Montana Baptist E-News

The Montana Baptist E-News | September 2016

Montana Southern Baptist Convention

Refresh Montana

By Coby Bennett


MTSBC Executive Director Candidate Meets With Executive Board

The Montana Southern Baptist Convention

Barrett Duke

The Executive Board of the Montana Southern Baptist Convention will hold its fall meeting at the state convention office in Billings on Thursday, September 8 from 8:00 A.M. until noon.

Topping the agenda will be Dr. Bruce Speer, Chairperson of the 5-man Executive Director Search Team presenting their recommendation of Dr. Barrett Duke as the next executive director. If approved by the full executive board, Dr. Duke will be presented to the MTSBC churches for approval at the Refresh Conference held at Crosspoint Church in Missoula, October 7. More...

With an affirmative call by the MTSBC churches at large, Dr. Duke will begin January 1, 2017, succeeding Dr. Fred Hewett who will officially retire October 7, 2016.

All MTSBC churches are invited to register for the Refresh Conference (formally annual meeting) at

At Refresh you will get to meet Dr. Duke and his wife Denise. He will share his story, allow you to ask questions, and as time allows, he wants to hear about you and your church.

Other Executive Board agenda items include adoption of the 2017 MTSBC budget, affirm committee and board recommendations and a report from Yellowstone Christian College.


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MTSBC Annual Meeting

Get Real West (GRW) is just around the corner on November 11-12 in Missoula, MT.

And this year…Pastors and leaders get in FREE!

Are your students going?

This year GRW is proud to welcome The Exchange to lead your students in worship. The Exchange’s pop rock style is perfect for creating passionate and energetic worship sets your students will love. Their hit song “Heartbeat” was the #1 added song to Christian rock radio during the summer of 2015 and their promise to stay after to talk with “any and every” student shows a commitment to growing God’s Kingdom, not just entertaining. More...

Teaching students the truth of God’s word in a way they’ll understand is 20-year student ministry veteran Matt Maiberger. Matt currently works as the Executive Pastor for Life Church in Fort Collins, Colorado. His heart’s passion is to know Jesus, make Him known and see God’s Kingdom come to Earth. Your students will come away from Get Real West 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, GRW offers training time for youth workers, parents and pastors. GRW packs all of this and more into a short Friday night and Saturday morning all for just $40/student with Pastors and leaders FREE!

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

For additional info, promotional materials, permission slips and more please visit our website, or contact Next-Gen Director Adam Burt at and 406-672-5532.


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Get Real West Information

Register for Get Real West

Peru Mission Trip Bible Club Group outside local church Tupak Amaru

In order to serve with your whole heart, God has to be in your heart and calling you. This summer, 2016, God called myself and eight others to leave Montana and serve Him in Trujillo, Peru. We spent 30 hours traveling by plane to arrive in Trujillo, a developing city in a developing country. Around 1 million people live in the city and out-lying areas of Trujillo. One million, that is the approximate population of the entire state of Montana! Many live below the poverty line in dirt homes with dirt for flooring, streets, bricks, and walls. Very few have clean water, running water, or electricity.

Despite the desolate conditions by American Standards, the people are happy and receptive to the word of God and salvation. Tom Cox World Ministries provides and seeks medical professionals, translators, evangelists, and volunteers that make it possible for two, free rotating medical clinics, one Optometric clinic, three groups of children’s bible clubs, and church services every night at the local mission churches with the visiting pastors as guest speakers. More...

Peru Mission Trip From left to right, Michelle Dozier (from Arkansas), Lindsey, David M., Stan, Diana, Michelle, David R.

Peru Mission Trip Shelene Reno Witnessing

Peru Mission Trip Lindsey and David at Bible Club

The missionaries from Montana include Dr. David Roberts who attends The Rock Church in Laurel, Michelle Swansborough from Church of the Rockies in Red Lodge, Pastor Frank Burns and member Shelene Reno from Central Baptist Church in Lewistown. Also attending was Shelene’s granddaughter, Kenzie Ketchum, from Harvest Church in Billings. Pastor Stan Bricker, wife Diana Bricker, niece Lindsey Durham (myself), and David Miner from Valley Baptist Church in Huntley attended as well.

I had the privilege of serving with Dr. David Curtis of North Carolina in the Optometric Clinic. Dr. Curtis, David Miner, myself, and multiple translators served daily at the clinic, helping over 1,000 people. It was amazing to see the immediate effects of glasses for a patient. Having clearer vision meant for many that they could go back to work, read the newspaper, or study their bible. The benefits were especially great for the children who received glasses, in my opinion, because clearer vision would help them in their reading skills in school and have long lasting benefits.

The medical clinics were also impactful on the community as we dispensed vitamins, pain relievers, toothbrushes, and other inaccessible items to the people. Dr. David Roberts and Nurse Michelle Swansborough, from Red Lodge, Montana worked together in serving around 2,000 patients.

Probably the best aspect about Tom Cox World Ministries is that they partner with the local churches so that they can enrich the community in Christ’s name all year long. This provides a lasting effect on the community since the mission team is there for ten days while the pastors and congregants of the local churches are there full time ministering to the people.

Diana Bricker, Shelene Reno, Kenzie Ketchum, David Miner and I also served in the Bible Clubs. We planned crafts, activities, and worked closely with translators to provide a fun atmosphere for the children to hear about Jesus. Shelene Reno, from Central Baptist Church led a group that taught about Esther and my group discussed the missionary journeys of Paul. We all enjoyed fellowship together on our long, bumpy bus rides out to the barrios to share the gospel with the children.

One night, during the evening services, I had the privilege of translating for Pastor Frank Burns as he shared his testimony. The service took place at a mission church called Ciudad de Dios, which translates to City of God.

Another highlight of the trip, David Miner, a student at Yellowstone Christian College in Billings, preached his first sermon in front of a congregation at La Iglesia Bautista Central, which translates to Central Baptist Church.I translated for him as well, which was my first sermon to translate.

My favorite moment during the trip was our last night in Trujillo. Kay Cox, our director and a full time evangelist, planned a foot washing ceremony where the visiting missionaries would wash the feet of our translators, local coordinator, and the people who served our meals every day. It was so humbling and an honor to get on our knees and wash the feet of the Peruvian helpers. Many reacted as the apostle Peter did at the Lord’s Supper, embarrassed that we would wash their feet. Then, after we had washed all of their feet, they turned around and begged the visiting missionaries to take a seat so they could wash our feet. Through many prayers and tears, it was an intimate time of fellowship and a beautiful way to conclude our ministry of serving.


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Tom Cox World Ministry


BJ and JoAnn Hallmark Say Good Bye

Doug Hutcheson, Church Strategies Team Leader, MTSBC

Hallmark Retirement

After coming to Montana on a couple of mission trips to Columbus and Big Timber to help Tommy and Charlene Price with mission work, a young family left Pinelake Baptist Church in Mississippi in September of 1984 and moved to Glasgow, Montana to become the pastor of Glasgow Baptist Church.

At Pinelake, BJ had been serving as their Minister of Education. At that time, 32 years ago, Montana was still part of the Northern Plains Convention, which consisted of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Some things have changed since then but some things have remained the same. We still travel long distances to meetings, still deal with the cold of winters and still have more cows than people.

BJ would tell you that the greatest needs, both then and now, are starting new churches and stabilizing and revitalizing the ones we have. He spent his entire ministry in Montana doing those two things and doing them well. More...

BJ and his family, Jo Ann, Andy and Kathleen, served in Glasgow and Fort Peck for eight years as pastor. He then became the Director of Missions for Triangle and the Hi-line Associations. In 1994 BJ and Jo Ann took a core group of people and started Great Falls Baptist Church, (currently Heartland Community Church).

In 1996 BJ and Jo Ann and another core group of people started Crossroads Memorial Church in Great Falls. He served as the founding pastor there for eight years. To this day it is one of our strong and growing churches in Great Falls.

In 2004 he became Director of Missions and Church Planting Catalyst for Triangle Association again and served for five more years in this role. In 2011 he was called back to Crossroads in Great Falls to serve on staff with Pastor Bobby King for three years. For the last three years he has served as Associational Coordinator for Triangle Association.

BJ has been involved in helping Montana grow and become a convention in its own right by serving on the Executive Board for the MTSBC for a total of 14 years and as President of the convention for three years. He also has served on other boards and associations in many capacities, including serving on the board of Yellowstone Baptist College for nine years. Jo Ann was always there to support and help him in all of these ministries.

Among BJ and Jo Ann’s favorite ministries were the camps. Whether children’s, youth, or family camps, he was either camp director or was involved in some way with our Family Camp every year either on the Camp of the Boulder or up at Hungry Horse. Some of his best memories come from the children and youth camps and the ones that accepted Christ at these camps.

BJ and Jo are moving to Annapolis, MD in October to begin a new phase in their ministry. An added benefit will be to spend more time with their son, Andy, and his family. If you know BJ and Jo Ann, you know they will find something to do for the Kingdom wherever they are.

We will miss them. Blessing, our friends, and happy trails!


  • December 3 | Glasgow – Calvary Baptist Church, 100 Highland Avenue
  • December 8 | Bozeman – Crossroads Church, 111 Arrowhead Trail
  • December 9 | Missoula – Outdoorsmen Church, 12208 Pulpmill Road
  • December 10 | Miles City – Valley Community Church, 1004 N. Sewell Ave


  • February 4 | Glasgow – Calvary Baptist Church, 100 Highland Avenue
  • February 9 | Central Region – Location to Be Determined
  • February 10 | Missoula – Outdoorsmen Church, 12208 Pulpmill Road
  • February 11 | Miles City – Valley Community Church, 1004 N. Sewell Ave


  • April 1 | Glasgow – Calvary Baptist Church, 100 Highland Avenue
  • April 6 | Central Region – Location to Be Determined
  • April 7 | Missoula – Outdoorsmen Church, 12208 Pulpmill Road
  • April 8 | Miles City – Valley Community Church, 1004 N. Sewell Ave
  • Mark your calendars for future Elevate dates!

    The sessions at all locations are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you have questions specific to a location, you can contact the following facilitator:

  • Central Region – William Johnson, 406-579-1304
  • Missoula – Michael Liner, 406-830-0884
  • Miles City and Glasgow – Eddie Smith, 406-853-9890

  • -------

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    Elevate Montana Page

    Baptist students, 450 strong, serve flood survivors

    By Carmen K. Sisson, Baptist Press

    SBDR Annie Pucciarelli, a member of First Baptist Church of Brandon in Florida, pulls nails while mudding out a home Sept. 4 in Greenwell Springs, La. Pucciarelli joined 450-plus students from six states who gathered in Baton Rouge and nearby communities on Labor Day weekend to help survivors of the mid-August flood. Pucciarelli graduated from the University of Southern Florida and remains active with the college’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries.

    DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (BP) -- John Whitehead woke to an unfamiliar sight in mid-August -- water had breached his house and was rising fast. The Louisiana State University student panicked for a few minutes, facing tough decisions. What should he save and what should he leave behind?

    In the end, the answer was simple. Muddy water lapped against his waist as he struggled to heave his black Labrador retriever Rascal into his kayak. Then, he paddled away from everything he and his family owned in Denham Springs near Baton Rouge, knowing they would never see most of it again.

    His parents, Darrell and Zanie Whitehead, were in Tuscaloosa, Ala., trying to get home. They talked by phone several times as the situation worsened.

    "I called the fourth time, and he said, 'Quit calling me, I'm trying to save people,'" his father recounted.

    By the end of the day, John Whitehead and his kayak had carried a number of people to safety, including two elderly women who were clinging to a chain link fence, with water up to their chins. More...

    SBDR Sarah Farley (left), associate director of Louisiana State University's Baptist Collegiate Ministry, discusses mold removal with homeowner Paulette LaCombe, Sept. 3, at her flood-damaged home in Denham Springs, La. LaCombe said she had spent the week crying, but the students gave her hope and made her smile again. Farley helped organize a massive mud-out event, bringing more than 450 student members of LSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry and other campus ministries from six states to help survivors of the mid-August flood. NAMB photo by Carmen K. Sisson

    SBDR John Whitehead (left) and Jacob Whitehead help their mother, Zanie Whitehead, carry a potted plant Sept. 4 at their Denham Springs, La., home. John Whitehead used his kayak to rescue many of his neighbors after heavy rain caused record flooding in mid-August. The men attend Louisiana State University, and the family attends Istrouma Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. NAMB photo by Carmen K. Sisson

    On Labor Day weekend, flood survivors like the Whiteheads in south Louisiana were on the receiving end of an even larger wave of help. LSU's Baptist Collegiate Ministry spearheaded a massive cleanup event, drawing more than 450 students from collegiate ministries in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. As the LSU Tigers played their first game of the season, the students pried up waterlogged wood flooring, tore out sheetrock and tried to salvage homeowners' keepsakes from encroaching mold.

    At the Whitehead home, not much is left. The few possessions they own are stored in a 5-by-8-foot shed -- with room to spare. But Darrell Whitehead, a former children's minister, is still grateful.

    The family's church, Istrouma Baptist in Baton Rouge, has helped, and strangers have given love offerings. But the students were a surprise. Whitehead estimates they saved him approximately $10,000-$12,000 for professional gutting, and they finished so far ahead of schedule that they were able to help neighbors with their cleanup efforts.

    "When they were here, they worked," Whitehead said. "I never heard a complaint. Those BCM kids could have done anything on those days. They didn't have to come work, yet they did."

    It was an eye-opening weekend for some students, said Korey McCrady, director of Baptist Student Ministry at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. Many had never experienced a flood. Others had never used a sledgehammer or power tool.

    "On the bus coming in, they were laughing and talking," McCrady said. "But when the bus turned the corner, they went silent."

    For Arkansas State student Kristen Scarlett, a rough week on campus seemed trivial when compared with the flood survivors' burdens.

    "I thought, 'If the Lord made me an able-bodied person, why am I not there?'" Scarlett, who attends First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, had asked. "I need to live out that calling. If you're in good health, why wouldn't you?"

    Some students hesitate to volunteer because of the perceived time commitment, said Annie Pucciarelli, a student from First Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla. But she believes collegians are the perfect age, especially if they are not already juggling families and careers.

    "I think this is the best time in my life," she said as she pulled nails from sheetrock. "Being able to help others is a great experience. You can see that what you're doing is making a difference."

    Pucciarelli praised Southern Baptist Disaster Relief for making it easy for cash-strapped college students to participate. Local churches provide lodging and meals. The only expense is fuel.

    Students sometimes worry that they won't have the skills to tackle the work, but LSU student Cullen McDaniel, of Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, dismissed that excuse.

    "All it takes is people coming together over one goal," McDaniel said. "It's not about how long you can work or the skills you have. We need hands and feet on the ground. This has taught me to trust the Lord in everything [to] provide the healing, the comfort and the guidance you need to get through the trying times of life."

    The students were a comfort to Baton Rouge resident Paulette LaComb, a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. In her once-pristine home, students filled every room, with the sounds of hammers heard through the halls. If this were any other day, her house would be tidy and she would be in the kitchen, cooking jambalaya for her guests. Now the sink doesn't work and floodwater contaminated her dishes. She applied for food stamps but her application was denied.

    "I've been crying all week," LaComb said. "It was such a good feeling to see all these people coming to help. I felt like nobody cared but now I know they do. You've got to keep believing. You can't give up."

    The community has united more since the tragedy, said Sarah Farley, BCM associate director at LSU. The Baton Rouge area has endured a lot this summer, Farley said, referring to several fatal incidents between residents and local police. But she believes the flood has washed away some of the anger and pain.

    "The way God has used the flood to unite us is amazing. A lot of people criticize young people, but I think there's a lot of hope."

    Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state, or in this case the Louisiana Baptist Convention's Disaster Relief Fund, . Donations also can be made through the North American Mission Board at . For phone donations, call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for "Disaster Relief."

    NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state Disaster Relief ministries.

    Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers -- including chaplains -- and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, child care, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained disaster relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

    See the original article on the Baptist Press website here .


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    Southern Baptist Disaster Relief