pRAIRIE pASTORS CONFERENCE

The Prairie Pastors Conference brings together the ABC USA regions of Central (Kansas), Mid-America (Iowa, Minnesota), Nebraska, and the Dakotas.  The 2017 conference was held at Sunset Hills Baptist Church in Omaha, NE, and was the largest gathering to date with over 100 pastors attending.


Rev. Ruth Skar, ABC Dakotas Associate Executive Minister, was a speaker for the new pastors orientation.


The 2018 conference meets April 16-18, in Omaha, NE.

Welcome pastor gary compton

On Sunday, March 26th, the First Baptist Church of Aberdeen, SD, celebrated an Installation Service for their newly called pastor, Rev. Gary Compton.  Gary's previous position was serving as a Chaplain for the Avera St. Luke's Hospital in Aberdeen.  We welcome Gary and his wife, Carol, and pray for God's blessing upon this new season of ministry!   

Welcome Bethel Fellowship Church!

On Sunday, March 12, 2017, the Bethel Ethiopian Fellowship Church was welcomed as a Member Church of the American Baptist Churches of the Dakotas.  As the day was cold and snowy outside, inside we celebrated the warmth of "better together" as Rev. Randy Rasmussen preached a message from Ecclesiastes chapter 4.  Thankful for a growing partnership in serving the Lord together, we praise God for Pastor Zerhun DeJane and the Bethel Fellowship Church family! 

ABC Dakotas pastors retreat

Rev. Gregg Hemmen of the First Baptist Church of  Rapid City, SD, led our 2017 ABC Dakotas Pastors Retreat.  The theme for the retreat was, "What Do You Do When You Are Overwhelmed?"


Session 1: Matthew 11:28-30

“What are you carrying that you are not supposed to carry?”

Session 2: Philippians 4:8

“What are you dwelling on?”

Session 3: Daniel 1

“We must refuse to be identified by who we used to be

or what we are going through.”

Session 4: 1 Peter 3:15

“We are carriers of hope”

Session 5: Daniel 2

“We have the privilege of prayer.”

trivia contest at immanuel baptist church, minot

On February 22, three Christian charities sent two-person teams to compete in a trivia contest for $8150 in cash at Immanuel Baptist Church of Minot. Audience members also answered trivia questions to win prizes valued at over $700. The Immanuel Baptist Church congregation donated the cash. The prizes were donated by various area businesses. The CRU from Minot state University came in first place, winning $3300. Youth for Christ came in second place, winning $2500. The Salvation Army finished third, winning $2350.

Generous donation!

At the Camp Bentley Board Meeting held on February 18, 2017, a check was presented to the camp on behalf of the members of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Dickinson, ND. With the church now closed and the building sold, the members of Immanuel Dickinson have distributed their remaining financial resources to several Christian ministries. Thankful for the support, it is wonderful to celebrate the ongoing legacy of ministry partnership between Camp Bentley and the Immanuel Baptist Church of Dickinson, ND.


Picture shows Larry Martin, Camp Bentley Board President, receiving the check from Deborah and Monte Greenup, representatives of Immanuel Baptist Dickinson.

Region News

December 7, 2016

Welcome Bethel Fellowship Church to the ABC of the Dakotas

On Monday, December 5th, ABC Dakotas Region Policy Board officially announced they had approved Bethel Fellowship Church’s application to be a Member Church of the ABC Dakotas. We enthusiastically embrace this new church family and praise the Lord for their presence in our region’s fellowship of churches! Bethel Fellowship Church primarily ministers to Ethiopian immigrants in the Sioux Falls area. The church started in 2010, with just a few people meeting in a home. For the past four years, they have been meeting at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Sioux Falls. Pastor Zehrun DeJane has served the church since it’s beginning, and is currently a student at the Sioux Falls Seminary. Bethel Fellowship Church believes they need to align and partner with other like-minded churches “to be more fruitful in our faith and ministry.” A good reminder of why we partner together as the American Baptist Churches of the Dakotas. If you would like to send an email to welcome Pastor Zehrun and the Bethel Fellowship Church into our ABC Dakotas family, please send your welcome to: dzerhun@yahoo.com


Elizabeth Lewis is Ordained

On Sunday, December 4th, an Ordination Service was held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Sioux Falls, for Elizabeth Lewis. Elizabeth is a graduate of Sioux Falls Seminary, and for the past several years has been serving as a Chaplain for three Good Samaritan long-term health communities in Sioux Falls. Elizabeth is married to husband, Jay, and is also busy being a mother to five sons. May God bless Elizabeth in all her ministries!


Please Pray for the Search Committees of Open Churches

Please pray for the Search Committees of the First Baptist Churches of Aberdeen, Fargo, Stanley, and Watertown. May God’s Spirit bring the churches together with pastors who will serve Christ’s church with love and leadership.

region news

october 20, 2016

Glenburn First Baptist Church

Pastor DeVawn Beckman has resigned at the First Baptist Church of Glenburn, ND. DeVawn is a bi-vocational pastor, who also manages the 911 Center for Ward County. DeVawn is retiring from her Ward County position in December, and will become an Associate Pastor at the Church of God in Minot. On her last Sunday in Glenburn, five young men, ages 10-19, were baptized, and a married couple also joined the church by letter of transfer. Thankful for DeVawn’s years of faithful service, we pray for God’s blessing upon her new season of ministry!

The church also voted to call David Wisthoff to be their new pastor. Active members of First Baptist Glenburn, Dave and his wife, Tam, are managers of Camp Bentley, and have been leading the community youth group that meets at the church. As an outreach to community youth, the church serves supper before the youth group meets, and also provides a full scholarship to Camp Bentley for any child in the Glenburn area.

Interesting to note - Dave’s father, Rev. David Wisthoff, Sr., was the pastor at Glenburn 35 years ago at the time of his passing. May God bless Dave and Tam as they continue to serve Christ’s church!


Open Church Updates

The First Baptist Church of Madison has called Meriah VanderWeide to be their part-time Interim Pastor. Meriah is a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls, and currently finishing her final year at the Sioux Falls Seminary. She has previously served in youth and women’s ministry positions. May God bless this partnership of church and pastor!

Rev. Bob Weiss has been called to be the new pastor at First Baptist Bismarck, ND, which means he is leaving First Baptist Watertown, SD. Bob has faithfully served First Baptist Watertown for approximately nine years. May God bless Bob and Beth, and both churches while they transition into new seasons of ministry.


Biennial Thanks!

The ABC Dakotas enjoyed a wonderful Biennial meeting at First Baptist Bismarck, ND. The church members were welcoming, helpful, and kind, and the region appreciated all your efforts in hosting this event! Special thanks to Event Co-Chairs Ruth Skar and Cheryl Wiebers; Local Church Coordinator Leo Heinz; Worship Leaders Bob and Beth Weiss; Guest Speakers Tajuan Jackson, Kimberly LaPlante, Bruce Miller, Duane Smit, Kate Ulmer, and Jim Wiegner; Host Church, First Baptist Bismarck; and Region Administrative Assistant Kim Aalberg, for all her “behind the scenes” work.

Thanks to all!


Pray for the Search Committees of Open Churches

Please pray for the Search Committees of the First Baptist Churches of Aberdeen, Fargo, Stanley, and Watertown. May God’s Spirit bring the churches together with pastors who will serve Christ’s church with love and leadership.


region news

september 21, 2016

Rev. Lori Dvirnak Lundblad Receives Special Honor

Rev. Lori Dvirnak Lundblad has served as Chaplain for the CHI St. Alexius Palliative Care and Hospice, since 2012. Rev. Lori also serves as the Chaplain for the Inpatient Palliative Care Program at CHI St. Alexius Health. She was recently recognized by the North Dakota Chaplain’s Association as the 2016 Featured Chaplain. Tammy Theurer, Director of CHI St. Alexius Home Health and Hospice, states, “...working diligently to model Christ to all she meets, Lori is a role model for her peers and team leaders. We are very fortunate and blessed to have Lori as our chaplain in both capacities and know that she is well deserving of this recognition by the North Dakota Chaplain’s Association.” Congratulations Lori, and may God continue to bless your ministry!


Installation of Rev. Wayne “Hutch” Hutchins

On Sunday, September 18th, the Rev. Hutch Hutchins was installed to serve the churches of First Baptist Church in Lisbon, ND, and the Forman Community Church, Forman, ND. Rev. Randy Rasmussen was the speaker at the Installation Service in Lisbon, and members of the Forman Community Church were also in attendance. The Forman Community Church meets at the Four Seasons Health Care Center in Forman, ND, and provides the Sunday morning worship service. The churches joined together in prayer to bless Hutch and Karen as they continue to serve the Lord in ministry. A wonderful time of fellowship was enjoyed after the service during the pot-luck meal. May God continue to bless the ministries of Pastor Hutch and Karen, as they serve the Lord!


Pray for the Search Committees of Open Churches

Please pray for the Search Committees of the First Baptist Churches of Aberdeen, Bismarck, Fargo, Madison, and Stanley. May God’s Spirit bring the churches together with pastors who will serve Christ’s church with love and leadership.


region news

july 27, 2016

Installation of Rev. Mike Sourile

On Sunday, July 10th, the Berthold Baptist Church in Berthold, ND, celebrated the Installation of Rev. Mike Sourile. As Pastor Mike effectively served the church as Interim Pastor these past few years, the church was moved to call him as their Pastor, making it official at a very special installation service. At the afternoon service, the church was full of people and full of energy! A clear evidence of pastor and people serving and sharing together in the Spirit of Christ! May God continue to bless the ministries of Pastor Mike and Peggy, as they serve the Lord!


Pray for Search Committees

Please pray for the Search Committees of the First Baptist Churches of Aberdeen, Bismarck, Fargo, Madison, and Stanley. May God’s Spirit bring the churches together with pastors who will serve Christ’s church with love and leadership.


Celebrating our ABC Dakotas Camp Ministries

At a time when many regions are selling their camps because of dwindling attendance and shrinking supportive funds, Camp Bentley and Camp Judson continue to experience abundant ministry! Once again this summer, from both camps, we are hearing powerful stories of God changing the hearts and lives of campers, counselors, and staff. We are thankful to God for the continuing blessing of our camp ministries, and for the blessing of Godly leadership in our camp ministries. To all those who serve our camps – volunteers and staff – THANK YOU FOR SERVING! A special thanks to our camp board members, and our excellent Camp Directors; Dave and Tam Wisthoff, Camp Bentley; Tracy and Danie Koskan, Camp Judson. Keep praying for our camp ministries!


Installation of Rev. Dwayne Williams

On Sunday, July 17th, Rev. Dwayne Williams was installed as the pastor of our ABC church in Huron, SD. I (Randy) was preaching a message from Ephesians 4:11-13, identifying some “similarities and differences” among Christians: 1) different spiritual gifts but the same Holy Spirit; 2) different kinds of work in building up God’s people, but the same God at work;   3) different levels of maturity among Christians, but the same Lord. 

My introduction highlighted the similarities between a black kid (Dwayne) growing up in up-state New York, and a white kid (Randy) growing up on the plains of South Dakota. Both Dwayne and I were born in August of 1960, graduated from High School in 1978, enlisted in the USAF after graduating from High School, were called to the ministry as a second career, graduated from the Sioux Falls Seminary, served as pastor of an ABC church in Sioux Falls, served as officers on the ABC Dakotas Region Policy Board, have served as a pastor for over 15 years, currently serve on an ABC national board, and both have the spiritual gift of prophecy. But of course, I’m taller than Dwayne – so we have our differences. I love my brother Dwayne, and we both treasure our friendship!

So it was good to celebrate our love for Christ, His church, and our friendship at a time when the world is obsessed with dividing us over our differences. May God bless us all as we promote living in love together!

region news

june 21, 2016

Dedication of Inspiration Lodge at Camp Judson

On Saturday, June 4th at 1:00 PM, many of our ABC Dakotas family celebrated a special worship service to dedicate the new “Inspiration Lodge” at Camp Judson. Inspiration Lodge will serve summer camps as the Nurses Cabin, and be available for group rentals in the off-season. The dedication service was held in conjunction with the SD American Baptist Women’s Conference. Camp Judson board members recognized and thanked planners, builders, and donors who contributed to the project in significant ways. Rev. Allen Kjesbo, Chairman of the Camp Judson Board, provided an encouraging message of thanksgiving and hope, affirming the ongoing work of Christ at Camp Judson. Also mindful and thankful for the vibrant ministry of Camp Bentley, may God continue to bless the ministries of our ABC Dakotas camps!


Ordination Approved for Rev. Kelly Lashly

An Ordination Council was held for Kelly Lashly, Saturday, June 18th, at the First Baptist Church in Sioux Falls, where she serves as the Associate Pastor for Ministry Development. The council unanimously recommended the approval for Kelly to be ordained. Congratulations Kelly! May God continue to bless your ministry!


Rev. Hutch Hutchins Called to the Lisbon/Forman Churches

The First Baptist Church in Lisbon, ND, and Community Church in Forman, ND, have called Rev. Wayne “Hutch” Hutchins to serve as their pastor. Pastor Hutch and his wife, Karen, will be moving to Lisbon next week, and beginning their ministry the first of July. Hutch is looking forward to this new season of ministry, and praying for a fresh work of the Holy Spirit among the churches and communities. May God bless Hutch and Karen!


Pray for the Search Committees of Open Churches

Please pray for the Search Committees of the First Baptist Churches of Aberdeen, Bismarck, Fargo, Madison, and Stanley. May God’s Spirit bring the churches together with pastors who will help to build the Kingdom of Jesus Christ! Amen!