A team of four Dakota Baptists traveled to Jackson, Mississippi in October for the Mississippi Baptist annual meeting. They set up a booth and spoke with several hundred Mississippi pastors, area missionaries, and church members about strengthening established churches and starting new churches across North and South Dakota.
The team consisted of church planter Paul Betts (Piedmont: Redemption Church), associate pastor and DBC Church Relations Missionary Chad McCord (Belle Fourche: Connection Church), DBC Send Network Dakotas Director Buck Hill, and DBC Executive Director Fred MacDonald. Betts and McCord are originally from Mississippi, along with several other Dakota pastors.
Hill was impressed with the results of the annual meeting booth. He commented, “I’ve done a lot of these events and this was by far the best one. The people we spoke to showed a genuine interest in the Dakotas; not just the typical, ‘Yeah. I like the Dakotas. I’m praying for you.’
After the meeting ended, Mississippi Missions Mobilization Director Mike Ray took the team to dinner to talk about ways the two states could minister to each other. He invited Hill and MacDonald to return in January to take part in the state’s evangelism conference and then a three-day tour of Mississippi to get to know pastors and churches in the Magnolia State.
Ray is then going to reciprocate by bringing some Mississippi pastors to North Dakota in May 2023 to meet with pastors, planters, and church leaders from the Dakotas.
The connection between the two states is growing out of a relationship that has been building between MacDonald and Mississippi executive director Shawn Parker. They both started serving in their roles about the same time and see a lot of similarities between their two states that would make for a natural opportunity to connect with each other. Parker extended an invitation to come to the annual meeting last spring as a result of conversations that the two had in February at the annual executive directors retreat.