Montana Baptist E-News

The Montana Baptist E-News | March 2016


Montana Exec. Fred Hewett Announces Retirement

Art Toalston, Baptist Press

Jeff Iorg

MTSBC Executive Director Fred Hewett

BILLINGS, Mont. (BP) -- Fred Hewett, executive director of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention, has announced he will retire after the convention’s annual meeting in October.

Hewett, 62, who has led Montana Baptists for nearly nine years, made the announcement March 4 in Billings during the two-day M-Pact Montana Conference for church ministry in today’s culture.

Hewett initially disclosed his retirement plans to the MTSBC Executive Board during their regular session March 3 then publicly announced the news at M-Pact Montana the following day.

To provide adequate time for the search process for the next executive director and for a smooth transition, Hewett said he will serve through the end of the Montana convention’s annual meeting the first week in October. More...

Darren Hales, president of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention, stated, “We love Dr. Hewett deeply and hate to see him go. He has been an outstanding leader for us through some challenging days.

“Because of his leadership, we are penetrating the lostness of Montana, are on solid financial footing and have a clear vision for our future. He will be hard to replace,” said Hales, pastor of Big Sky Fellowship in Helena.

Under Hewett’s leadership, the Montana convention’s Cooperative Program giving has recorded unprecedented growth, with 2015 as the sixth straight year of CP increases from the state’s 141 churches and missions/church plants.

“We did two things” to achieve the CP gains, Hewett said. “We promoted CP throughout the year and gave our pastors the tools they needed to tell the CP story, and they did. This is actually a testimony of our pastor’s leadership and our churches’ generosity.”

Amid changes brought the SBC’s Great Commission Task Force in 2010, Hewett said, “We have found stability and the North American Mission Board remains a valuable partner.

“We have created a strategy team led by a full-time state staff and five men serving part-time, each serving in a region of Montana. They are there fill the hole created when we lost our NAMB-funded associational missionaries. The strategy team’s primary tasks are to network pastors and churches together for encouragement and training; serve as a conduit of communication; assist churches and pastors in times of conflict and pastorless times; and leadership training for pastors and church leaders. It is working well for us thus far.”

The Montana convention also has created a full-time position called “director of next-gen ministries,” now filled by Adam Burt, whose primary task is to help churches reach and disciple the next generation -- youth and college age -- in Montana.

Hewett said the director of next-gen ministries coordinates the convention’s Get Real youth evangelism events in the eastern and western parts of Montana and leads the student missionary ministry and Winter Blast gathering of Montana college students and church youth/college workers for evangelism, training and resourcing.

An unmet goal, Hewett said, is attaining representation for Montana Baptists on Southern Baptist entity boards and on convention committees.

“I pray that Montana and other small conventions will soon have this recognition,” Hewett said. “Though we are small, it is very important to us. It will say that we are valued and a part of the SBC family. The irony is that we seek to meet the same CP percentage giving to Southern Baptist missions and ministries as those who have board representation, yet we are not deemed eligible for a seat at the table. I believe this is a little known fact among Southern Baptists.”

Following Hewett’s retirement announcement, the MTSBC Executive Board formed an eight-person search team and selected Bruce Speer, pastor of Crosspoint Church in Missoula, as chair.

“To replace Fred will be difficult,” Speer said, “but we know that God will reveal His man in due time. We look forward to launching a nationwide search and will post more information about the position in the next few weeks.”

Before serving as MTSBC executive director, Hewett had been a regional field rep in NAMB’s church planting group, planted a church in Jupiter, Fla., pastored in Atlanta and worked 12 years in the corporate marketplace with State Farm Insurance Company.

Hewett holds a doctor of ministry degree from Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, having earlier earned an M.Div. degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida.

After retirement Hewett and Cherryl, his wife of 40 years, will reside in Silverton, Colo.

Following Dr. Hewett’s retirement announcement the MTSBC Executive Board formed an eight person search team and selected Dr. Bruce Speer, pastor of Crosspoint Church, Missoula to serve as chair. Other members include Chad Scarborough, Shelby; Coby Bennett, Conrad; Frank Burns, Lewistown; Darren Hales, MTSBC President, Helena; Jim Taber, Emmanuel Billings; Darren Banek, Easthaven Kalispell and Jeff Cahill, Valley Church, Miles City.


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Fred Hewett profile on staff page

Baptist Press

Jeff Iorg Montana Southern Baptist fill the conference halls at the Billings Hotel & Convention Center

In 2015 new federal laws were passed that reflected the new American culture's views of unbiblical forms of marriage. Undoubtedly prompted by the heaviness of and publicity given to this topic, more people registered for the 2016 MPact Montana than ever before.

The theme for Mpact Montana 2016 was “Ministry in the New Marriage Culture”, drawn from a book written by the conference’s keynote speaker Dr. Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. The two-day event took place in Billings at the Billings Hotel and Conference Center.


Jeff Iorg (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Montana Southern Baptist fill the conference halls at the Billings Hotel & Convention Center to listen to Jeff Iorg speak on 'Ministry in the New Marriage Culture'

MPact Montana 2016 (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Stacy Gaylord, attorney and pastor at Lifeway Church in Billings, leads one of the breakout sessions

MPact Montana 2016 (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Montana Southern Baptist fill the conference halls at the Billings Hotel & Convention Center

MPact Montana 2016 (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Worship bands from Elevation Church (Billings) and The Rock Church (Laurel) led the congregation in a combination of contemporary worship songs and traditional hymns.

MPact Montana 2016 (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Montana Southern Baptists gathered from all over the state to hear different speakers address the topic of the 'New Marriage Culture'

MPact Montana 2016 (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Brad Saab, Pastor at Church at The Gates (Missoula), along with Bruce Speer, Crosspoint Community Church (Missoula), lead a session on counseling in the new marriage culture.

Dr. Iorg presented timely and relevant messages related to his book, “Ministry in the New Marriage Culture.” He shared real-life situations and challenges that the new culture presents to pastors, and provided wisdom for how to address them with Biblical truth and a dedication to preaching the transforming Gospel of Christ. “Our current cultural challenges will test the prioritization of Gospel ministry”, preached Dr. Iorg. “We need a radical recommitment to communicating the Gospel as the foundational message of our ministry.”

Breakout sessions centered on the same theme and addressed how the shift in marriage culture impacts ministry in many areas, including children’s ministry, preaching, counseling, youth ministry, and more. Other sessions supplied information regarding the legal implications of these changes on churches and other Christian organizations.

The teaching addressed issues that the church today is facing more frequently and offered solutions to provide wisdom and safety for churches and their leaders. Most sessions are available to view on E-Quip using the links below:

Watch MPact 2016 Breakout Sessions on Montana E-quip

A Question and Answer session was also held, featuring a panel of leaders who supplied answers to questions submitted by the pastors in attendance. On this panel were keynote speaker Dr. Jeff Iorg and Dr. Rick Durst, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Stacy Gaylord, LifeWay Church, and Steve Case, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.

When asked to comment about the experience, participants highlighted the relevance of the sessions to their ministries and the blessing of fellowship with others. "The mean age in our church is probably about 26 years-old or so, so these questions are coming up more and more, so this was a great time to educate myself on the issues," says Zach Todd of Generation Ministries in Bozeman.

Lance McMahen at Central Baptist Church in Lewistown echoed the sentiment that the new marriage culture markedly affects the younger generations. "I think the most impactful breakout session I've been to was the one on youth ministry, simply because that's where my heart is, so I see the great necessity that we need to be equipped to deal with these issues that we're facing these days."

At the beginning of 2016 the MTSBC hired Adam Burt as the Next-Gen Ministries Director, to assist Montana pastors and youth leaders in preparing for these issues and other challenges. "As the Next-Gen director for the state it's my job is to help churches do student ministry better, junior high up through college and twenty-something's," says Burt. "So I'll be meeting with different church leaders, and training to help us reach the next generation for Christ." He continued, "At the end of the day, you're just dealing with people who are broken in a different way. We just need to see people as people, and see past their sins and their hurt and love them."

Among the entities represented were Lifeway Christian Resources, Yellowstone Christian College, Next-Gen Ministries, Literacy Ministries, Lat 45 Adventure Ministries, Montana Southern Baptist Women, Montana Disaster Relief, Brotherhood Mutual Insurance, and Child Bridge Ministries.

During the last session, Dr. Fred Hewett announced his decision to retire from his position as the Executive Director of the MTSBC. His leadership will come to a close following the Annual Meeting in October 2016. A search committee has been formed to locate the next Executive Director for the Montana Southern Baptist Convention.


MPact 2016 Breakout Session Videos

Children's Ministry in the New Marriage Culture - Amy Carroll

Quality Children’s ministry is always demanding. Today’s culture brings new demands that cannot be ignored. Learn how your church can help children discover who they are in God’s eyes.

Counseling in the New Marriage Culture - Bruce Speer & Brad Saab

Pastors and ministry leaders are the first responders to families with questions about sexuality, gender-based moral issues and same sex marriage. Learn how to prepare and approach these topics from a biblical basis while helping families through these issues.

Ecclesiology in the New Marriage Culture - Rick Durst

A return to a robust ecclesiology is the first step of ministry in the new marriage culture. Examine what this means and how to return to the biblical “doing and being” church in today’s culture.

Gospel Confidence in the New Marriage Culture - Stacy Gaylord

How will our cultural transition impact the church? Will we advance, retreat or be content to maintain? Examine how the church has incredible resilience to flourish in times of cultural transition when it is gospel driven.

MTSBC Orientation for New Pastors - Fred Hewett & Darren Hales

For all pastors and wives who are new to Montana in the past year. Come meet other pastors, learn the ins and outs of effective ministry in Montana and hear about the MTSBC strategy, priorities, organizational structure and budget.

Q&A Session - Guest Panel

A time for general discussion related to the new marriage culture. This is the chance to ask questions of the four key conference leaders: Dr. Jeff Iorg, Dr. Rick Durst, Stacy Gaylord and Steve Case.

The Preaching Ministry in the New Marriage Culture - Jeff Iorg

Powerful and effective preaching is an ongoing challenge for every pastor. Hear tips and suggestions from one of the best communicators in SBC life on the preaching ministry.

The Pastor's Wife in the New Marriage Culture, Part 1 - Cherryl Hewett

This breakout is for minister’s wives only and is a 2 session block. Be encouraged as you rediscover the joy of ministry by your husband’s side and walk with him through the changing seasons of life and ministry.

The Pastor's Wife in the New Marriage Culture, Part 2 - Cherryl Hewett

This breakout is for minister’s wives only and is a 2 session block. Be encouraged as you rediscover the joy of ministry by your husband’s side and walk with him through the changing seasons of life and ministry.

Volunteer Worker Screening - Steve Case (coming soon)

Learn why basic screening of every volunteer who works with minors is now the standard practice for churches. Discuss how to implement screening policies and where to find resources for this essential practice.

Youth Ministry in the New Marriage Culture - Adam Burt & Don Sullivan

Today’s youth culture has migrated to acceptance homosexuality as normal behavior and rather than believing it to be sin and they view not accepting homosexual behavior as hateful. Discover how to address this value shift from a biblical basis and other essentials for youth ministry in the new marriage culture.

General Session 1 - Jeff Iorg

General Session 2 - Jeff Iorg

General Session 3 - Stacy Gaylord

General Session 4 - Jeff Iorg


More Photos from MPact 2016 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

MPact Montana 2016 MPact Montana 2016 MPact Montana 2016 MPact Montana 2016 MPact Montana 2016 MPact Montana 2016


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Montana Student Missionaries

Adam Burt, Next-Gen Director, MTSBC

Does your church need a boost?

Is there more ministry to do than you have time for?

If you said “YES!” A Student Missionary could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Whether your Student Missionary comes out of your own congregation or from across the country they can boost the excitement in your congregation and help you take advantage of ministry opportunities you just don’t have time for.

Student Missionaries can:

  • Start a Discipleship group for students
  • Promote Vacation Bible School
  • Come along side your current volunteers
  • Encourage the homebound with a visit
  • Host a prayer service
  • Lead service projects around your city
  • Organize the Sunday bulletin
  • The possibilities are endless…
  • More...

    I know your congregation will be encouraged when they see the hand of God moving through a young person to accomplish his plan. And you can encourage that young person with a $1000 MTSBC grant for their 8-12 week service in addition to valuable ministry training they can use for the rest of their life.

    The deadline for applications is April 15, so don’t delay.

    Go here to download the applications or contact Next-Gen Director Adam Burt at and 406-672-5532

    Pastor, father, husband, county employee, chaplain, hunter, and more are some of the many hats Eric Crusch wears during the day. Eric and his wife Jessica are serving at Elkhorn Community Fellowship in Townsend, Montana. They started out there after the church had died due to lack of participation and began from the bottom, building a new congregation all over again.

    Eric’s Montana roots run deep as his family has been here for 6 generations. He was born in Billings and moved to Park City with his family when he was three. A graduate of Park City High School, he went on a mission trip to Thompson Falls, Montana the summer after graduation and served as a youth leader. God affirmed the call to ministry during this trip and he enrolled at Yellowstone Baptist College (now Yellowstone Christian) in the fall of 2003. God continued leading Eric in ministry through a second missionary trip to Great Falls between his freshman and sophomore year of college where he was a Sunday School teacher, VBS worker, youth leader and even had several opportunities to preach. More...

    “I knew that it was what I was supposed to do with my life,” said Eric.

    Jessica was born in Denver, Colorado and moved to Wyoming at the age of three. Her parents accepted a call from the church in Ten Sleep, Wyoming when she was 12 and served there for 13 years. Her mission’s career began with week long trips to Casper serving with World Changers, it was at one of these week long events that God called her to the ministry. After graduation she was able to go on a trip with International World Changers to Ecuador and attend a two week training at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Between her sophomore and junior year at YBC, she served as a summer missionary to Treasure State Association doing children’s ministry.

    They met at YBC when Eric was asking for prayer for the Park City AWANA group. They badly needed workers. “I went up to Eric and told him I wanted to help with the group. He just looked at me with this blank look and I wondered if he didn’t want me to help,” laughs Jessica. “Then he told me that his mother would provide dinner every week and I was all in.”

    “What she didn’t know was I thought she was the most beautiful girl on campus and I was struck speechless when she was talking to me,” Eric replied. “We were engaged the spring semester of our senior year.”

    They were married on September 1, 2007, and now have three children: Kay Marie (4), Caleb Corban (3) and Katey Danielle (1). Both received BA degrees in Christian Leadership with an emphasis in Church Planting.

    Eric did his senior internship as the youth leader in Laurel and went on staff in January of 2007 where he served until February 2009. The family was called to plant a church in Townsend in 2009 and Eric also served as interim pastor for the Ennis church from February to May 2010. Elkhorn Community Fellowship held its first service in Townsend on New Year’s Day, 2011.

    “Everything I have ever done has been bi-vocational. I knew within a month of moving to Townsend that being bi-vocational would be the only way we could stay in Townsend. We didn’t have kids then but we knew we couldn’t last without another income,” states Eric. “I worked at a boot shop in Helena for a year, then the local hardware store for almost six years, and am currently working for Broadwater County in Maintenance.

    As many pastors will affirm, being bi-vocational is not easy for the pastor or his family. When asked how he continues to do it, Eric became very thoughtful. “I know I don’t do the best job at this but I try to make her and the kids a priority. Many people think time at home is to do other things, when I am home I try really hard to be home. If I have to work on a sermon I go to the church”, Eric reflected.

    Jessica added, “He is really good at piggybacking stuff. He does everything before he comes home so that when he is home he spending time with the family and doing things with his family. It takes patience on my part, if he could be home he would be. Understanding that he is doing the best he can, I find other outlets to work on the stress of him being gone so much. I like running, calling a safe place, doing a hobby, playing with the kids, and calling my family. It is important to build myself a support system outside of my husband, women are more social creatures by nature. I am a stay at home mom so have to make it a priority to build relationships on purpose, to have friends and acquaintances both in and out of church and in and out of town. Montana Ministry Wives Facebook page has been huge in staying connected, meeting new people and praying for each other.”

    “I make it work because I have a wife who bails me out all the time,” Eric says with a smile. “Really, I couldn’t do it without her.”

    He continued, “In a small town I pastor the community, and since Townsend is the county seat I pastor the entire county. Small church ministry is some of the most rewarding work we can ever have. Small churches have a huge impact on smaller communities, I saw it in Park City growing up. When I was young, a teenager committed suicide and the Park City Church was asked to hold the funeral. The church was packed and the entire community was there. It had a profound impact on the community through the church reaching out in ministry and serving the family of that young person.”

    Townsend has lost several young people in the last couple of years including two teens killed in a car wreck and the tragic death of their high school quarterback. Being part of the community enables people to turn to him even if they don’t attend the church.

    “I’m available, I have credibility with them through the organizations we are in and we care. I checked on all of my kids when two of our town kids were killed in a car wreck in the fall of 2015.” Eric states. “Being available leads to my biggest challenge-time management.”

    Time is in short supply for both Eric and Jessica. During the year he helps with “Shoot for the Cure” which raises money for breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation, holds a fulltime job at the county, is on the board of the Broadwater County Search and Rescue, and in February became the chaplain for the county. In his spare time he cut 75 cords of wood for local area residents.

    “As a chaplain I will be there for death notifications, at house fires to comfort the families, ride along with members of the sheriff’s department, am there for debriefing of emergency workers. The complete job description is being developed as there hasn’t been a chaplain in a while. It covers the EMTs, Search and Rescue, Fire Department and the Sheriff’s Department,” explains Eric. It is pretty open-ended now.

    Besides enjoying being a Mary Kay Consultant and the Fair Manager for the Broadwater County Fair, Jessica leads TeamKid, the praise band, nursery, and is the church secretary. She loves to read, quilt, hunt and do crazy random stuff with her family. “We just decide to take off and go when time permits. We love movie date nights, swimming with the kids and hunting together,” Jessica says with a grin. “You make time when your life is so busy to be a family.”

    The church has several growing ministries. All of their TeamKid were there at once last week and they received a very special gift from one of the families.

    “We received a thank you card from a mother of one of our TeamKid. She wrote to tell us thank you for the time you are investing in our children.” Jessica said with great emotion. “The program gives out Gideon New Testaments at Backyard Bible Cubs. Every night this child insists that his mother read a Proverb out it. The mother though it was a phase but 4 months later he was still doing it. So she wrote to let us know his life had been changed and he had a desire for God’s Word.”

    Another way their church has been a joyful blessing is potlucks. “They are always on the request list for activities and everyone loves them,” Jess relates. “For me, I love the praise team practice and Sunday morning service time. It lets me praise the Lord three times a week and that is really cool!”

    Elkhorn Community Fellowship is currently enjoying outreach in many different forms: TeamKid, a youth group, small group ministry, fair ministry in the form of cleaning up the grounds and running a diaper changing tent. Mission teams have come to help with Backyard Bible Clubs but Fall Fest is a special time when LifeWay Church of Billings brings their youth and joins them in manning the Rockwall. It is a great chance for the youth in Townsend to know that there are other Christian youth out there and they are not alone. Eric and Jessica also help with Slice of Summer three times a summer. They held one sports camp and would love to have the chance to do another one.

    When asked if there are there outreach ministries they are planning that the church would need special supplies or volunteers for in the future, Eric replied, “We are looking forward to try and do more sports camps to relate to the people in our area. In the last 3 years we have had state championship teams from Townsend in basketball, football, and tennis. We have very athletic community and it would be a great avenue to reach out to them. Anyone interested in helping or contributing please contact us at 1-406-949-0057.

    Small town ministry and bi-vocationalism are not just a stepping stone for Eric and Jessica to a larger church. It is a way of life that pastors and their wives all over Montana are making work through long hours and great sacrifice. If your church would like to come along beside a small church and help financially or in any other way, please contact the state office.

    Get Real East

    Get Real East (GRE) is just around the corner on April 15-16 in Billings, MT.

    Are your students going?

    This year GRE is proud to welcome Abandon to lead your students in worship. Abandon’s pop rock style is perfect for creating passionate and energetic worship sets your students will love. Their hit song “Providence” will keep your toes tapping while examining the Apostle Peter’s three denials of Jesus and how we’re temped the same way while “It was Love” slows things down to praise God for loving us enough to send Jesus to the cross. More...

    Teaching students the truth of God’s word in a way they’ll understand is 18-year student ministry veteran Chris Lovell. Chris currently works as the head basketball coach for Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano Texas leading his team to 4 straight state championships. With the heart of an evangelist and championship coaching ability your students will come away from Get Real East encouraged, inspired and equipped to to reach their peers for Jesus.

    In addition to four powerful worship sessions, four impactful teaching times and the kind of fellowship and relationship building only a retreat can offer students GRE offers training time for youth workers, parents and pastors. GRE packs all of this and more into a short Friday night and Saturday morning all for just $30.

    With students leaving the church in record numbers after high school you can’t afford not to send your students to Get Real East.

    For additional info, promotional materials, permission slips and more please visit the Get Real Page or contact Next-Gen Director Adam Burt at and 406-672-5532


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    Montana Southern Baptist Convention

    Yellowstone Christian College Adds Three Degrees

    Bruce Cannon, President, Yellowstone Christian College

    YCC ads new degrees

    Yellowstone Christian College president, Dr. Bruce Cannon, announced this week YCC’s accrediting body, ABHE (Orlando), granted the request for three new associate degrees. The degrees include YCC’s first non-theological offerings. “With the additional degrees, YCC is better able to serve Christian students in the Northern Plains region. While we continue to enroll only students who profess faith in Christ, we now open the enrollment door to many new students in addition to our current students,” Cannon relayed.

    The two new associate of science degrees are Business and Exercise Science. Cannon is convinced that “a business degree will better position YCC graduates to work in bi-vocational ministry as well as help navigate a church through issues beyond theology and church polity.” Business courses include accounting, leadership and management, legal and ethical issues, economics, and teamwork. These practical courses are in addition to the Bible, theology, practical ministry, and general education required courses. More...

    Exercise Science will focus on employment in the sports, exercise, fitness, and nutrition fields. Graduates will find this growing industry in need of employees demonstrating a biblical ethic regarding taking care of the physical body. Courses will include exercise physiology, nutrition, fitness certifications, and first aid. As with all YCC degrees, Bible, theology, practical ministry, and general education courses complete the degree plan. Dr. Surrena Michels is the degree coordinator.

    Music and Worship is YCC’s new associate of arts degree. Graduates will show proficiency in leadership and instruments, as well as skill in creating purposeful worship services. Application of music history and theory will be a major component of the degree. Bible, theology, practical ministry, and general education courses complete the degree plan. Dr. Mark Langley is the degree coordinator.

    YCC is located in Billings, Montana. The college holds Candidate Status with the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Orlando. YCC is applying for full accreditation in February, 2018. YCC currently offers associate and bachelor degrees in Christian Leadership with multiple emphases. Contact YCC by calling 406.656.9950, or on the web at


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    New Plant Launches in Missoula

    Planter Ken Bell of Outdoor Life Ministries, Missoula is set to launch their first worship service on Easter Sunday in a barn locate in the Lion's Park at 10:00 AM. For nearly 18 months they have been meeting in small groups preparing, training and praying for their public launch. They will begin with monthly preview service meeting monthly with plans to grow into a weekly service in a few months. Their sponsoring church is Outdoorsmen Church of West Missoula, Mark Hasenyager, pastor.

    Keystone Church in Manhattan

    Youth Pastor Rondie has started a Thursday morning breakfast and Bible study for the youth. It takes place at the church at 7:00 AM. They are excited to continue to see it grow. More...

    Common Ground in Churchill

    Multiplying a planting strategy that was effective in Red Lodge and Roberts, Pastor Curtis Crow, pastor at The Bridge, Belgrade has launched Common Ground in Churchill. Serving and connecting with many overlooked and needy people, Common Ground will provide a hot meal and a safe place to fellowship. They meet on Monday night and have been averaging around 55 people.

    Bedrock Church Bozeman

    Church Planter Michael Tyson has led Bedrock to a unique ministry in their community. They have developed a partnership with Irving Elementary School to provide supplies for the entire 2016-17 school year.

    Church of the Rockies Justin and Melissa Shipley join Church of The Rockies in Red Lodge

    Central Baptist Wild Game Banquet in Lewistown

    Central Baptist Wild Game Banquet in Lewistown

    Church of the Rockies in Red Lodge

    CotR welcomes their new worship pastor and his wife to Red Lodge. Justin Shipley, his wife Melissa and three children Kailyn, Micah, and Luke moved there from Ruston, Louisiana on March 3rd. Their first stop was to attend M-Pact in Billings where they connected with many new friends. They are excited to begin this new ministry.

    Central Baptist Church, Lewistown

    On Friday evening, January 22nd, approximately 180 members of Lewistown’s Central Baptist Church, and their invited guests packed into the church’s Big Snowy Room for their 11th Annual Wild Game Banquet.

    As attendees entered the banquet room, a display of several wild game antlers was set up which enabled participants to challenge their skill at scoring, and winning a prize for the overall, most accurate score. Within the banquet room itself, numerous other beautiful game mounts were displayed to the delight of the banquet attendees.

    Banquet food was plentiful with a serving line of four tables set-up offering a variety of incredibly delicious dishes featuring meats from elk, mule deer, white-tail deer, black bear, bighorn sheep, wild turkey, and pheasant. To complete the main meal a designated “dessert room” was also available for all to enjoy. While the dinner portion of the evening progressed, a hilarious video entitled “Stereotype Hunters” was shown highlighting comical clips of hunters as they gathered their supplies, and set out to stalk their prey.

    Speakers for the banquet included Central Baptist Church member Don Hartrich who provided the audience with an inspirational testimony of his faith, and the challenges he faced as a young man while growing up. Associate Pastor Jim Taber of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Billings spoke next, and intertwined his many year quest for the proverbial, and elusive trophy elk with points for faith living in today’s environment.

    To conclude the evening, multiple door prizes which included hats, vests, fishing poles, targets and other items were drawn for both youth, and adult guests with grand prizes of a youth rifle, and an adult rifle being given out to the lucky ticket holders.

    Living in the beautiful place that we do, we know that Central Montana provides for an abundance of outdoor activities which span all of the seasons. In recognition of these activities, and geared towards outdoor enthusiasts, Central Baptist Church would like to invite all community members to fellowship Bible Study at 7pm, on the 1st Thursday of each month to be held at the church. For more information please call 535-8765.


    12 Cultural Trends Church Leaders Can't Ignore (But Might)

    By Cary Nieuwhof,

    When you lead an organization — especially when you are responsible for leading an organization like the local church — there is a temptation to ignore trends or minimize the impact they will have on how you operate.

    It’s so difficult to gain and keep momentum, that when you have some momentum it becomes tempting to ignore the changes around you because they might force you to rethink your method.

    But the truth is that your method (your strategy, your approach, your plan) is not sacred; the mission is sacred. More...

    Andy Molinski calls it global dexterity: The ability to adapt behaviors across cultures without losing who you are in the process.

    Leaders who are willing to reconsider the methods to preserve the mission are usually the ones who succeed long term.

    While there are dozens of trends that are impacting the church, the trends outlined below are what I would call ‘organizational sleepers’.

    We all see them. Our lives are impacted by them every day. But many leaders are not talking about their impact.

    One of the reasons we’re not talking about these issues might be that few of these trends have implications for the church that are clear cut or obvious.

    Most of the thinking around these trends lead to wet cement conversations — thoughts that are open to reshaping, rethinking and reconsidering. Not every leader is comfortable with that kind of conversation.

    So I offer them as things we need to be thinking about, talking about and praying through.

    While there may be no clear answers, there should at least be conversation among leaders, boards and the thought leaders of any organization. Here are the 12 trends in no particular order:

    1. Online as the New Default. You used to have to go to church to hear a message or music, or get the cassette or cd. Now you just need a phone. Every attender can (and often will) listen to any communicator, band or concert they want. And almost everyone who shows up at your door has checked out your church online before they came. What are you doing to embrace the online world beyond a barely-supported and moderately outdated website, podcast or Facebook page?

    2. Wifi and Smartphones. They are googling you while you’re speaking, and checking out other options while you’re listing yours. Do you assume your audience is intelligent, literate and has options?

    3. Dialogue. People want to talk, not just listen. While sitting around tables every Sunday may not be the answer, increasingly a church without conversation is a church without converts. What scalable, meaningful venues do you have for people to go to online and in house for real conversation?

    4. Loyalty. Brand loyalty is low. 4 of the top 5 global companies didn’t exist 40 years ago. Being around for a long time can be seen as a liability with the next generation. (Rich Birch has a great info-graphic on this) How are you showing the relevance of an ancient faith to the current generation?

    5. Lack of guilt. Guilt used to motivate people to change and even to come to faith. The next generation feels less guilt than almost any previous generation. Are you still using guilt to motivate people? (By the way, Jesus never used guilt to motivate outsiders.)

    6. Declining trust in authority. People will still trust authority when the authority has earned their confidence. But they start out with suspicion. More than ever, trust is earned slowly and lost instantly. How is the way you exercise authority worthy of people’s confidence?

    7. Declining trust in institutions. You have to show people how an organization can help them, because by default, they don’t think it/you can or will. How are you demonstrating trustworthiness?

    8. Personalized, eclectic spirituality. People want to find their own unique path, and most start out that way. They will embrace the path of Christ, but they don’t start out there. How do you embrace where they start but encourage them not to finish there?

    9. A desire for greater purpose. Millennials will not stay long at work or causes that have little greater meaning or purpose. I wrote more on why you need young leaders in your organization here. Is your mission and vision clear, compelling and inexhaustible?

    10. Personal mission. People aren’t waiting for someone to change the world, they’ll just do it. From charity runs to starting non-profits from home, the next generation not only believes they can have a global impact, many are having it. If your church doesn’t have a burning sense of purpose and vision, you look lame compared to the average 22 year old. How is your vision motivating people who have vision?

    11. Trust in user reviews. What you say about your organization matters less than what others say. People place far more trust in user reviews than advertising copy. What are others saying about your organization and how would people find that out?

    12. The death of cash and checks. When was the last time you wrote a check or paid $500 cash for something? No one does that anymore. But every Sunday most church leaders expect most of their offering to come in via cash or check. Is most of your giving happening online? Why not?

    Obviously there are many more trends that are impacting the church or will be shortly. What do you see?

    What are you doing about any of these mentioned above?


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