What's Happening Around the District
April 5th - From Around the District - Easter Reports
FROM ABERDEEN, SD — Pastor Brad Griffin: By all accounts, we hit a home run here in Aberdeen this Easter! As you know, not every week will be the best weekend ever, but Easter should be up there. We nailed it. It was a GREAT day. The service flowed; we continually minimize distractions; people worshiped; the gospel was clear and compelling; God was honored! We had 87 in attendance — AND baptized 3! I preached a solid message with a strong drive toward a decision for Christ. No response that we know of, but the mood and attitude is shifting here... It's humble beginnings, but God is working and so are we.
FROM RAPID CITY,SD, Fountain Springs — Pastor David Kinnan: Thank you for all of the prayer sent up for Easter...We had 6,426 come to Easter at the Civic Center this year (the highest attended service in FSC history!) And...442 people made a commitment to follow Christ! It is safe to say that this would not have happened had there not been people praying for God to show up!!
FROM RAYMOND,WA, New Beginnings Wesleyan — Pastor Renee Roughton shared that they celebrated Easter at the home of one of their members, using their hot tub for the baptism of 7 adults and 2 children! Eighty-one people attended the Baptism Service and Potluck!
FROM SIOUX FALLS,SD, Linwood — Pastor Bob McHenry: Easter total attendance was 530; the place was packed! (I think this is close to double where we were some months, just over a year ago.) We had an Easter choir with over 40 voices. The place was alive with cheering and clapping after nearly every song. I have never seen it like this at Linwood. We had 5 first time commitments, and 12 recommitments! A baptism is scheduled for April 19, and so far we have 6 adults, plus some youth signed up. There is so much positive momentum at Linwood right now. Each week I meet with new people — and I will be dedicating at least 3 babies over the next few weeks.
FROM STURGIS,SD, Life Spring — Pastor Dan Ziebarth: We had 410 in attendance at our service in the Community Center, down from 490 last year... but a great service! I preached on Ecclesiastes 3, highlighting how we will experience every kind of season in this life under the sun. That's reality. But the hope is found in 3:11 where we see that God will make everything beautiful in its time. The assurance that we can trust that promise, is the cross and the resurrection. There, God took the ugliest thing in the world, and made it the most beautiful. If He can do that, He can take whatever you're facing or struggling with and make it beautiful in its time. The response time was phenomenal! We had 6 kids decide to follow Jesus during their time with Mel Lamar. Plus, 6 recommitted their lives to Jesus. We had 7 adults and 1 kid decide to follow Jesus during the worship gathering. 95 people total came up during the response time.
FROM WILLISTON,ND, New Hope — Pastor Mike Skor: Thank you for praying for/with us for our Easter. Here are a few very important numbers, revealing the number of people God has entrusted us with: 2,237 attended in three services (485 in Quest Kids alone!); 82 indicated they rededicated their lives to the Lord; and 11 indicated that this was the FIRST time they'd ever asked Jesus to forgive them of their sins!
March 19th - From Salem, OR - Pastor Dane Gjesdal
Amazing things that are taking place at the Northgate Wesleyan Church - Growth, Young Adults and our Easter Ops! Here's just a little bit about what's happening!
Young Adult Ministry - We had no young adult ministry in place, yet all of a sudden here and there young adults (19-29) started attending our Sunday service. I began to notice visible signs that God was working in their lives - they were responding to worship; moved and responding to the message of salvation; and posting FB how God is working in their lives. So we gathered them together after service one Sunday, introduced them to each other, and invited them to a midweek meeting. We had 20 show up! From this meeting, leadership has emerged. We began that initial meeting by asking, what if a "smart bomb" went off and everyone 30 and over died? There were comments & laughter; but then I said, "You are the church; who will step up from this group and lead the church this Sunday, and in the future?" They got it - and are rising up. They call themselves "I AM NEXT", and have started their own midday worship and activity night, and their own small group Sunday School class. Pray for them!
"Easter Ops" is our meeting to Pray & Plan for Easter with one question in mind, "IF God showed up and doubled our Sunday Service on Easter, how will we be ready?" We had 60 show up - which is about 1/3 of our people! We are ready! Bring it on!
March 1st - From Bismarck, ND - Pastor Keith Ritchie
Sunday, March 1st, was a great day at Cornerstone! Two people - a mother and a daughter - asked to follow Jesus and be baptized. In a sermon series on the Apostles Creed, on this Sunday we focused on the Holy Spirit. We opened the message with a video, showing "Iron Man" putting on his armor with his power core - which may have been out of some people's comfort zone. However, as a result of this service, two people will not enter the gates of Hell! --- It was a great day!!!
From New Hope Wesleyan - Williston, ND
In celebration of their just completed "remodel and new additions", New Hope Wesleyan Church, in Williston, ND, held a weekend-long "Grand Opening" event on January 23rd -25th! Events began with a youth concert Friday night featuring the band "Atlantic" in the newly remodeled and expanded youth center. Festivities continued with a special worship concert Saturday night with Matt Maher. The weekend culminated with the Sunday morning message by General Superintendent, Dr. JoAnne Lyon; followed by the main event of the weekend - the Building Dedication! Current Lead Pastor, Mike Skor, was joined on stage by five former Williston pastors, as Dr. Lyon and Rev. Isaac Smith, Northwest District Superintendent, dedicated the new building.
In noting the legacy of the previous pastors, Pastor Skor said it like this: - "The best moments for me, were hearing how God brought the right leader at the right time for this church. Each pastor was the right leader to lay the right layer of work. None of us could have done the ministry the Lord called us to do, without those who had gone before us at "just the right time"." And God's not done!!! He has invited the Church to be a part of something so much bigger than a building - and the story becomes an amazing beautiful tapestry that only He could design!
January 29th - From Forsyth, MT - Pastor Mark Umfleet
Something very exciting is happening in Forsyth, Montana! We have created a 15 second ad campaign clip, that for the next year, will be showing in our local theatre prior to every movie - during the beginning ad loop; just before all the coming attractions; before every animated movie, every romantic comedy, every action film, every rated G, PG, PG-13, and even every rated R movie! -- Our local theatre only has one screen, with one show nightly, and maybe two on weekends. Last year we ran a radio commercial ad campaign on the local country station that generated a lot of buzz with very positive feedback. However, this year with the movie ad, we're hoping to reach a broader audience - one that actually "just paid money to watch what's on the screen"! - 15 seconds is not a lot of time to say much, but we believe it's "enough time" to extend a simple invitation to Forsyth Wesleyan Church! We're excited about what God is gonna do!
January 26th - From Isaac Smith, District Superintendent
The 1st Sunday of January... we were in our most remote church, Medicine Rocks, MT, led by Pastor Jim and Peggy Biswell. This church is alive and healthy, and it's exciting to see how they are growing and connecting with the needs of their widely scattered community.
The 2nd week of the month... I was privileged to be a delegate to the International General Conference of The Wesleyan Church. It was heartwarming to connect with brothers and sisters from around the world who are doing great Kingdom work in some very difficult places; and a great reminder of how the world is moving closer together and coming to us.
The 3rd weekend... we were in Buffalo, WY, meeting with William Dunlap and his staff, discussing, "How To Break The Four Hundred Barrier". That Sunday they had 457. This church has all age groups, and is a great church with great vision, great leaders, and a great future.
During that same week... I had the opportunity to meet with the Boards of two very good, but very different churches:
Fountain Springs in Rapid City - God continues to reach lost people and transform lives through their ministry. It's exciting to see the hope and joy that God is bringing in the lives of these church leaders and the community around them.
Johnson Corners, ND - Once very isolated, but now in the middle of high traffic zone, this church (which helped plant both the Watford City and Williston churches) is growing and wants to be able to meet the needs of the next generation.
The 4th Sunday, we were a part of the Dedication Service in Williston, ND - where Mike Skor and team have done an excellent job of leading New Hope through a major building program, and are seeing a lot of lost people come to Jesus right now. Yesterday we had 1358 people, including 229 children. The world is coming to their parish, and they are inviting them to Jesus!
We have a lot of great stories to tell when we get together at our upcoming Winter Retreat "and we have some that aren't so great. All of the great stories I've just mentioned, have had great pain as well. Yesterday we sang "If God be for us, who can be against us". Sometimes it is difficult to believe that, while experiencing the short term. -- One of the values of connecting with the wider Body of Christ is to gain perspective! -- See you on February 25th at Retreat!
December 24th - From Living Hope, Madison, SD - Pastor Bryan Sagmoe
"The Toy Shop" is an event we do for the Madison community, in which people of Living Hope donate 500 toys (ranging from $10-20). The public can then come in and get toys for their children who otherwise may not get anything. This year over 350 kids were served through the Toy Shop! Special Note: A needy family was brought to our attention who were facing hard times, and due to illness, were unable to get to our "Toy Shop". When the challenge was given, Living Hope responded! With some very creative shopping and excellent sales, not only will there be gifts for all 7 of their kids, but a van was also donated for the family! -- I am proud of the people at Living Hope and thank God for His blessings!
December 24th - From Northgate, Salem, OR - Pastor Dane Gjesdal
We want to share some exciting news from Northgate! We had an attendance of 210 for our children's Christmas program on Dec 14th. With Pastor David leading the charge, we had 30 kids in a play called "Hark, the Herald Angel". -- And, then at our Dec 21st "Celebration of Lights" service, people were wall to wall - with 250 in attendance! We ran out of seating and had people standing in the aisles... Between these two events, 10 people got saved and 15 recommitted themselves to Christ! God is good! To Him be the glory and praise!
December 6th - From Tree of Life, Billings, MT - Pastor Jim Head
We often hear that the "small church" is dead, even though it makes up the largest group of churches. I believe the "small church" fills a niche that the large or mega church for some reason cannot. Tree of Life is a "small church", with an average of 20-25 per week. (I really don't like that term, because no one ever told Jesus that His church was too small...and we have 8 more that He did!)
The church is only as small as its heart, and the heart of Tree of Life is gigantic! We love each other...our community...and the Lord (not in that order!). In this past year we...
...collected a "Noisy Offering" for missions - which average almost $50 per month;
...hosted our Annual Easter Egg Hunt - through which over 1000 people heard the Gospel story of Jesus before collecting over 3000 candy-filled Easter eggs; got in line for almost 500 free hot dogs; and listened for their names to be called for toys, baskets of goodies, and bikes that were given away (all paid for by our "small church"!);
...collected items, and assembled Thanksgiving baskets - that were given away to 2 needy families;
...collected $500 to purchase new coats, hats, and mittens/gloves to be given away during the Christmas!
Maybe when we are compared to the larger churches, we don't do much...but we are Tree of Life... and we reach as many people for the Kingdom as we can! May the church proclaim the name of Jesus loud and strong this Christmas season, no matter how large or small! - Pastor Jim
WORDS of THANKSGIVING - from District Superintendent, Isaac Smith!
Happy Thanksgiving! I am truly grateful to the Lord for so many blessings, including working alongside you in His Church!
I have been privileged to spend several days recently worshipping God in my favorite sanctuary. Mountains. Hunting is a good excuse to be with God, and with family and friends, amazed at His creative glory. I have reconnected with His purpose, patterns, and patience in bringing beautiful life out of chaos. I was able to see places that have been devastated by fire and violent storms, where life is now bursting at the seams.
That is happening in churches as well! A couple of weeks ago our church in Gillette, WY had over 1100 people on a "normal" Sunday. This last Sunday we were part of Fountain Springs Church in Rapid City and they had 2775 on another "normal" Sunday. It is such a joy to see these very healthy churches rise out of ashes. God works through anointed leaders and in spite of difficult circumstances. Hallelujah! -- I was in a meeting recently where we heard again the stats on how few young people the Church is reaching. Well, they have not checked with us. That is not true on our District. I watched hundreds of those young people at Fountain Springs who were engaged and active in the Church. We are seeing this in many places in our District and I am convinced that young people are hungry for a connection with God, His family, and His truth. -- The weekend before that we were privileged to worship at the 12Stone Church in Atlanta, which is our largest Wesleyan Church. I am very grateful that so many people are finding Jesus there and I was struck by the simple missional focus of that church.
Please pause a few times; be thankful; and express that out loud! -- God bless you, Isaac
October31st - From Isaac Smit/, District Superintendent
Let me highlight three churches...
The first, is Miles City, MT... We were there a couple of weeks ago and heard Ryan Helland preach a compelling message. As in Interim Pastor, he has done an excellent job since the Gudmunsons left. However, around the first of the year, Ryan plans to join forces with Kyle Gudmunson in planting a church in Utah. A candidate is scheduled to be in Miles City around Thanksgiving time, and we are optimistic that this will be a good new chapter in the life of this church.
The second church is Eugene, OR... Kurt and Brenda Nybakken have pastored here for many years. They have taken a position as the Children's Pastors in our Aumsville's church. After prayer, conversation, and time, we have agreed our best option is closing this church for now, and launching again later as God raises up a team. --- It is always sad when the life cycle of a church comes to an end, but in this case there were a couple of bright spots. On their last Sunday... there were many expressions of praise and affirmation for what God has done through this body. And then the best news! Three weeks before this church closed, a lady who was invited by a friend, came for the first time. Kurt had a special urging from the Spirit to talk with her. A week later she gave her heart to Jesus. On this final Sunday, she was back with a testimony and has been connected with people who will help disciple her. What a way to close!!
And, third, is the Madison church... We were there to install Bryan Sagmoe as their new Lead Pastor. This is a healthy young church with a lot of faith and excitement about the future, and Bryan is a good fit/match for their culture and vision!
And, a couple MORE notes...
Please continue to pray for the new church plants and planters that God is raising up. We need God's anointing on people and resources. On a Personal Note... I have had several days of hunting in the mountains recently. While that is physically tiring, it really fills my tank. I've been able to worship and find rest for my soul. I want to encourage you to take time to fill your tank in a way that allows God to "give rest to those whom he loves". If you are running on fumes, please take some time to refuel, so that you can do what is truly important.
October 12th — From Wayne Mueller, Asst. D.S.
We were privileged to worship with the congregation at New Hope in Williston, ND — an exciting church to visit! Amazing things are happening on a regular basis! On this Sunday... there were 1,133 worshippers; 16 individuals baptized; and 20 others who indicated they prayed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior! That same afternoon, some 500 joined together at the Larson Farm, for a fantastic connection time at their annual Hay Maze! -- Pastor Mike and Kiley Skor, and the New Hope staff, are doing an outstanding job of providing leadership & ministry to Williston, ND!
Recent Changes Across Our District - From Issac Smith, District Superintendent
- Matt Pribyl is at home and ministering in Tolstoy, SD.
- Tim Willson is leading and ministering in the Capital Park Church in Salem, Oregon.
- Brad Griffin has just moved into Aberdeen, South Dakota.
- Bryan Sagmoe will begin ministry in Madison, SD.
- Kurt Nybakken is moving to Aumsville, Oregon to be on staff at Mountain View.
- Rod and Deb Brown have left Geraldine, MT to be on staff at Birchridge Community, Soldotna,AK
- We are still praying and searching for God's will in Miles City and Harlowton, MT.
October 5th - from Assistant District Superintendent, Wayne Mueller
... What a privilege to get to worship with Pastor Willie and Myra Prawitz, and the incredible people of House of Faith, in Coeur D'Alene, ID - where there is an overall spirit of expectation, and dependence on the Holy Spirit, along with a genuine caring for one another. God is most definitely using Pastor Willie's spirit and enthusiasm for ministry, to make a difference!
... We were also blessed in being able to connect with Pastor Nate and Maria Lail from Living Hope Community Church in Spokane Valley, WA. Exciting and challenging things are happening in this local church as well! Following weeks of vacation and travel, several individuals and families have returned and are again getting actively involved.
September 14th - 30 YEARS at MITCHELL WESLEYAN
Pastor Keith & Saundra Nash were honored on Sunday, September 14th, at a celebration lunch and open house, commemorating 30 years of faithful ministry to the congregation of Mitchell Wesleyan Church!
The morning worship service was marked by a spirit of joy and gratitude, as Pastor Nash shared how God had fashioned his ministry over these many years, giving him the Biblical basis for serving faithfully found in Matthew 6:33.
A catered fellowship lunch was followed by a short program, allowing several the opportunity to express honor and appreciation to the Nashes. The three Nash sons - Aaron, Nathan & Adam - were in attendance, sharing testimony as to what it meant for them to be launched from a home environment grounded in ministry.
Along with his ministry on the local level, we are blessed to have Pastor Keith's years of involvement on the District level as well - as Director of our Global Partners ministry!
August 28th - From Assistant District Superintendent, Wayne Mueller
The 4th weekend in August, in the midst of their church's weekend camp-out, Pastor Andy & Janelle Prawitz took time on Friday morning to drive into Orofino to share lunch with us! Wow! Their enthusiasm and hearts for the people of Weippe, ID is awesome! Their excitement about the campout, which was to culminate with a baptismal service on Sunday, was contagious! (By the way, the report is: 6 were baptized that morning!) God is certainly using this incredible young couple to make a difference in many lives!
On Sunday, the 24th, we were privileged to get to worship in Clarkston, WA with Pastor Wilber & Sandy Clark, and the Himmelright Memorial congregation. (Last year, this church which averaged 89 in Sunday morning services, reported 24 conversions to Christ!) We had a wonderful time worshipping and praising the Lord, as Pastor Wilber ministered the Word on "The Possibilities of Prayer". God is definitely using the Clarks! - and this is one more of those places where it is evident that "He is at work!"
Then... what a blessing on our way back towards Rapid City, to get to stop in Missoula, MT, for a noon lunch, fellowship and prayer, with Pastor Doug & Deb Goodell and Pastor Dwight & Bonnie Peterson (& Deb's mother too!) It was exciting to hear the reports of these local church ministries (Hamilton & Conner) - both the victories and the challenges - and plans for the future! A great deal of laughter prevailed as well!
August 25th - From New Hope, Williston, ND - Pastor Mike Skor..
We are overwhelmed at what God is doing! We had prayed, and knew that He would send us more people, but had no idea what was coming. May was exciting. June was even better. July took a huge jump. And August has just blown us away with what God is doing! -- Since May 1st, we have had the privilege of leading 85 people to the Lord (we have a name and contact for every one!), plus over 80 adult volunteers showed up to be part of reaching a record number of children for our VBS. We're seeing entire families come because of their child's decision at VBS, and then making decisions for themselves.
On the 3rd Sunday in August, historically one of our lowest attended Sundays of the year (everyone gets one last vacation in before school and bad weather), we were packed with 892 people! The next Sunday brought an increase again, with 971! Our second service was so full, that we had people gathered around the TV's in the lobby! -- All that is exciting & cool, but let's be honest, it's just cool... what has us absolutely in awe, are the stories that are being told:
● A young mom out for a drive on a Sunday morning and stops in the coffee shop. She had no idea there was church happening, but steps in out of curiosity. She and her family are now attending and on the line of decision.
● A man came with his wife to church for the first time in 41 years, simply because he was going to meet someone in the coffee shop and sell him his Harley. At lunch he said to her: "I had no idea that church was like that. Could I start coming with you?"
● The stories go on...
We're just so grateful for a God who can use a team of imperfect people, to reach people with whom we would never connect, without His Spirit!
July 29th - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
Thank you so much for your prayers that the Lord of Harvest would raise up workers. At our District Conference we asked you to pray for Church Planters and over the last couple of weeks three high capacity planters have started the conversation and journey towards new churches! We have many more places, and we will continue to pray that God will provide the people, resources, and most of all His anointing!
July 21st - From Fountain Springs Church, Rapid City - Pastor David Kinnan
We are a part of something MUCH bigger than 'us'. Look at what God has done in the past 6 months... 629 people have become Christians; 203 have been baptized! This is bigger than us! 1,151 people served 4,285 hours during Love Rapid City Week! This is bigger than us! -- God is grabbing a hold of people's hearts and changing lives - changing families - changing generations! This is bigger than us!! --- We want to keep celebrating what God has done, but at the same time, make sure we keep participating in what He is doing!
May 20th - From Conner Wesleyan, Darby, MT - Pastor Dwight Peterson
The tear-down & remodel of the Conner Church is under way! We are currently holding church in the "pole barn" located just south of the church - otherwise known as the Conner Wesleyan Church "Summer Place"! :) Our first day worshipping here was a chilly wet day, but all took it in stride. What an adventure! We are praying for safety for the workers, and for souls to come to Christ through it all!
May 6th - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
I was privileged to visit three healthy churches in the past couple weeks. Sharing just a bit of that... 1st - Northgate in Salem, OR, pastored by Dane and Jill Gjesdal, along with David and Carissa Pfnister. Attendance was 230 on Easter, and about 190 the Sunday after. This church is well led, missional, and growing; filling up their current campus; and looking for options...Please pray for them that God will open right doors and the windows of heaven.
2nd - I also had the privilege of meeting with the Board in Watford City, ND, where Jeff and Kate Ruggles, along with their staff, are doing a great job leading this congregation to significant growth in a very fast growing and chaotic community... This church also had over 200 for Easter and 180-190 before and after. Out of room, they recently raised 2.5 million dollars in cash and pledges - and plan to begin building this summer. Again, they seem very healthy, missional, and poised to really grow God's Kingdom. God has given a wide open door, and Cross Point Church is going through it!
And 3rd - Esther and I were privileged today to be in Williston, ND for their first service in their new worship center. Oh Wow! Cool technology, very cool coffee shop, and way cool kids play area! There were 918 people today, and an enormous amount of vision, energy, and community. Mike and Kiley Skor, along with a great staff, have done an excellent job of leading in this transition; honoring the past and keeping the mission as the main thing. Williston is also fast growing and chaotic, and New Hope is very well positioned, and led, to go through those open doors!
PRAYER REQUEST: Both Watford City and Williston remind me of an urgent prayer request: North Dakota is booming and the growth and prosperity seem to be long term. We really need to be planting churches - especially in Dickenson and the north side of Bismarck! We have available money, and a few core people. We need church planters! This is a field that is white for harvest, so please pray that the Lord would raise up workers. -- When I see the kind of quality churches mentioned in this report, my heart aches to have a healthy church in every community. Thirty nine thousand plus on Easter was good, but it is just the tip of the iceberg for what God can do through us!
May 5th - Easter Report from District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
Praise God for what HE did over the Easter weekend in our District! We realize this may not be all inclusive... but according to reports turned in, we ministered 39,332 souls! And of those, there were 805 conversions to Christ (that we know about)!! There were also 48 baptisms! Again, Praise God! -- Several great stories were shared about those who took significant steps spiritually. There were many children, as well as individuals, and even entire families, who responded to the Gospel and came into the Kingdom! What we do really matters! It is such a joy to be able to connect lost people with Jesus, to follow up with them, and to watch them grow up to be like Him!
April 27th - From GracePoint, Marshall, MN - Pastors Chad & Trisha Bergjord
Our first service was great! The service itself went smoothly; was a worshipful time, and full of fellowship! We had opportunity to connect with several new faces. It was so exciting to have individuals express interest in a further connection with GracePoint, but we were especially excited about those wanting to know more about being a Jesus-follower, and those who shared personal prayer requests. There were many helping hands too, which was great! -- Please be in prayer for us as we do our follow up, encouraging and connecting with individuals. Also, be in prayer as we make further plans for this summer's activities; as we engage people and prepare to do a full launch of services in the near future. We are so very excited at how God is moving... and we continue to press on!
April 23rd - From New Hope Wesleyan Church, Williston, ND - Pastor Michael Skor
Quick Story: Our building project has been far more than bricks and mortar...it has not only been a growth process for our congregation, but even the building process has moved our mission forward of sharing the Gospel. Here are a few brief stories:
As part of our ministry and, to be honest, to save some dollars in our expensive housing market here in Williston, we have housed all of our subcontractors in the homes of NewHopers -- the interaction and investment in these men by NewHopers has been incredible to watch. One of these crews arrived in the early fall of 2013. They were all from the Carolinas and rough around the edges, which made some of our host homes a little nervous. Just a few days after they arrived, one of the guys went home to his host and was visibly upset... Click here to read more.
April 14th - From GracePoint Wesleyan, Brookings, SD - Pastor Steve Norby
I just have to share this PRAISE from our Palm Sunday service! We had a record attendance of 1564, and did 18 baptisms! The testimonies were awesome!
April 13th - From Spirit Alive Wesleyan, Yakima WA - Pastor Jeff Allen
Compared to April one year ago, we've seen a huge increase in the average attendance in our small church! God is giving the increase and we are sooo thankful!! He has been faithful - even in the times when we doubted! Our goal is to be running a 100 by the end of June. It's hard to make that a goal at the beginning of summer when so many are gone, but we want to see God do what we could not! We have sown the seed - worked hard getting flyers into the community, done studies of the homes in the area, and prayed without ceasing. It's up to God to give the increase - and we are trusting Him for it!
April 12-13, 2014 - From Pastor Wayne Mueller, Asst.D.S.
The LOOP - 'Loving On Our People' - is a new ministry at The Ransom in Sioux Falls, SD, and is led by Pastor Jason Mueller. Currently involving over 100 individuals, their purpose is to provide meaningful opportunities for worship, as well as encouragement, hope and caring to a number of nursing homes, retirement centers, assisted living centers, juvenile detention centers, and jails. I was blessed to be a part of a service on Saturday morning, April 12th, along with Pastors Phill Tague, Phil Wiseman and Jason Mueller, where we anointed individuals with oil and prayed over them as they dedicated themselves to the ministry of The LOOP; committing themselves to become the hands and feet of Jesus in their community. What a God-honoring and meaningful worship experience! Then... the next morning, on Palm Sunday, we were privileged to worship with approximating 140 others at our newest satellite location - The Ransom in Harrisburg. It was an incredible day of worship. God is doing a good thing in Harrisburg too! ... (Obviously since they meet in a Middle School, there was lots of set-up and tear-down involved. We couldn't resist... we just had to help stack chairs and fold curtains! :)!)
March 6th - From Williston, New Hope - Pastor Mike Skor
I don't often share, but this was too good to hold in... We had an "old fashioned" altar call this past Sunday morning. No eyes closed...everyone looking up... I invited those who wanted to surrender their lives to Jesus, to come forward very publicly. It took guts. Over the course of three services, 20 people (including young couples) came forward with tears streaming down their cheeks! - AND - Last night at Quest Kids, 23 children indicated that they made a decision as well! - Nothing else matters! Eternal addresses were changed today by God's grace alone!
February 12th - From GracePoint-Marshall - Chad & Trisha Bergjord
Things are happening - and we are SO excited!! We have confirmed, and are just waiting to have a contract written up for our location to launch worship services for GracePoint-Marshall! We are thrilled to be working with the school district and we will be renting the K-2 school (Parkside) on Sundays. It is our goal to launch preview services on April 27!!!
Please be in prayer for us:
· Strength and clarity of mind as we plan;
· Spiritual Warfare - as satan tries to work against us;
· Organization - of all the "things" we need to acquire for services (infant care, children's ministry, video/tech, welcome gifts, coffee, Bibles, signage, backdrops, etc);
· Our team! We need to have 15-20 people to commit to helping for 4 weeks... We need: greeters, child care workers, set up, tear down helpers, and prayer warriors.
February 11th - From our District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
Last week, I met with the Board in Watertown, SD for a review of Pastor Steve Biswell, where the Board unanimously recommended an Extended Call. I believe this church's pastoral transition is the best and most healthy that they have ever known. They are now focused on reaching their community and growing, instead of wasting energy on a lot of petty squabbles.
This last Sunday we were part of the New Life Church in Gillette, WY. I love their worship experience. What you see, and hear, and feel is very good. This church has grown by about 300 this year; meaning they are seeing well over 900 people on most weekends! Given the trauma and loss of the past, this is a major league "Praise the Lord!" ... Billy Wilson, and the excellent staff who work with him, have one of the toughest leadership challenges in our District and are doing a great job. I believe that with the grace of God, this church will continue to thrive and connect many lost people with Christ!
January 22nd - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
God's Kingdom is growing and moving powerfully in the Northwest District. I can hardly wait for us to be together in Billings to celebrate, fellowship, and grow together! -- Let me give you a few updates and news from around our District.
- A couple of weeks ago, we got to be a part of Capital Park Church in Salem, OR for a mortgage burning service. This is a church whose average attendance this past year was 104. Seventeen years ago this church did an audacious thing. They raised money & borrowed $450,000 to build a large community center on their campus where they run outreach ministries to their community. At that time their neighborhood was called "Felony Flats"; within a year the crime rate went down 30%. -- They are integrating this ministry with reaching whole families for Christ, knowing that to truly transform people, churches, and communities we must connect people with Jesus. At their recent mortgage burning, two local school principals spoke with appreciation about the impact this church and this center has on children in this community. Another prominent city leader said that because of the example of Pastor Jerry Sloan and Capital Park Wesleyan Church, 60 other churches in the Salem area have engaged in meeting the needs of their community.
- Celebrate Church in Sioux Falls, SD is experiencing a wonderful time of growth, with over 750 people coming to Christ this church year. Attendance in December averaged over 5,000; weekly offerings averaged over $99,000. Don't be envious...Rejoice! -- These numbers include their new satellite campus in Huron, where they recently had 75 people attending! Praise the Lord!
- Our church in Buffalo, WY recently had 407 in attendance on Sunday morning. They have moved into a new Youth Center, and are out of space for children! Having had significant trauma several years ago, this is now a quite healthy church with a strong sense of mission; planning and praying to reach the 3,000 people that are within reach of their church, who are not following Jesus!
- Spearfish Countryside's satellite in Sundance, WY recently baptized two people and had around 120 there to experience it. Praise God!
- The Ransom Church in Sioux Falls, SD just opened a new satellite campus in Harrisburg, SD. They had 115 for their launch Sunday, and had over 1,400 attending that weekend in all their locations. Not shabby. Praise the Lord!
It is so much fun to be part of a team like this. God can work through messed up people like you and me and see "His Kingdom and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven". Hallelujah!
January 17th - From GracePoint-Marshall - Chad/Trisha Bergjord
Wow! What a year! We spent the past year growing deeper relationships and continuing to find and meet needs in the community. Currently we have 3 small group studies occurring: a Ladies Bible Study on Monday mornings, studying the book of Mark; a LifeGroup on Wednesday evenings, studying Genesis; and a Teen Girl/Mom Group doing a sex curriculum. Each of these groups allows us to teach Christian principles, go deeper into personal relationships with many people, and allow them to see that we are common people with hearts passionate for Jesus!
November 30th - Spirit Alive Wesleyan,Yakima, WA - Pastor, Jeff & Lurlene Allen
Doesn't God just amaze you, the way he reaches people "where they are"!!
When a gal brought her husband to our "Trunk or Treat" a year ago, he said "Don't ask me to go in that church, lightning might strike." But...he felt so welcome he has hardly missed since - that was over a year ago! Last week, on Thanksgiving, he texted us to say he needed to talk; that he'd been crying for 2 days and really wants to know how to be saved! Tonight Jeff met with him at the church and he prayed the sinner's prayer! This is a hard, hard guy, who was a rodeo cowboy. It was amazing to see his face change. He wants to be baptized tomorrow... and will be lighting the 1st candle in our Advent service tomorrow too! - God is giving back what the locust has eaten! And it's His Harvest that's coming in!!! We love it!!!
November 29th - From Pastor Isaac Smith, District Superintendent
I hope you found time to express gratitude to the Lord, your family, and the church during this Thanksgiving time. I am very grateful for many things, and one of them is that I have the privilege working alongside you in this part of God's harvest field. I have been praying for, and praising God for, many of you over the past several days.
So much is happening in so many of our churches... but a couple specific churches for whom you could be praying are: (1) Aberdeen,SD - Pray for wisdom and clear direction for them as they go through this time of transition in pastoral leadership, and rethinking the way they do church and what the future should look like for them; (2) Medford, OR - Pray for God's anointing on this church, as well as John & Cristin Howell and the replant team they are putting together. I believe this is one of the strategic centers in our District. Pray that God will help them to effectively grow so they can plant and satellite in this whole area.
November 25th - Spirit Alive Wesleyan,Yakima, WA - Pastor, Jeff & Lurlene Allen
Just needed to share! A little gal we have been praying for since last year, came to know Jesus this past Thursday! She has come off and on to church for over a year, but the world she was raised in was hard and atheistic, so she just couldn't believe that God was real. Through a series of events that brought her to the end of herself...she asked to meet with us. - End Result: She prayed the sinner's prayer... and co-workers shared that "the change" is already evident at work. Whoohoo for Jesus! -- An extra note: God is working in our attendance too! We had 93 last week and 104 this week!!!! J
October 27th - From Isaac Smith, District Superintendent
This weekend I was privileged to preach in three services at the Ransom Church in Sioux Falls, SD. This church has a lot of wonderful attributes - high skilled, high tech, high energy, and high growth. However, what impressed me most was how they bathe their ministry in prayer, and how much I sensed the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the services! The Ransom is very missional about "setting captives free" and God is anointing and blessing this church. Less than 5 years old, they currently have over 1,200 in attendance, with more people on the way. Plans are to launch a new satellite in Harrisburg, SD in about 12 weeks, with Wayne and Teresa Dorion as campus pastors. They anticipate this will be the first of several satellite campuses, and will lead to many being set free through our "ultimate ransom", Christ Jesus!
October 14th - Some Special Highlights - from Pastor Isaac Smith, District Superintendent
- Pastor Scott Wallace - Columbia View Church, Gresham, OR (a suburb of Portland) Pastor Scott reports that they have grown through the summer and have some fresh wind in their church now! Praise the Lord!
- Linwood Wesleyan, in Sioux Falls, SD - celebrated their 50th Anniversary on October 13th! Founding Pastor Darrell and Rudy Wagner were in attendance, as well as other former pastors - Steve Emery, Bill Kinann and Steve Selfridge. Pastor Darrell shared about the small beginnings and the joy of having 22 people in attendance in the early week. He emphasized the power of God that has been, and is at work in His Church. Through the ministry of Linwood, and the churches they have planted, well over 10 thousand people have come to know Christ! ... and that number is growing! Current pastor, Bob McHenry, wrapped up the service with a very good vision casting message. There is no doubt God has good days ahead for Linwood Wesleyan, and He will continue to bless them!
- Sioux Falls Celebrate, under the leadership of Pastor Keith Loy is in a very healthy place right now. On all their campuses they had over 4,500 people the weekend of Oct.13th - and they have had 394 people come to Christ so far this church year. Praise the Lord! ... And, last week their new satellite campus in Huron, SD had 67 people in attendance!
We had a great weekend! Even with some regulars missing, we had 114 in attendance - and a Spirit-filled worship! One couple reunited after a separation, and the husband accepted the Lord. We also had a new young guy in his early 20's who accepted the Lord! It is awesome to see God do miracles, and to see people saved! We have had 4 so far in the last 5 weeks! Praise God!! -- Keep praying for us, as we are so hungry to see growth. We may not see it by looking at the numbers, but God IS still adding each week.
October 14th - From Pastor Dan Ziebarth - 1st Wesleyan, Sturgis, SD
Please be praying for us as we're moving 'full speed ahead' on two services. Our launch date is November 3rd. We needed people to step up to make this 2nd service happen ... and the response has been great. We've seen numbers of new people commit to taking their first step into serving regularly. And we've seen some folks 'get back in the saddle' that really needed to. I'm humbled and praising God. Thanks for your prayers!
October 13th - From Pastor Wayne Mueller - Asst. District Supt.
We were privileged to worship at Mitchell Wesleyan for the dedication of their new worship center! More than 600 worshipers were in attendance in the two services, which were followed by a delicious buffet lunch, an open house, and guided tours of the facility. Pastor Keith Nash and his team members are to be commended! This is a purposefully designed facility, and Mitchell Wesleyan is "poised and praying" to reach many people in their community and beyond for Jesus Christ!!
October 8th - From Pastor Josh Kendrick - Redfield, SD
God has been very good! Our church board and Sunday school teachers have prayed faithfully for God to provide opportunities, and to bless our efforts to reach kids. Having been proactive in connecting with, and serving children in our community, we were able to launch our children's ministry this fall with 22 kids! Praise the Lord! Our church hasn't reached kids like that in many years. -- They are now considering building options, to gain more room for children and youth. Redfield Wesleyan has a bright hope for the future!
October 4th - From Pastor Charley Carpenter - Bozeman, MT
This fall has been a lot of fun for us as our college students have returned and families have given up camping for a while. Not only has it been exciting to see the familiar faces, but we have had the opportunity to reach a lot of "disconnected" people in our community. ... We have a very young, poor, and transient group of people who are a part of Venture. In saying that, I want you to know that you are making a HUGE impact right here in Bozeman! Thank you so much for supporting us as missionaries here in Bozeman. It is humbling and exciting to see that God is working and is allowing us to be a part of what He is doing!
September 25th — GracePoint, Marshall — Chad & Trisha Bergjord
September was very full in Marshall. Here are a just a few of the highlights... The Ladies Bible Study Group has grown to nine...and is going verse-by-verse through the book of Mark! The Food-4-Kids program (that Chad helped get started) has begun distributing food to 99 Kindergartners in the public school! -- And looking forward to October...we plan to begin a Life Group for couples on Wed evenings - and start a "Trunk or Treat" too!
Please PRAY... about a facility for our use; that our team would continue to come together with passion for being the church 7 days a week; and for our 7-yr old son who is struggling in school.
September 11th — From Pastor Isaac Smith, D.S.
Take a look at these "snapshots" of God doing His Kingdom work through churches in our District? The Biddle, Montana church is preparing to baptize 5 people this week! Our satellite in Sundance, WY have seen a lot of new people come to Christ - and had over 100 people on Labor Day Weekend! Our Hamilton, MT church accepted the challenge at District Conference to support a new Jesus Film Project in India; pledged $1,000.00; and have already raised it all and sent it to Global Partners! Pastor Billy Wilson from Gillette, WY reports an August average148 above last year's average! Pastor Dane Gjesdal, from the Northgate Church in Salem, Oregon, says they have been growing all summer!. Praise the Lord!!
September 8th — From Pastor Issac Smith, D.S. — Spokane, WA
On Sept.8th we were in Spokane, WA for the installation of Nathan and Maria Lail as Pastor at Living Hope Community Church. What a great day! - I met with the Board on Saturday night, and Sunday interacted with the congregation of about 75. There was a sense of hope and fresh energy, and their future looks bright. They have a nice facility on about 8 acres in a good location, and in a city of about 180,000. They also have some quality lay leaders, good DNA, and a very good young pastoral couple! We expect this church to thrive!
September 4th — From Quarry Rock Church, Dell Rapids, SD
On September 8th, Quarry Rock Church will begin a 31-week journey, called, "The Story." - a series originally done by Randy Frazee, who replaced Max Lucado as lead pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX. There is a lot of excitement in the air - and we are really looking forward to what God is going to do among us during this journey! The way it works is amazing. - People read the 1st chapter during the 1st week; then Sunday I preach on that chapter; then the next week, parents read from the children's version to their kids about that same chapter!. (And at the same time, the parents are reading chapter 2 in preparation for following Sunday.) This system really provides an opportunity for the parents to shine like "rock stars" as they've read the chapter, heard a sermon, and then get to teach their kids all they've learned through that previous week! Kids will be amazed at the knowledge that mom and dad have! - Pastor Milt Borah, Lead Pastor
August 21st — From GracePoint Wesleyan, Marshall, MN — The Bergjords
We are gearing up to begin our small group Bible Studies. The ladies group began Aug 26th and the couples' Bible Study will begin on Sept 11th. Pray for people to continue to join us, especially in becoming part of our launch team. Pray for our schooling process: Chad is finishing up coursework from August; Trisha is planning to attend classes in September.
- Enjoying serving the people of Marshall, Chad & Trisha Bergjord family
August 18th — From Pastor Isaac Smith, D.S. — Mitchell, SD
On August 18th we were part of worshipping our Lord in the new building at Mitchell, SD. Wow! They have done an outstanding job of building on the "same property", but making it coherent and beautiful. - This is a strong church with an amazing heart for missions around the world. God and Gospel focused, they are working hard to be welcoming to the people of their area. And even with well over 500 in attendance, there is still plenty of room for the growth they anticipate!
August 17th — Rev. Ben Joachim - Homegoing!
On August 17th, I had the honor of participating in the funeral of Rev. Ben Joachim, who was 90 yr. old when he went home to heaven. He was simply sitting in a chair at home, and then he was gone. What a way to go! Ben pastored two churches, Conner, MT and Medicine Rocks, MT over a span of 33 years. He was faithful and fruitful in these small rural communities and we honor his service. Please be praying for his wife Audrey and their family as they grieve. - Pastor Isaac Smith, District Superintendent
August 15th — Native Ministries — Pastor Larry Salway, Director
At each ministry site (HeSapa New Life, Pierre Lakota Chapel, Wicona Teca Fellowship, and Home Churches) we are seeing the transformation of new converts as they grow and develop their faith in the Lord! Step by step forward, a few falls, and then up and continuing on-stronger in their walk with Christ. Pray for each of these young people, that they will remain steadfast and continue on to complete surrender to Christ.
August 6th — From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith — Pierre, SD
Tom and Brenda Karp have done an excellent job of leading our church plant in Pierre, SD to a healthy place of strength. The Bridge has a great sense of community and connection with the Lord, and with each other. This gifted pastoral couple, are doing something that is a bit unusual, in that while Tom IS the pastor of The Bridge in Pierre, Pastor David Kinnan, from the Fountain Springs Church in Rapid City, preaches about 50% of the time. Yes, he is on screen! -- While Tom is a quite good communicator, his major gifts lie in the area of pastoral care, shepherding, and administrative leadership. They have a local Advisory Counsel and very much "own" this as their church, but they are able to share the gifts God has given David Kinnan. -- The Bridge has developed a good congregation. Even with a few families missing, there were 57 in attendance this past Sunday. Mostly young families... they are having lots of babies right now — and also having a number of spiritual babies that are growing up in Christ! It is quite encouraging to see and feel what God is doing in Pierre!
August 5th — From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith — Spokane Valley, WA
Nathan and Maria Lail, who have been on staff at First Wesleyan Church, Rapid City, SD, will be moving by September 1st, to serve in our church in Spokane Valley, WA — a church that seems to have considerable strength and very bright upsides in a very strategic location. This could become one of those "hub" locations to reach an entire region. Be praying for Nate and Maria!
July 20th — From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith — Soldotna, AK
We met with Brian Wahl, Brent Kirby, and their Leadership Team in Soldotna, AK, celebrating the wonderful growth they have been experiencing, and looking forward to the next stages of development. This church is a wonderful example of a place that was small and struggling for many years, but is now strong and thriving, with a consistent attendance of over 200. These people have a heart for continued growth in their immediate area, as well as for satelliting into towns and villages in their region. There is also good potential for partnership with Larry Salway, to reach native villages that are accessible by bush plane.
July 21st — From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith — Wasilla, AK
We spent some time with Chet and Angela Hobbie, from our Wasilla, AK church. Tailhead is a church that was planted out of the Anchorage Church and is doing very well. They do feel that their building is probably the major lid right now, hindering them from growing faster. This area continues to grow, and they are well poised to reach a lot of people for Jesus. We toured a really good property, but it is a stretch and we are not sure that it can happen right now. (Pray for them in these decision making days.)
July 27th — From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith — Anchorage, AK
Levi and Heidi Smith are working with a good group of college age interns and are connecting with several young adults in the city of Anchorage, AK. This church continues to add new people, and lose people who move out of Alaska after a couple of years or so. They are implementing some new approaches to ministry that we hope and pray will lead to a more sustainable critical mass for expanded ministry. Like some of our other churches, they have a wider reach of ministry than their reported numbers would indicate. Levi chairs the Crisis Pregnancy Board, which is the strongest pro-life voice in their state. He also serves as a chaplain for energy workers in many parts of Alaska. When we were there he had just returned from a helicopter ride deep in the wilderness, because of the death of a young man. He was able to counsel and pray with many in that crew; some of whom prayed with him to receive Christ!
July 1st — From District Superintendent, Pastor Isaac Smith
It was really good to see you at District Conference/Camp time... And, a great joy to share and celebrate the struggles and victories that we have together as we pursue God's mission!
June 28th — Fountain Springs Community Church, Rapid City, SD — Pastor David Kinnan
Last week, 907 Fountain Springers served 3,420.5 hours (in dozens of service projects) to LOVE RAPID CITY! WOW! GOD IS SO GOOD! And how exciting to see what He has still in store!
June 20th — HeSapa New Life, Rapid City, SD — Pastor Larry & Dale Salway
Within the past two months, God has opened doors into SIX new native communities located on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. We have prayed for open doors into one of these communities for the past 5 years; a community where the worst historical atrocities have occurred, and where the pain, bitterness, and scars are still very deep. Now we have the privilege of bringing reconciliation in Jesus name into the darkest places on earth! "What we do today ripples throughout eternity!"
June 7th — GracePoint Satellite, Marshall, MN — Pastor Chad Bergjord
It has been an absolute joy to minister in Marshall! We are asking for your prayers as we move into our next major phase of our church plant; as we go beyond building a relationship with people, and start asking people to "join us" — and commit to GracePoint. Pray for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as to whom God wants on this team, not whom we might think is interested. Pray for boldness as we approach people; that the "right" facility would be available and solidified; for the team as they figure out the in's and out's of doing a satellite service; and for communication between the MANY different aspects of this church plant.
Yesterday, June 30th, we worshiped with Rapid City First at a new location! They have purchased and paid for land in a developing neighborhood on the edge of Rapid City, where we gathered for an outdoor service. It was a great time of acknowledging the history, but looking forward to future ministry for this church. There were 329 people who were part of praying, preaching, worshipping, communion — and, of course eating and playing! Steve Selfridge and team did a great job of planning this time to be quite meaningful and inspiring. It was a setting and a congregation that demonstrated hope. Please pray for them as they go through the transition of selling their current facility and building a new one. -- God bless you, Pastor Isaac
May 3, 2013 — From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
We had a great weekend recently in Montana, where we connected with Jim and Joni Head, our pastoral team at Tree of Life in Billings. We heard about the very big impact, this very small church is having in the Billings community. On Easter weekend, over 800 people heard the Gospel message, participated in an Easter egg hunt, etc. This church has a mission to the low income, and often quite dysfunctional, households in Billings. Jim and Joni each have full time jobs, in addition to the ministry; and they lead this small congregation in bringing Jesus to children and families that are very needy. They need prayers and help!
We also visited the Joliet Church ...This church is in a healthy growth mode - and is reaching several new and younger families. They have an increasing digital congregation, and are a very significant influence in their area. This is one of those churches where the "stories" are better than the "numbers". God is working and good things are happening!
April 22, 2013 - GracePoint Wesleyan's Satellite in Marshall, MN - Pastor Chad Bergjord
We are focusing at... pouring into individuals who need to experience the grace and forgiveness of God - and serving in the community. Chad is working with people in the community to begin a Backpack Program, which provides food for children who might otherwise not eat from Friday-Monday. (In Marshall. 47% of the K-2nd grade would qualify!) He is also volunteering with Fellowship of Christian Athletes on a weekly basis. Trisha is leading a women's Bible study in their home; and volunteering at an organization called House of Hope, revamping their menus, teaching cooking skills, and devotionals.
"It is important that people know we are here to serve them" We've learned that 2 church plants failed recently, simply because they came in and wanting to change people, without caring for the individual.
Our current tentative long-range plan is to hold an "Explorers Service" the first week of October, November, and December. Please pray that a facility would become available for us to use - and for the many details that will need to be worked out.
Other prayer concerns: Pray for Missy, who is attending Trisha's Bible Study ...she has never been to a Bible study before and is seeking Truth. Pray for the community to come together in partnership to start the Backpack Program. Pray that as a family we would be sensitive to the Spirit in every conversation. Shouting out the name of Jesus, in Marshall! - Chad, Trisha & family
March 24, 2013 - From Venture Church, Bozeman, MT - Pastor Charley Carpenter
Do Church Plants work? Do they make a difference that matters? Do they reach the unsaved for Christ? YES!!!!!
Check out this link to see what GOD is doing through one of our newest church plants!
March 24, 2013 - From HeSapa New Life, Rapid City
70 believers gathered together on a cold, windy day in a small, remote Lakota village. The people are literally the poorest in the nation. Sixty miles from the nearest gas station, grocery store, or ambulance service... the world passes them by. These people are forgotten. Not even their own tribe cares much for them and rarely gives assistance. Church buildings have been abandoned and empty for years. No pastor and no services.
Today however, as Pastor Larry & Dale Salway made their monthly trek to conduct services in this remote village, they found people quickly gathering together to celebrate Palm Sunday, Easter, and Communion in one service! Everyone was unusually reverent and attentive.... as the Holy Spirit made Himself known and ministered to each one! Does Jesus care for these? Yes, He cares! Jesus cares and He didn't pass them by!
March 18th, 2013 - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
This past weekend... was very encouraging as we worshipped with Pastor Matt & Joanna in Hot Springs, SD; to get to see and sense the health that God has brought to this congregation. God, who usually chooses to work through leaders, has worked through them to renew and restore His Church in a beautiful way! Exciting days! ...
And as Easter Sunday approaches, I pray that these next two weeks will indeed be holy weeks for all of you - pastors and churches. Please remember that you will have unique opportunities to worship, lead in worship, and invite people to begin a walk with Jesus! This is the Super Bowl. You have a shot at the end zone. Don't blow it!! God bless you - Pastor Isaac
March 14th, 2013 - Fountain Springs Community Church, Rapid City - Pastor David Kinnan
The weekend of March 10th & 11th was absolutely amazing! 342 men attended the men's event on Saturday with Navy Seal, Chad Williams - and 87 of those men stood to surrender their lives to Christ! THEN... of the 1,938 who worshipped at Fountain Springs on Sunday morning, 110 of those folks stood to surrender their lives to Christ! WOW! That's 197 people who surrendered to Christ! -- WOW AGAIN!!! Is that not cause for ALL of us to stop and celebrate!!!
January 30, 2013 - From New Life Wesleyan, Gillette, WY - Pastor Billy Wilson
Remember the Power Team? the muscle-bound evangelists that break bricks, bats, etc.? Well, turns out they are still around...new guys, same stunts. New Life Wesleyan in Gillette hosted the Power Team for a weekend event the last Sunday in January - and saw some incredible numbers:
- Almost 4,000 in total attendance over four nights, including repeats;
- An estimated 750 "responses" (hands raised/altar call);
- At the closing rally on Sunday we had close to 1,200 people!
January 27th - BELLE FOURCHE WESLEYAN CHURCH
Pastor Pete Bonnichsen led friends, family and former church members in worship for his last time at Belle Fourche Wesleyan Church on Sunday, January 27th. Numbers expressed appreciation to Pastor Pete and Barb for their years of ministry - teaching, discipleship and leadership. In the midst of his message, Pastor Pete noted that though this may be his last sermon from this pulpit, it's NOT his last sermon... He wants his life to "preach God"! He said of himself, "I am a man of an awesome God - and I pass on all the praise to Him!"
Thank you, Pastor Pete Bonnichsen! The Dakota District appreciates both you, and your years of faithful service at Belle Fourche Wesleyan Church!
January 23, 2013 - From Pastor Isaac Smith, DS
WOW! I am encouraged and excited. It is so good to see God at work healing, transforming, and renewing His Church. This last weekend we were part of the Gillette New Life Church and met with their Board for a pastoral review. It was very good. The Board review was a unanimous, positive, slam-dunk. Attendance is up over 600. Finances are doing very well. This church has been the key player in helping to launch Venture Church in Bozeman. They are seeing a lot of new people connect with the church and Christ. They have an excellent staff that is effective in so many ways in the church and community, and their worship experience is very very good. Mike Wilson has brought together new technology, ancient truths, and an experience that pulls people into meaningful worship. They have IT! -- Having experienced the highs and lows of this church for many years, I can't tell you how encouraging it is to see them brought back to health... and to know that God is reaching lost people through this church again. God loves lost people! God loves us! God loves His Church! We love Him! -- God bless you, Isaac
January 22, 2013 - Ola Campbell Honored Veteran of the Month!
Ola D Campbell, having served his country in World War II, was honored as the "Veteran of the Month" in a special ceremony in the Council Chambers at the Rapid City Administration Center.
"By his outstanding professional ability, superb airmanship, courage and devotion to duty, as was evidenced by his personal record of 35 actual combat missions, Lieutenant Campbell has reflected great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America."
Notes or words of 'congratulations' may be sent to: Ola Campbell, 2205 Rose Creek Drive, Gillette, WY 82718
January 7th - From Isaac Smith, District Superintendent
I've been hearing many wonderful reports of lots of people connecting with the church over the Christmas season. We hope and pray that these individuals will truly find God? and continue to connect with Him through His Church!
December 17, 2012 - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
Yesterday we were in Watertown, SD where the weather outside was frightful, but the warmth and worship inside was delightful. Jim and Peggy Biswell have just resigned as Senior Pastor at Watertown and have accepted the call of the Medicine Rocks Church in Montana, with a plan to move in January. I believe they will have a very blessed and fruitful ministry in the Medicine Rocks area.
Steve Biswell, who has been on staff at Watertown for some time now, has been appointed as Interim Senior Pastor.
Last weekend (Dec.9th), we were in Alaska. (Note to self: Try not to schedule Watertown and Alaska in December!) - The Anchorage church is seeing some healthy growth, with new people and new ministry, but is also experiencing the nearly constant turnover that is part of Anchorage. ... Anchorage also continues to be a very eclectic city. (The school district reports children from 142 different languages groups. WOW!) - And, Anchorage is the most un-churched city in North America! While that indicates a lot of opportunity, it also underscores the enormous resistance to the Church and The Gospel. Please pray that God will create hunger and thirst - and that we will be able to introduce them to the Bread of Life and the Water of Life!
HeSapa New Life, Rapid City - held their first Christmas event of the year this past Saturday (December 1st). And, what an incredible day it was! Over 150 people gathered with them in Allen, SD, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, to celebrate Christmas! Even more exciting is the fact that in response to Pastor Larry Salway sharing the Christmas Story and the Gospel message.... SEVEN individuals came forward to accept the Savior into their lives! ... the Greatest Christmas Gift ever given!!! Praise God! -- [Note: Their next Christmas event is scheduled for this Saturday, December 8th, in Mission, SD.]
November 9th - From The Ransom, Sioux Falls, SD - Pastor Phil Tague
Just wanted to update you on the latest! God is moving in such a miraculous way! We have prayed that He would move in such a way that there is no way we could be tempted to take credit for it. That has truly happened! This last week, we had 922 people in church! We have had over 100 kids... just in kids worship the last few weeks! It is truly unbelievable! We are already having meetings about what to do next, as we are already running out of space! We just keep praying, "Holy Spirit don't stop, but help people be patient with us while we figure things out!" Praise God for what He is doing in Sioux Falls right now
November 9th - From Mission, SD & Ministry to the Lakota - Pastor Larry Salway
We are very happy to announce that Rev. Doug and Norma Jean Trennepohl will move to Mission, SD on November 19th, to begin ministry among the Lakota of the Rosebud Reservation!
We have earnestly prayed that God would send a pastor here, and are blessed that the Trennepohls feel God's call to Mission and the Rosebud Reservation. After working with the tribal people of Kosovo for the past 13 years, they seem to be a great fit. In Kosovo, Doug focused on outreach ministry in homes and discipleship. This is what will work in Rosebud, and we are blessed that God has sent them here. We do have a couple in Mission already who are new converts and who are ready and eager for discipleship!
YOU CAN BE INVOLVED: Since the Trennepohls have just returned from Kosovo (with very few personal possessions), many things are needed to start their home (i.e. electric stove; refrigerator; general household items; etc). If you would like to help in this area - please call them at: 317-910-4147 - or email: email@example.com.
November 5th - From HeSapa New Life, Rapid City, SD - Pastor Larry Salway
We had an awesome Outreach Service in Cherry Creek this past Thursday! Traveling 389 miles... (through thick fog; pulling a trailer; arriving home at 1 AM).. one does wonder if it is worth it? HOWEVER... 97 people showed up ... and SEVEN young women, whom we've been praying for, came forward to accept Christ as their Savior! This makes every effort worth it all! Each of these women received a New Testament and are signed up for the weekly DVDs. Praise God!
This community of Cherry Creek is a forgotten and neglected community. The evangelical churches have over-looked them due to their poverty and remoteness. But, fortunately, God has not forsaken them! And He has called us to minister to these precious people, who want a church and pastor so desperately! Please pray for our people in Cherry Creek!
November 1st, 2012 - From Countryside Sundance, Sundance, WY - Pastor Mark Fuhr
This from our newest church satellite:
"It's been incredible - we're seeing about 120 to 150 people attending on Sunday - but the most amazing number is that we have had 13 salvations in 7 weeks! God is truly bringing a harvest through our leaders in Sundance! We started a youth group there last week with 12 teens! It's been a huge bridge for us to the community to not only do weekend services but a weekly youth group also.
It's been truly amazing to see how God can work in creative ways!"
October 22, 2012 - From Johnson Corners, Watford City, ND - Pastor Adrian Timmons
We want to thank everyone for all the prayers and support that we have had from so many across our District since the tragic accident that sent a semi-truck through our building on September 17th. It has been interesting reorganizing and only using 60% of the building, but we are doing it. Today the trusses should arrive and then work can begin to rebuild the damaged part of the church and school. The construction company hopes to have the work done by the first of the new year. We continue to praise the Lord for His miraculous intervention that spared the lives of so many students and staff.
October 9th, 2012 - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
The weekend of October 7th , I was privileged to preach 5 times at Celebrate (in Sioux Falls) and to hang out with Keith and some of the staff... God has used this church to connect thousands of people to Christ and they have been a real blessing to many in the Dakota District. We are all grateful for God's favor and gifting, and join them in prayer as they continue to "reach thousands of people for Christ".
We continue to have lots of good things happening in lots of churches in our District - and we have had a very positive summer season at Cedar Canyon Campground as well!
This weekend I plan to be on campus at OKWU - where by the way, they are off to another record start for the school year and the future for them looks very bright. While there, I plan to meet with a launch team who is preparing for a new church plant in Utah. Please pray that God will continue to provide wisdom, people, and finances so this can be effective.
October 8, 2012 - From The Ransom Church, Sioux Falls, SD - Pastor Phill Tague
You know that place God gets you to sometimes, where you know you are out beyond your own wisdom and abilities? It is the place where in order to keep moving forward, you have to risk beyond recovery, but not beyond the Spirit's cover! Essentially, you have to let go of what YOU can do ~ and put your full trust in the Spirit to pick up where your abilities end... That is where I live... God is doing such amazing things at The Ransom! ~ I have prayed that when God moved here, it would be in such a way that there wouldn't be a moment where we could be tempted to become prideful... that it would be so completely obvious that it was a divine movement, that humility would be the only logical response. And that is indeed how He is moving! The truth is, I feel humbled... and totally ill equipped... which is GREAT! Scripture says that "where I am weak, He is strong". Every day, every decision I make, I am seeking Him first. Prayer has become the most important weapon that I have, and something I can't come to work without. Being in this position is awesome, daunting, terrifying, amazing, humbling, scary, unbelievable and totally God ordained...and I love it! ~ That said, I ask you to continue to pray for divine wisdom... wisdom that goes beyond human instinct and ability, and manifests itself in peace!
September 19, 2012 - From New Hope, Williston, ND - Pastor Mike Skor
Just another fun "God Story" from this past weekend: After finishing with baptisms, I stepped off our makeshift trailer to the side of the crowd and was promptly engulfed in a tear-stained hug from a 15 year old girl who is new to our youth group. She was crying so hard she could not bring herself to let go. Finally, when she was able to answer my question as to what was wrong, she responded by saying, "Nothing is wrong Pastor Mike, I just wanted to thank you. We just started coming here. My mom has never really liked church before and my dad is Catholic and wouldn't come. But because it was outside and a picnic, they came today to be with me. When you asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus and told them to stand up... they both stood up and asked Jesus into their hearts! Our whole family knows Jesus now!" New chapters for the story of God's church!!!
September 16, 2012 - From New Hope, Williston, ND - Pastor Mike Skor
Our Church on the Lawn service yesterday was an amazing day of God's grace. Our team estimated 800 plus folks in attendance. 10 were baptized (3 in response to the invitation) and well over a dozen stood up to indicate that they wanted to begin a relationship with Christ. So thankful for this incredible group of God-oriented people who are part of the New Hope family!
September 11, 2012 - From District Superintendent, Pastor Isaac Smith
This weekend we got to be part of a brand new venue and it was awesome. This is not about me, nor is it about the numbers you will see, nor is it about just ?one more site? where the Wesleyan Church meets. It is about a young mother who had not been in church since she was a child and who has experienced deep hurt and loss in her life. She was part of this Sunday morning and connected with God through His Church, along with several others who are exploring their need for God and His power in their life. They are really who this is all about? and why we do what we do.
The place was Sundance,WY - and we were part of Countryside Sundance. For the past few years a growing group of people have been driving to Spearfish to be part of Countryside there - and have met in Sundance as a Life Group. This Sunday was the launch of a satellite campus and we had 190 people! Mark Fuhr was there to preach live this weekend and other staff pastors will be preaching live throughout September. Following that, it is probable that the message will be on screen... with a live worship band. They are also getting ready to launch a youth group in a few weeks, which means we will probably have the only youth group in Sundance, as well as the largest church!
This is a wonderful example of a place where we probably would not have "planned" to plant a church, but because we now have a satellite venue there... many lost people who will connect with Christ! God's Church continues to grow in a variety of ways, and this seems to be an effective way right now.
August 27, 2012 - From Rapid City, First Wesleyan - Pastor Steve Selfridge
"I have encouraged our congregation to read through the Bible this year - and this past Sunday, asked for an update. With approximately 180 families who considered this their church home, 33 indicated that they are reading--some ahead, some behind and some right on! Of course I desire more... but I think it's great that 33 homes (or more) are in the Word almost every day - and I wanted to share some of what God is doing in our church."
August 2, 2012 - From Venture Church, Bozeman, MT - Pastor Charley Carpenter
What a Summer this has been in Bozeman! With the combination of the beautiful weather, the gorgeous mountains and the incredible people we have come to know and love, it has been a great time in our lives! As we wake up every day, we are so blessed to serve this great community as missionaries. Thank you so much for partnering with us through your continued prayers and support. We couldn't do this without you!
Now a Family of Five: On July 6th, Asher Michaiah Carpenter was born, weighing in at a solid 7 lbs. 9 oz. From that day, sleep has become a novelty that all of us cherish greatly. The few hours that Asher lets us (mostly Katie) sleep each night are greatly appreciated. Both Faith and Grace love little Asher and want to hold him and know where he is and what he is doing all the time. They are tremendous big sisters!
Continue to pray that we maintain the mindset of missionaries! This is why we are here!
Pray for us as we kick off our Venture Groups in September. We want people to engage and get plugged in, moving beyond attendance.
Pray for us that we would continue to focus on reaching out to those who are not in a relationship with Jesus.
Pray that what we do every day will be a reflection of "who we are," not just what we do on Sundays.
July 11, 2012 - From The Ransom Church in Sioux Falls, SD - Pastor Phill Tague
I have never been more pumped to write you a prayer email! What God has been doing the last few weeks is amazing! He continues to give us glimpses and peeks at what's coming and we are overwhelmed, blown away and most of all, humbled at all that He has planned! God is good!
This last Sunday was an unbelievable service! We have continued to grow all summer, and Sunday was one of our biggest services of the summer. This was a baptism Sunday for us, and we had 22 scheduled for baptism. However, throughout the course of our 2 services, 11 more felt the call and were baptized on the spot, bringing the total to 33. The move of God's Spirit on our church this Sunday was nothing short of miraculous! Praise God for what He is doing!
That leads to our prayer requests. We are overwhelmed in a good way! In the next few weeks, we are making an effort to recruit a ton of new volunteers. We are also praying that God continues to raise up leaders from among us. We are praying for continued growth, but we are also praying for the leaders and the finances to keep up with Him! I know these requests honor Him and that He has it all under control. I also know that He won't give us what we need a moment before we need it. That is kind of how he seems to work with us. But I pray with complete confidence in this! God is going to do miracles in these areas because we are seeking Him in prayer! Please join us in praying for the leaders and the finances we need to be ready for what God is going to do next...it is going to be huge! - Pastor Phill Tague
June 13, 2012 - From Venture Church in Bozeman, MT - Pastor Charley Carpenter
WOW!!! ... With us approaching Bozeman as missionaries, it is hard to remember everything or even share everything, as our list each day would get extensive. So, I will try to hit the high spots. I will say, that serving Bozeman as missionaries has been the biggest blessing of our lives. Through this time, we have gotten to personally know more non-believers now than we have known in our last 10 years of ministry. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. We couldn't do this without you!
Serve the City Sunday... In our last Serve the City Sunday, we had over 60 volunteers do a complete "Home Makeover" on the house of a single mom with three kids.
Ministry Help... John & Corina Paszkiet have come on to help with "Serve the City Sunday Projects". Andy & Danielle Holm are doing a phenomenal job with our Children's Ministry and connecting with people in the community. We are so blessed to have such Godly men working alongside of us here in Bozeman!
Buffalo Youth Missions Team... Last week Stephen and Elizabeth Martin brought 10 of their teens up to Bozeman for a week of serving the community and helping out. ... We are so thankful for all of their help and their attitudes about loving people and serving others
Summer Interns... We have one of the best groups of Summer Interns that I have ever seen. Collin Berg, Shanae Grate, Andrew Blain, Brooke Cummins and Esther Winterholer have joined us this Summer and are doing a wonderful job!!! They have truly embraced our mission and vision of reaching out to and serving the people of Bozeman as missionaries. It is fun to watch them engage and hear stories of how they are loving on people without our help at all. They are seeing needs and meeting them!!!
Thank you so much for your continued prayers, support and encouragement! We are so blessed to have all of you lifting us up in prayer as well as cheering us on as we advance the Kingdom here in Bozeman! - Pastor Charley Carpenter
July 2012 - From Redfield Wesleyan Church - Pastor Josh Kendrick
We are in the 2nd year of our summer lunch program, providing lunch (Monday-Friday) to those in need in Redfield. We are averaging about double from last year. - Our high this year so far is 64!
We had a 3-day Bible camp and 16 kids made decisions for Christ. We are working on following up with these kids and their families.
We've been doing a monthly Saturday PM service - called "Renew Church". Of the 43 who attended our launch in April, 33 don't attend Sunday mornings at our church - and all but nine of those have no church home. Our May service, held on Memorial weekend, had 30 in attendance - and again only a few of those attend our Sunday mornings. Our June 30th service was an outdoor service in the park with a great turnout of 45, including 16 kids. - We have gained contacts with 75 new people, including children through this ministry. - Pastor Josh Kendrick
June 21, 2012 - From New Hope Williston
Our team from Williston New Hope worked with Kids Around the World to purchase playground equipment for the Nune People in Central Asia - a wonderful people who made us feel very welcome. Our week was filled working with the local men, women and children to construct the playground. It was great to learn about the culture, the community and the food. We saw God use the team that He put in place for this trip. The missionaries in this field have a fierce love for these people and are truly led by God. - Pastor Chris Swarthout
May 30th - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
On Mother's Day, I was in Sioux Falls at The Ransom - where there were 640 in attendance (and routinely over 500 these days!). They are seeing a lot of new people connecting with Christ and there is a wonderful sense of excitement and engagement in the work of the Kingdom. They have a great staff of pastors. This church has an amazing up-side potential. Not bad for three years old!
Then... just 2 weeks later, I had the great experience of worshipping in Biddle, MT. We had 18 people, in a town of only 19 people! (That is more than 10% if you are doing the math). Part of that congregation is new and young - and this church is having meaningful impact in their area!
What a great reminder that God's Church is expressed in many styles and sizes!
One of the things that we will be discussing and making decisions on at General Conference next week - is about allowing a lot more flexibility in the Discipline when it comes to local church governance. What we currently have, doesn't really fit either of the two above mentioned churches - and those two churches could not be effectively governed the same way. Many of the same principles are held in common, but how that gets worked out is quite different. I am very excited about the possibility of this increased flexibility.
Please be praying for our General Conference. There are decisions to be made that could have very positive outcomes for local churches. God bless you - Pastor Isaac Smith, D.S.
May 26th - From Rapid City, HeSapa New Life - Pastor Larry Salway
God continues to move in amazing ways among the Lakota! The past few weeks, and months, have flown by as we've had one outreach event after another. We are now reaching into eight native communities with the Gospel message via outreach events. Through the massive DVD ministry, we are now reaching up to 6500 people weekly! The numbers are mind-boggling! Instead of numbers, we focus on one soul at a time; one outreach event at a time; one week of DVD mailings at a time. God is moving! - Pastor Larry Salway
March 15th - From Venture Church, Bozeman, MT - Pastor Charley Carpenter
February was the start of a new chapter in the life of Venture. We officially launched weekend services, started several Venture Groups - and were highly involved in serving our community! Through the month of February, and the beginning of March, we have met so many wonderful people - most of whom do not attend a church! This is one of the coolest parts about not doing much advertizing and growing by word of mouth. We get a lot of people who just aren't going anywhere! Way better than just re-arranging the Kingdom if you ask me. With each day we are more and more blessed to be able to serve the people of Bozeman as missionaries!!!
March 8th - From The Ransom Church, Sioux Falls, SD - Pastor Phill Tague
God has been blessing like crazy and we are currently averaging over 525 people in Sunday worship! It seems like every time we turn around, God has entrusted us with more people. We are so blessed by what He is doing. Pray that God would help us be faithful with the hearts and lives of those He has blessed us with!... Pray for wisdom for us as we look for a way to afford more chairs;... Pray for God's timing for us concerning adding more services - or other creative ways to allow more people to worship with us!... Pray for the dozen or so people who raised their hands to commit their lives to Christ on Sunday.... Pray for our newest series, Religion Bytes, a study on Galatians?. Pray for continued strength and wisdom in all we do! God is good! Pray that in all we do, HE receives ALL of the praise!
February 14th - From Venture Church, Bozeman, MT - Pastor Charley Carpenter
Wow! What a month it has been around Venture! In the course of one month we have held two preview services, celebrated Faith's 5th birthday, added 9 volunteers to our team - and just kicked off weekly services! ... We have been blessed with such an incredible support team and a phenomenal launch team. We are so blessed to be able to serve the people of Bozeman as missionaries!!! ... Thank you so much for your continued prayers, support and encouragement! We are so blessed to have all of you lifting us up in prayer, as well as cheering us on as we advance the Kingdom!
Please continue to pray...
*that we maintain the mindset of missionaries! This is why we are here!
*for us to be led to the right people in town, who are "Spiritually Receptive."
*for the expansion of our Venture Groups, as we connect people with others to mentor them and "do life together."
*that we will not become too focused on our Sunday Celebration Services, that it takes the place of our missionary work. - This is key!
February 9th - From Rapid City First Wesleyan, Pastor Steve Selfridge
I have been encouraging our people to read through the Bible - or read the Bible everyday - this year... On Sunday I asked how everyone is doing; last night Pastor Nate asked the teens. We have had 97 respond and most were on target already! This included two 6 year olds and 2 eight year olds! One lady has listened through the entire NT already God is using His Word to impact people in a mighty way!
January 26th - From District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
God is reaffirming that He blesses his people everywhere, that he honors a plethora of styles and personalities, and that we need all kinds of churches for all kinds of people! - From Geraldine... to Terry... to Greatest Commandments... to The Ransom... to Celebrate.. to Fountain Springs... our District is thriving in many shapes, sizes, and colors! When we get together at Winter Retreat we will celebrate and anticipate what God is doing among us.
January 11th - From HeSapa New Life, Rapid City - Pastor, Larry Salway
What a fruitful and productive Christmas season we had through He Sapa New Life Native Ministries! - Do you know that by the end of November, we were far short of our needed finances, buffalo meat, and gifts to minister to the expected 3000 people? In fact, we considered cancelling the first event, scheduled for Dec 3. Yet, after prayer, we decided to plow ahead in faith and God provided everything we had need of! ... By the end of December, we had plenty of gifts and the necessary funds to complete the seven outreaches! Jehovah Jireh- God Provides!
Miraculously, we had enough buffalo! - God provided by literally multiplying the meat. Each bowl of soup had plenty of meat! And, yes, there are still a few pounds of meat left in the freezer. Once again, God multiplied the food to feed the multitude! And, yes- we had enough gifts! Thank you to each of you who faithfully conducted gift drives in your church, and gifted the Lakota people...
We praise God that after a hundred years of drought, the Lakota people are thirsting, seeking God, and responding to the Message! The prayers and intercession for our Lakota people over the past hundred years are now being poured out. We are extremely busy reaping the harvest! -- After hearing our presentations in the Martin/Allen area, one elderly couple drove 5 hours RT to plead with us to begin ministry in their community. They expressed deep hunger to hear the Word and Truth. How can we turn them downs
And...there are currently three MORE communities requesting a pastor NOW! The Salways & Arguellos are each pastoring two communities currently. More help is needed. Please PRAY!! -- "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." -- Luke 10:2
Thank you again for partnering with us in prayer, funds, gifts, and volunteer hours. May you be especially blessed and fruitful this new year in winning the lost to Jesus!
January 11th - From HeSapa New Life, Rapid City - Pastor, Larry Salway
Seven Christmas programs were completed in the communities of Mission and White River (Rosebud Reservation), Martin/Allen (Pine Ridge Reservation), Eagle Butte and Cherry Creek (Cheyenne River Reservation), Pierre (concentrated urban native population of 8,000), and North Rapid City (concentrated urban native population of 19,000)... Of the 2100 people who heard the gospel message, 10% of them (210 souls) came forward to acknowledge they had prayed to receive Christ and receive a Bible! -- Praise God!!
December 12th - From the Venture Church, Bozeman, MT - Pastor Charley Carpenter
We will be having our first Preview Service at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman at 10 AM on December 18th! Thank you so much for your prayers! Please be praying that God would allow us to accurately communicate who we are and what we are here to do. We are getting excited and can't wait to see what God has in store! Looking Forward!!
December 7th - From He Sapa New Life, in Rapid City - Pastors Larry & Dale Salway
We held our first Christmas Outreach event in Mission, SD. We had prepared for 500 people, and over 615 came! A program was presented with a clear gospel message. At least 78 people came forward to receive a New Testament from Larry! Each was asked if they had accepted Christ as their Savior, and each acknowledged their new commitment to Christ. Praise God- He continues to move among the Lakota!! Jehovah-Yahweh (God's Divine Salvation)
November 16th - From the Venture Church, Bozeman, MT - Pastor Charley Carpenter
What a month it has been in Bozeman! Katie and I look at each other often and say, "I can't believe we get to live here." We are falling more and more in love with Bozeman and the people who live in this great community... It has become more and more obvious that God will do whatever it takes to draw people to Himself
One example of how God is doing that: Katie and I were headed home when we came across a car that was broken down in the middle of an intersection. We stopped and helped push her car to the side of the road and gave her a ride home. She called AAA to tow her car to the shop the next morning, but needed a ride to work. I picked Dana up at 5:30 in the morning and gave her a ride to the tow truck and then to work. On the way, she told me how she had just moved here to get out of the corporate world. She was a slave to her job and her Dad passing away last year woke her up to that. She has moved here to enjoy the life she has left. Dana was excited to hear about Venture and can't wait to tell all of her friends at work about us. That is just a small taste of everyday!
In the past month, we have received a letter of acceptance from the Downtown Bozeman Association, and have been invited to be a part of any and every event that takes place in the Downtown area. This is a huge step forward for us as we continue serving Bozeman.
Here's a report from our 1st downtown event: Our acceptance into the Downtown Bozeman Association came just in time for "Treat Street"! This is a huge trick-or-treating event for kids and families in the Bozeman area. We partnered with "Sloppy Dogs," a local sloppy joe, hot dog and sub shop downtown, and passed out over 5,000 pieces of candy to little princesses, goblins and power rangers. While part of the team was handing out candy to the kids, the rest of us were handed out 1,500 promotional cards to the adults, with a Jolly Rancher tied to each one. This was our first public event to get our name out in the community. We had over 1,400 hits on our Facebook page because of it!
- Continue to pray that we maintain the mindset of missionaries! This is why we are here!
- Pray for us to be lead to the right people in town, who are "Spiritually Receptive."
- Pray for us to be sensitive to God's leading in our lives. We want to go where He is leading, not where we think looks good.
- Pray that we will not become too focused on a facility, that it takes the place of our missionary work.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF RUDY & MARIE HAUCK!
Just this past August, we celebrated with the Haucks an incredible milestone - their 70th Wedding Anniversary! Could anyone have imagined that only seven short weeks later both Rudy & Marie would be experiencing the greatest celebration of all their lives - their Heavenly Home-going!
Rudy made that heavenly trek in the afternoon of October 6th - and Marie, not to be left behind, joined him only 2 ½ days later, in the early morning hours of October 9th.
During their years of ministry, the Haucks served the Wesleyan Church of Dakota District in Avon, SD; Terry, MT; and Watford City, ND. -- Marie's faith and testimony, as well as her beautiful singing voice, ministered to so many in both church and community. And Rudy's charismatic personality and humor endeared him to many, but it was his faith and ministry that had the greatest impact.
These two partners in ministry are remembered and missed by many in the Dakota District. Only in eternity will we see the full extent of all that was accomplished for the Kingdom through their lives of faithful service! All glory to God!
October 29th - From The Ransom Church, Sioux Falls, SD -- Pastor Phil Tague
Ransom Church continues to grow, averaging nearly 350 weekly now. We are out of space at the theater, but are only weeks away from moving to our new facility! Volunteers have done an incredible job remodeling - and we are very close to raising all our money so that we can pay cash for the remodel! God is on the move and we can't wait to see what He does through this newest tool in our tool belt...an amazing facility!
October 25th - From The Venture Church, Bozeman, MT -- Pastor Charley Carpenter
What a month it has been in Bozeman! ... packed full with progress and yet there is still so much to do. ... The best part is that we are still able to maintain the mindset and lifestyle of "missionaries" here in Bozeman. Everyday is full of conversations with complete strangers and God has opened several doors for us to share what He has been doing in our lives; what we have moved here to do; and the hope that comes only from Him!
One Example: We kicked off October with a $1 car wash - where we gave $1 to every car we washed! ... Responses to this simple act of service were candid and powerful."We were able to show a portion of Bozeman the love of Christ in a tangible way. This has also been one of the most valuable things we have done as a team - and has taught us a lot about the blessing of serving others. Prayer Requests:
Continue to pray that we would maintain the mindset of missionaries in the midst of all the logistical things that we are facing;
- Pray for us to have favor in the hearts of those we meet on a daily basis;
- Pray for us to be led to the future leaders of Venture Church - and pray that their hearts would be open to His work in their lives; and
- Pray for us to be accepted into the Downtown Bozeman Association.
Something to Think About.... "We need to help people get past the church they know, so that they can discover the Christ they don't know." - Dennis Jackson, European Global Partners Director
October 2nd - New Pastor at Buffalo Wesleyan: I had the privilege of installing Rev. William Dunlap as the Senior Pastor at our Buffalo Church. William and Amber have been embraced by this congregation and I believe that they will have a very happy and fruitful ministry there. It is always a joy to see a healthy church go through a healthy transition and begin a new chapter in serving the Lord and his people. - District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
October 9th - New Pastor at Tolstoy Wesleyan: I got to install Kirby Oaks as Pastor of the Tolstoy Church. Kirby and Jessica are being welcomed into the church and communities around Tolstoy. This is a healthy, missional church that has had a healthy transition. The building was full on Sunday, October 9th for the service... - Both of these churches are something of an anomaly. It is not normal to find such positive and progressive churches in these kinds of places, but we have several of them. Praise the Lord! - District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
September 4th - From the Hepisipa Church, Salt Lake City:
..... It is exciting to see how God is using our connection with these wonderful people to open doors for increased cooperation in places like California, New Zealand, and Australia. -- District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
September 4th - From West Lake Community Church, Saratoga Springs:
West Lake had their Grand Opening Sunday, September 4th, in their new facility.... a leased facility in a very strategic location that they have worked hard to make attractive and functional. .... There were 109 people, which included several first time guests from the surrounding communities. ..... To have this many people on Labor Day Weekend in Utah is amazing. Continue to pray for them, that God will continue to build His Church in that place. -- District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
September 2nd - From HeSapa New Life, Rapid City
We stand amazed at what God continues to do among our ministry and the Lakota! It has been both a very hectic and productive summer: not only has our new Multi-Purpose Building (in Rapid City) been largely completed, we also gained much spiritual ground through our outreach events into five native communities.
The Talking Circles were a great success, as well as the numerous Kid's Clubs, Women's Ministry Conferences, and Community-wide Carnivals across all our church sites in Rapid City, Pierre, Eagle Butte, and Cherry Creek. All the events were well-attended and several gave their hearts to Jesus! In Cherry Creek and Eagle Butte, we were amazed at how many new young families we were privileged to minister to, and that they responded so positively to the gospel presentations! Praise God!
August 28th - From Fountain Springs Community Church, Rapid City:
This is also an amazing story! ..... They are breaking several rules. First of all, it's (summer) - and everybody knows that people don't go to church in (summer). Second, their place is a mess. They are in the middle of construction - and everybody knows that people won't come to an overcrowded, messed up space. And then, the pastor preached a hard-hitting, deeply Biblical, and rather confrontive message on holiness - and everybody knows that people simply won't stand for that kind of preaching. -- On that Sunday afternoon they baptized almost 80 people. Our prayer is that Fountain Springs keep on breaking the rules. -- District Superintendent, Isaac Smith
AUGUST 8TH -11TH - FROM LAKE ANDES
We are grateful to the Holly Hill Wesleyan Church from Thomasville, North Carolina for the fine job that they did of conducting a Bible School for us. There were 6 Team members. Some of our older children helped them when needed. We averaged 39 in attendance and had an enrollment of 66. -- Not sure how many decisions were made for Christ, as they had it done as a group. We just pray that most of the children were encouraged to make their lives better, with God's help. -- Last Sunday we had 29 in our worship service; 15 of them were children. And...several of our regulars were absent. -- Thank you for your continued prayers and words of encouragement. - Pastor David & Patricia Troyer
NEW PASTORS INSTALLED IN DAKOTA DISTRICT
August 7th - GILLETTE, WY - NEW LIFE WESLEYAN
District Superintendent, Isaac Smith was present at Gillette New Life on Sunday, August 7th, to lead the Installation Service for their new senior pastor, Billy Wilson. -- This church expects that there will be many changes made in the next year or two, but the mission and heart of Gillette New Life will remain the same and continue to impact many lives. They are extremely excited about their new staff, and believe they are in a position to extend their ministry to many more people. The combination of the Holy Spirit's anointing, and the God-given talents, will enable this group will touch many lives!
July 31st - SIOUX FALLS, SD - LINWOOD WESLEYAN
Following an inspiring message on transitions by our District Superintendent, Pastor Isaac Smith, the Linwood congregation was all too eager to witness the installation portion of the worship service. Linwood has been eager to have her Lead Pastor in place, and she is ready to roll up her sleeves and engage in life-changing ministry under Pastor Bob's capable pastoral leadership. As Pastor Isaac prayed for Pastor Bob, Cheryl & Dylan, expectant lay leaders and inspired congregants laid hands on the McHenry's and joined in the prayer for God's power and anointing to rest upon both pastor and people. The worship service was a significant benchmark in the life and history of Linwood.
July 24th - WILLISTON, ND - NEW HOPE WESLEYAN
After a year and a half without a Lead Pastor, the people of New Hope Wesleyan Church in Williston, ND watched and welcomed Rev. Mike Skor on July 24th, during his installation as their new Lead Pastor. -- On the Sunday before, Pastor Mike shared his assurance from God that he belonged in Williston and that he is home. God calls us to bring the Good News to the world - and we are in a unique position, because the world is coming to us by coming to Williston to work in the Baaken oil boom. We are at the epicenter. God wants to build a community here and make this a safe place. This is clearly stated in Mike's life verse; Colossians 1:28-29, "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." -- The church in Williston is thankful to have Mike, Kiley, Brendon, and Ian as a part of their New Hope team!
From Charley Carpenter - Bozeman, Montana
I am excited to finally be able to share some news with you! The last couple of months have posed some serious growth and focusing for us, as we have attended a Church Planter's Conference, as well as a Church Planter's Boot Camp... There is absolutely no doubt that God is calling us to plant a church in Bozeman, MT! Katie and I have prayed and prayed over this "Venture" for the last 8 months and we are finally one month from moving to Bozeman!
We have been blessed to have been able to meet several incredible people through this process - however, we would ask that each of you join us in praying for more people... and even hungry non-believers who would be open and receptive to the "good News" - and who would want to partner with us in reaching Bozeman for Christ!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We can't wait to see what God has in store!
From Rapid City, HeSapa New Life..
As we prepare our annual reports and look back over the year, we stand amazed! God continues to open new doors and hearts among the Lakota. This truly is the time of the harvest. To God be all the glory, honor, and praise! HE has done great things!
Exciting "God Happenings" at Easter!!!
We've just spent a very special weekend celebrating the Resurrection of Our LORD!!!
Reports from all across the District celebrate what God did int he midst of our people during their Easter events. (To Read Accounts - Click Here!)
From... Pastor Isaac Smith, District Superintendent
God is doing some amazing things in our District and I want to celebrate some of those with you! I don't have everybody's report from Easter, but it looks like that on that weekend we had about 25,000 people worshiping in our churches, over 2,000 commitments to Christ, and around 200 baptisms! That was a good day!! There are many stories and I hope you can share them with each other when we gather at Conference and Camp - June 27th-30th.
From The Ransom Church
"Ransom Church was blessed to celebrate our 2 year anniversary this last week — March 13th! It is hard to believe that 2 years have passed already! It has been fun to watch captives being set free from so many things in their lives through the ministry of this new church. We celebrated our anniversary with around 315 in attendance, and then followed it with an amazing time of prayer together in our potential future building.
This was an amazing time that really drew us together as a church. I can not thank this district enough for the support they have shown us through start up, as we have grown and now as we are taking steps towards our first permanent home. Thanks Dakota District! Due in part to your help, over 100 people have found Christ — and hundreds of people who have been held captive for a long time, are being set free!"
— Pastor Phill Tague, The Ransom Church-Sioux Falls, SDFrom Soldotna, Alaska...
"We started having two services on January 9th - and it has gone amazingly well!!!... Everybody has stepped up and home runs are being hit all over the place. We had 155 people in the two services yesterday!!! - 52 of those were in Discovery Land (our kid's ministry)!!! There wasn't a kid's ministry here two years ago! -- And more than just the numbers, we're seeing solid growth in people too. I am amazed at the — transformation God is doing in people's lives. -- I do believe that God is laying a foundation for an explosion in reaching lost and unchurched people!"
Brian Wahl, Birch Ridge Community Church in Soldotna, Alaska