the 10 years, agreed with others that “the strength of the partnership has been the focus of connecting churches with churches. “Many seeds have been planted over the years. In fact several TBC pastors/church members have followed God’s call to ministry and moved to Montana,” Hewett observed.

Hewett is grateful for the support of TBC and Davis. “He has been a blessing to me and our pastors. We are looking forward to him being with us at our annual meeting in October,” the MSBC executive director added.

In addition to all the churches which traveled to Montana, a number of TBC staff members made the trek to assist their counterparts there. Accounting staff conducted the annual audit for the Montana convention, other TBC staff led numerous conferences, and assistance was provided in helping Montana develop their disaster relief unit, Margrave said.

"We wanted to be responsive to their needs and be a part of what they were doing,” she added.

Montanans appreciative

Other Montana missionaries and pastors expressed appreciation to Tennessee Baptists for their work in the state for the past decade.

Tennessee volunteers were no strangers for Michael Liner, a church starting missionary based near Butte. Liner was reared in Chattanooga.

Liner said teams from Tennessee have helped a number of churches in the area with events ranging from conducting Vacation Bible School and backyard Bible clubs to helping with festivals and prayer walking. “All of the Tennessee teams I have been associated with were good,” Liner said.

Dave Strand, associate pastor of Floral Park Baptist Church in Butte, also has had good experiences with Tennessee volunteers. “The partnership has been good for us. Teams have helped us make connections in the community,” he said.

Connections in local communities have been an important facet of the partnership, Johnson agreed.

“The influence of missions teams in the community make an impact,” he said.

He noted that in Manhattan he would often be asked, “Are your friends (from FBC, Sevierville) coming back?” Johnson said teams that came to Manhattan wore T-shirts with Gallatin Valley’s name on it. As teams did things that benefited the community, residents associated it with Gallatin Valley Baptist. “It gave the church a positive name in the community,” he said.

Darren Hales, pastor of Big Sky Fellowship in Helena, also has been the beneficiary of a number of Tennessee Baptist teams. “I’ve never had a bad missions team from Tennessee. They always came to serve, help, and love,” he said. The fellowship and encouragement provided by Tennessee teams also is important to pastors in Montana, Hales said. “I’m always blessed and encouraged when a team comes. They love on you and help you,” he said.

Johnson agreed that the support from Tennessee has been important. “Ministry (in Montana) can be lonely,” he said. “Tennesseans have reached out to us and the contact has been huge for us,” Johnson added.

B. J. Hallmark, who doubles as both an interim pastor and director of missions in Great Falls, has served in Montana for 31 years and he can vouch that ministry there can be lonely.

Unlike Tennessee where it seems there’s a Baptist church on every corner, that’s not the case in Montana. Distance creates isolation, Hallmark said. He noted that in one of his pastorates, the nearest pastor was 70 miles away. He observed that Tennessee volunteers “have made a tremendous impact.”

Hallmark cited the relationships that have been created because Tennessee pastors have come to lead revivals and churches have helped with construction projects and other missions activities in Montana.

“We’ve had one-on-one church partnerships and some of those will continue after the partnership has concluded,” Hallmark said. “Relationally, this is the best partnership Montana has ever had,” he added.

Did not disappoint

Steve Fowler knew the reputation of Tennessee Baptists before they came to Montana. He had served as a pastor in Michigan while they were partners with Tennessee. “Tennessee Baptists did not disappoint us,” Fowler said.

Tennessee Baptists have helped restart churches in the state and have plugged in virtually every way possible, Fowler continued. Fowler cited the work of a vision team that came to Missoula as one of the most significant results of the partnership.

“Our work in Missoula was almost non-existent,” he recalled. The work there is much stronger today because Tennessee Baptists prayed for that city. “I give God the credit for using that vision team,” he said.

Johnson stressed that the relationship with the TBC has been such a boost for their work in Montana. “We will miss the Tennessee Baptist partnership,” he said.

See this article on the Tennessee Baptist and Reflector


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The Tennessee Baptist Convention


2015 Pastors Conference & Annual Meeting, Pastor's Wives Luncheon

The Montana Southern Baptist Convention


Montana Executive Board Adopts Budget

The Montana Southern Baptist Convention

Billings -- Members of the Executive Board of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention approved for recommendation to the messengers of the MTSBC annual meeting a budget of $1,353,170 for 2016.

The 2016 budget reflects an increase in Cooperative Program giving, support of Yellowstone Christian College and the addition of a new state staff position. The budget must be adopted by messengers during the annual meeting October 6-7 held at Crossroads Church, Bozeman, Montana.

“The budget includes funding for a position we have never had,” Executive Director Fred Hewett explained to the Executive Board. The new role is focused on reaching the next generation. Hewett said, “if we are serious about Kingdom work in Montana then we must become very intentional about reaching and discipling youth and college age individuals.” More...

“That is the purpose of this new staff position. The role’s primary purpose is to work with churches and church leaders to train, equip and resource them for youth and college ministry,” Hewett continued.

In further action the Executive Board approved a recommendation from the Study Team to sell the state office building. The Study Team was appointed by Dr. Bruce Speer, MTSBC President, at the March meeting to consider the best use of our current office space in light of the down-sizing of the state staff over recent years.

Those serving were Daniel Lambert, BJ Hallmark, Darren Hales, Fred Hewett and Bruce Speer “The desire is to be sure that we are being good stewards of the Lord’s funds and trying to better position us as a convention to be less dependent upon the North American Mission Board,” Speer said.

After thorough research on the value, marketability, the costs to keep and maintain the building the Study Team made its recommendation to the Executive Board. The vote was unanimous to list the property for sale at $700,000. The office will remain in Billings in a smaller and more practical office space.


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Crossroads Church, Bozeman

Over the years I have learned that some of the most practical and relevant lessons in life are those that you hear over and over. Even though I know the information, a reminder brings it to the forefront of my attention and reminds me of its importance. What I often find is that even though I know the information, I am not always acting on it until I hear or see a reminder. Hopefully this short article will be a reminder of how we all can be involved in church starting and church growth.

As a parent we utilize this principle of “reminding” on a daily basis. “Wash your hands,” “brush your teeth,” “take your dirty clothes to the laundry,” and “watch for traffic when you cross the road” are examples of common phrases that are repeated to my boys and have been repeated for nearly 14 years for one and 11 years for the other. Is this new information? Absolutely not! Do they know this information and know how to carry it out? Absolutely! Do I have to say at least some of them every day? No doubt! More...

Recently I was reminded of three simple principles that are at the core or foundation of all church starting, as well as, church growth strategies, plans, or activities. Even though I know the principles, hearing them worded in a new or fresh way, once again reminded me of their importance in my Christian life and in God’s kingdom work.

Principle #1: Prayer = Power

It is very easy to start working on the list of all that we have to do each day, without first asking God for His power and His direction. Dr. John Bisagno stated at Mpact Montana a few years ago, “Put the Lord before the list.” What a great way of reminding us to spend time in prayer with our Heavenly Father. Through prayer, ask God for lives to be transformed by His gospel, for churches to be started because of the overflow of the harvest, and for churches to grow in strength and number.

Please pray for God to send laborers into the harvest. Pray for communities that need a church. Pray for our MTSBC church starters such as Church of the Rockies, Elevation, Outdoor Life Ministries, Mission Valley Ministries, Crossroads Church, Flathead Outdoorsmen Church, and Training Ground Church.

Principle #2: Church Starting is not FOR evangelism, it is BECAUSE OF evangelism.

The Gospel of Mark says that we are to sow the seed – the seed being the good news of Jesus Christ. Seed is to be cast often and widespread. Some will find fertile ground and take root resulting in transformed lives. Churches will be a result of believers gathering to be discipled, to grow in their spiritual walk, and to continue to cast more seeds.

Principle #3: If disciples are made, churches will be started.

As disciples are made, there is a desire to reach others with the gospel and to see more disciples growing in Christ. As a result, more people will be reached and more churches will be started! May this simple reminder be foundational as you consider how we can impact Montana for Christ.

Montana Southern Baptist Convention

Montana Baptists Connect With Peruvians

The Montana Southern Baptist Convention

Consultation/ Gospel sharing time at one of the clinics.

For the fourth time, Montana Southern Baptists traveled to Peru to participate in the annual mission trip partnering with Tom Cox World Ministries.

Traveling from July 27 through August 8, 2015, everyday brought a blessing for the team of six that were able to take part on mission.

52 team members from throughout the United States, gathered at the Tom Cox World Seminary in Trujillo, Peru on Tuesday, July 28 and hit the ground running.

There were 7 teams assigned to different locations, two of the places required a long bus ride and staying throughout the entire time while others were in Trujillo. More...

MT Missions Lynn Stumberg teaching a fitness class.

MT Missions Dr. Alamand, MO, treating patients at the medical clinic.

MT Missions Stan Bricker, left with Jose, a young man he led to the Lord two years ago. Jose now hosts a house church in his home with his grandmother.

MT Missions Laura Brown, standing, helps with child care during the women’s conference.

MT Missions Pina Colada cakes were served as part of the lunch for the women’s conference. The menu was taco salad Peruvian style- with guacamole and Pico de Gallo, Cornmeal rolls and cake.

MT Missions Ramona Jefferies, OK, helping with the cooks for the women’s conference.

MT Missions The ladies for the women’s conference.

This year was a number of firsts for many of the team. There was a sewing class at the seminary for ladies from the churches and missions. A fitness class was also offered and the 2nd annual women's conference was held. Over 130 women came to the women's event held on Saturday, August 1.

Daily Bible clubs, door to door evangelism, nightly revival meetings and medical and eye clinics were held. At each church service held throughout the week and twice on Sunday, the team members attended, gave testimonies, shared special music or gave a message.

600 professions of faith resulted from the multiple opportunities that were available for the gospel to be given.

Stan Bricker, Billings and Tom Pritchett, Helena, had the task of helping a church that had split in the fishing/ cannery village of Chimbolte, three hours away. They worked with the remaining members of the church doing house to house visits.

BG and Lynn Stumberg, from Helena were amazing help in any area that was needed. Lynn taught the fitness class for women and spoke at the women's conference. BG was able to preach and do house to house visits, just to name of few.

New to the team this year was Laura Brown also from Helena. Laura is a high school student and enjoyed every minute of the trip. She helped with Bible Clubs, medical and eye clinics.

Diana Bricker, Billings, co- coordinated the women's conference with Kay Cox.

The team flew to Lima on August 6 and enjoyed debriefing and celebrating all the God had done while doing the mission work.

August 7 was the time to say goodbye to old and new friends and journey back to Montana. The team all arrived safely back to the treasure state by 6:00pm on Saturday August 8, without any delays.

Below is an excerpt from the TCWM blog page by Eric Ramsey:

Tito Sevilla, the TCWM missions coordinator in Peru, said that he believes this the most effective team he has seen over the past 17 years that TCWM has been sending volunteer teams to the country.

"Although there have been times that we have seen more than twice this number of professions of faith, with half the number of team members, I have to agree with Tito," said Eric Ramsey, TCWM president. "There are many more very tangible measurables  than just professions of faith — both physical and spiritual." Ramsey explained that the team "operated like a well-oiled machine" and "consistently and faithfully communicated the love of Jesus Christ through their words, attitude and actions."


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Joseph Mattera

Nine Contrasts Between People Pleasing and Principle

Joseph Mattera, Baptist Press News

The general axiom regarding leadership is: If your greatest goal is to please people, become an entertainer; if you want to be a great leader, expect to have continual opposition.

Nine Traits of Crowd Pleasing Leaders:

I. They care more about being sensitive than solidifying their team around vision There are times when you have to take people off your team because their laxity regarding commitment waters down the standard necessary to obtain the goals. Other times leaders have to let certain people go because their qualifications do not match their desire and passion. Faithfulness is not enough sometimes, ability plus faithfulness is the match needed to accomplish purpose. When making these necessary changes feelings are sometimes hurt. More...

II. They become men-pleasers rather than God-pleasers Remember King Saul’s response to the Prophet Samuel when rebuked for not obeying the Lord (1 Samuel 15:19-24). Saul was removed from being the King of Israel because he cared more for the opinions of men than the favor of God. Truly, “the fear of man is a snare” (Proverbs 29:25) Many elected officials tend to take public opinion polls and consult focus groups before they do anything of consequence. This may be necessary to gauge the attitude of the culture, but public opinion should never become the plumb line regarding ethical standards. We have too many politicians, not enough statesmen!

III. Their emotional state is dependent upon the affirmation they receive day-to-day Strong leaders are driven by the vision the Lord has given them, not by the daily conversations and affirmation of their staff, team, and those around them. Those driven by a need for affirmation usually have emotional highs and lows akin to a yo-yo. They are always either very happy or very depressed depending upon other people’s assessment of them.

IV. They don’t have clarity of mind and heart regarding the voice of the Lord Because they are always subconsciously between two opinions (discerning the voice of God and the will of the people), their spirit is muddled and they become duplicitous. We can only serve one master. God cannot be served if there are other gods in your life.

V. They Don’t Communicate Based on the Full Spectrum of Truth They only either preach wishy-washy messages, or communicate one-on-one in a way that is postured more to please the listener than to present the truth at hand.

VI. They tend to avoid confrontation and value peace more than victory and truth They will be one way with one person, then another way with another person. Their desire to be liked is so strong that all their relationships are duplicitous and never reflect core values and principles. Consequently, every person they speak to thinks they agree with them, even those sitting on opposite poles conceptually.

VII. They Tend to Run a Very Informal and Lax Organization They run a laissez-faire (anything goes) organization that often has very little administrative and organizational excellence. Often, they allow a culture of ease that lacks excellence with an unaccountable environment.

VIII. They tend to overpay their staff They pay to please rather than remit pay commensurate to the quality and skill of the employee. They reward staff based on personal affection rather than job performance. This “good ole boys club” eventually goes out of business because of under achieving.

IX. They are intimidated by principle-centered leaders People pleasers are generally intimidated by principle-centered leaders because they do not know how to manipulate them with flattery. People fear what they cannot control.

Traits of a Principle-Centered Leader:

I. They Lead Based on Principle, Not on People The divine vision they have trumps the affirmation they receive from the people. Thus, they are not afraid to make decisions that displease their staff or some of the people they lead. They realize that people will respect them more if they hold to principle than to vacillate based on people.

II. Their hearts and minds are focused on pleasing God first God-centered leaders are able to hear the voice of the Lord clearly. Their minds and hearts are not weighted down with the worry of pleasing every person around them.

III. They are secure in themselves because they receive their primary affirmation from the Lord Secure leaders know who they are, what they are called to do and focus on their primary assignments. Insecure leaders are scattered because they are always saying yes to everyone and never have enough time to get tasks done correctly.

IV. They hold up in unstable environments during opposition to the vision In the emotional IQ test, the most common trait of a great leader is their ability to handle an enormous amount of stress and their ability to problem solve. Principle-centered leaders have the most upside in these two areas because people who are doing the right thing have more perseverance and clarity of thought.

V. They have organizations built on integrity and truth Principle-centered leaders have the best chance of building multi-generational organizations because that which is built upon truth will last the longest.

VI. They are not afraid to confront in love One of the most common reasons for stress in most people is because they bottle up their emotions because they are not willing to confront other people. Hence, they layer their anger, resentment, and pain with busyness and phony relationships that fail to get to the root of the issues. The Bible commands us to confront one another, have transparent relationships, and keep short accounts (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 John 1:7).

VII. They have a stable personality and are consistent Because their affirmation is from the Lord, principle-centered leaders are upbeat and filled with vision, purpose, and joy because they are living to please the Lord, not the mercurial emotions and desires of people. Those around these leaders know that, no matter what season it is, their leader will always be consistent in their actions and goals.

VIII. They value truth and principle more than peace among their team They would rather lose a team member than compromise the vision or obedience to the Lord. (Of course, we are speaking about major issues, not minor things we are called to overlook in love.)

IX. They understand that engendering respect is more important than engendering feelings of love Leaders are not called to be everyone’s close associate or friend. A leader will go a lot further with the gas tank of great respect than that of feelings of love. Principled people will tend to follow a leader they have great admiration and respect for more than a person they merely love. Respect comes from years of having a good track record of accomplishments; love can come after just one deep conversation.

Joseph Mattera has been in full-time church ministry since 1980 and is currently the Presiding Bishop of Christ Covenant Coalition.


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