Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dakota Partnership Gains Momentum

The following is an article I wrote for our local Baptist Association's newsletter.

Missouri and the Dakotas share the Missouri River. We also share the honor of being home to the two largest confluences of rivers on the entire Missouri drainage. In the northwest corner of North Dakota, the Yellowstone River comes together with the Missouri and continues southward and in the St. Louis area the "Mighty MO" ties into the Mississippi river and continues southward to the Gulf.

Missouri and the Dakotas also share something else. We share a presence of Southern Baptists who are interested in working together to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in our homeland and around the world.

Recently our DOM and two pastors and their respective wives made the long trip to Garrison, North Dakota to help in the Prairie Partners Baptist Associational Children’s Camp. Mary Tanner, Carol Sowder and Jackie Shaver were in charge of crafts and Steve Tanner, Stephen Sowder and Jim Shaver assisted the Prairie Partners DOM during Bible Teaching time. The most productive time however was spent in both formal and informal meetings with the pastors and other personalities from North Dakota as we discussed our mutual interest in being linked up together for ongoing ministry efforts.

We agreed to send representatives to each other’s associational meetings this fall and also mutually decided to hold a joint meeting of pastors on November 6th and 7th in Sioux Falls, SD just prior to the annual Dakota Baptist Convention. The remark was made that Sioux Falls was closer for us in Grand Crossings Association by a hundred miles than it was for some of the pastors of the PPBA!

Another Grand Crossings Team from FBC, Vandalia, trekked to Brookings, SD this July to continue their church planting effort in partnership with the Dakota Baptist Convention. Pastor Derek Grigg reported from the field at the beginning of their week that the weather was cool and they were excited about working there again.

Pastor Phil Dooley of Open Door Baptist Church just south of Columbia also led a mission team to Ft. Yates, ND this month to assist the church and pastor working there on the Sioux Indian Reservation.

The opportunities for partnership and joint ministry are great in the Dakotas. So why go all the way to the Dakotas to do Missions when we can do the same kind of work here in Missouri? Because our brothers and sisters in the Dakotas need us and we need them. The Prairie Partners Baptist Association covers approximately half of North Dakota and in that vast area there are only thirteen Southern Baptist Churches.

By contrast, we have thirty three churches in Grand Crossings Association. The fields of wheat, corn, flax, sunflowers and canola are ripening unto the harvest this summer in the Dakotas and so is the field of souls. Let us send more laborers into these northern fields that are truly white unto harvest.


Blogger Scott said...

I'm excited to hear about the Dakota partnership you all have started. We spent 3 years in ND with what was then the HMB in the early 90s. Great folks up there, and they can use quality help who recognize the cultural differences, especially on the reservations. May God bless your partnership!

7/24/2007 8:03 AM  

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