In addition, messengers approved a $25,000 increase in the two-state convention's operating budget, stemming from higher Cooperative Program giving this year than anticipated from new churches and stronger churches, leaders said.
Messengers also voted to assume 15 percent more of the responsibility for the DBC budget by the year 2020, from the current 95/5 percent split with the North American Mission Board to 80/20.
The DBC's 2014 budget of $1,214,785, which passed without discussion, includes $846,785 from NAMB and $60,000 from LifeWay Christian Resources. An additional $8,000 interest income is anticipated, for a total of $914,785 from sources other than Dakota Baptists' 92 churches and church-type missions.
Most of the discussion during the DBC's annual meeting at First Baptist Church in Mandan, N.D., centered around the results of the convention's Discovery Task Force.
"The Task Force was an opportunity to develop long-range plans and goals that will lead us to becoming a healthier and more self-supporting convention in the future," said Garvon Golden, DBC executive director and Discovery Task Force chairman.
The group conducted 13 listening sessions across the two states over the last year and met frequently to set the best possible course forward for the Dakota Baptist Convention. The resulting vision and purpose statements were presented to messengers:
Vision: "The Dakota Baptist Convention will become a growing network of reproducing churches across the Dakotas, penetrating lost-ness in local communities in the Dakotas and beyond."
Purpose: "The Dakota Baptist Convention exists as a network of churches to strengthen one another and work together in starting healthy, evangelistic churches."
Messengers unanimously approved 10 task force goals aimed at making the DBC self-supporting.
The goals, to be reached by 2020, include an increase to $400,000 in CP gifts from churches, up from $300,000 anticipated in 2014; 75 percent of churches involved in the DBC, up from about a third in 2013; 500 baptisms, up from 221 this year; and the start of 30 churches.
"The basic long-term idea is that we're going to take ownership of what God wants us to do in the Dakotas," task force member Steve Ford, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Vermillion, S.D., told messengers. "God has given us the responsibility for reaching the Dakotas. Our goals are steps to get us to ownership."
Planting new churches and strengthening existing congregations will help the DBC meet its goals, Golden added.
"The more churches we have and the more stronger churches we have, the more of an impact we can have on the Dakotas and beyond," he said.
A record 81 messengers from 36 churches attended this year's meeting, along with 42 guests.
This year's meeting opened with a Thursday evening missions banquet, featuring an address by a couple home from their fourth term in a security-sensitive nation. During their 20 years abroad, the couple reported that their outreach has grown from four believers to more than 4,000. Dakota claims this couple as "their own," Golden said, because the wife's parents are members of Calvary Baptist Church in Rapid City, S.D.
Ford, who coordinates an annual mission trip to coastal Uruguay, reported that six people were baptized during the 2013 mission trip there.
Bible studies led by Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association, drew from 1 Peter 4 at both the pastors' conference and missions banquet focused on the DBC annual meeting theme of "Helping people on their journeys."
Adams' Friday morning Bible study -- again centered around 1 Peter 4 -- answered the "Why is church worthwhile?" question: "In church we find the power of authentic worship … the presence of last friendships … the process of positive change … the pleasure of meaningful service … and the purpose of a worldwide mission."
In addition to greetings from representatives of the International Mission Board, NAMB, LifeWay and Guidestone Financial Resources, SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page thanked Dakota Baptists for their CP gifts to missions and ministries.
"The headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention is the local church," Page said. "That which we do best, we do together."
"We don't hold on to God's money. We never keep money more than four days," Page said. "We send it out to reach the nations for Christ, and across this nation."
In other business, messengers elected by acclamation officers, each unopposed, to one-year terms: president -- Jeff Musgrave, pastor of First Baptist Church of Langdon, N.D., and DBC vice president the last two years; vice president -- Doug Hixson, church planting pastor of Connections Church in Spearfish and Belle Fourche, S.D. Kathy Osborne, a laywoman of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Grand Forks, N.D., was re-elected to a 10th term as recording secretary, with Karen Holmes, Mission Service Corps missionary and pastor's wife at First Baptist Church of Wolsey, S.D., re-elected to a second term as assistant recording secretary.
Messengers approved four resolutions (excerpts follow): 1) "e ... will keep the Lord's covenant for personal or corporate revival as stated in 2 Chronicles 7:14…"; 2) "e ... will lead the way in praying without ceasing"; 3) "e ... will not alter, ignore or manipulate the Word of the Lord but will allow the living Word to speak for itself"; 4) "e ... wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to FBC Mandan and their Pastor Allen Thomason for hosting this year's meeting."
The Dakota convention will celebrate its 30th anniversary during its 2015 annual meeting, Sept. 25-26 at Capitol Heights Baptist Church in Bismarck, N.D.
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of Dakota Baptist Connections, the official newsjournal of the Dakota Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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