Jaspers leaving Temple Baptist for regional role
What: Community open house for the Rev. Randy Jaspers
When: 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29
Where: Temple Baptist Church, 1200 12th Ave. NE
Details: program, refreshments planned
After 27 years as pastor of Temple Baptist Church, the Rev. Randy Jaspers said what brings him the most joy is when people act on God’s calling in whatever capacity and when church leaders pull together to build community.
“When people initiate things and really respond to whatever it is that God is doing in them,” Jaspers said.
Working with youth ministry or reaching out to people in nursing homes or in the jails are just a few ways people answer the call to act outside of church groups, he said. The pastors in Jamestown also pull together in a beneficial way.
“There are distinctive doctrinal differences that are important but we don’t let those get in the way of some of the most essential things,” Jaspers said. “That is, can we agree on who Christ is and what he has done for us? If we can agree on those things then we can find room for common agreement on a lot of things.”
Effective Nov. 1, Jaspers will leave his position as pastor at Temple Baptist Church to be the regional minister in the Northern Plains Region of the North American Baptist Conference. The region has two associations. The North Central Association is comprised of 28 churches in North Dakota, five in northern South Dakota and one in eastern Montana. The Manitoba Baptist Association is comprised 18 churches to total 52 churches in a cross-border region.
“I am basically a pastor to the pastors in a way,” Jaspers said. “I will be helping out the leadership of churches. It could be conflict or pastoral placement, church health and as a liaison between the two groups and the conference.”
Jaspers will work closely with the executive committees for each association and reports to a regional leadership team of two members from each association.
Jaspers has 34 years of ministry. His first seven years were in Linton and he came to Jamestown in 1990 where he has been for 27 years.
Temple Baptist Church formed in 1964 and built its first church at 4th Avenue Northwest in 1966. As church membership grew to the point of requiring two services, Jaspers said he resigned service to a point church in Medina and work started on building the new Jamestown church at 1200 12th Ave. NE that opened in 2011.
Jaspers said his new position requires someone with experience in ministry, procedural knowledge and a good sense for where the conference is and where it is going.
“I will help pastors and the leadership of the churches to be effective and be an encouragement to them and what they are doing,” Jasper said. “I don’t come in as someone who tells them what to do, I come in more as a resource.”
The job requires having a heart for pastors as a mentor. He will encourage them to fulfill the mission - and that can be as a coach, referee, resource person depending on the situation.
Some of the challenges are helping once large churches and communities that now struggle with keeping a full-time pastor. This might mean redefining the mission with an emphasis on not making the priority just about getting money to hire a pastor, he said
“Many years ago when these churches started there were sometimes stations where pastors served a number of stations and to some extent in some areas we are almost going back to that model because of the depopulation in the rural areas,” he said.
Jaspers’ wife, Kristy, will also step down in her role as church assistant for 14 years. She will take an unofficial role with Jaspers’ new position.
“She’s a one-on-one person and I was called but she is a vital part of my effectiveness, if nothing else from the sidelines and from an unofficial capacity,” he said.
The couple have five grown children who live in Minnesota, North Dakota and Arkansas.
The couple will continue to live in Jamestown for the foreseeable future. Jaspers said he will not be active at Temple Baptist Church to make the job of the new pastor easier once the new pastor is named.
John Elhard, an elder of the children and youth ministry, said he joined Temple Baptist Church in 1997 and has come to appreciate how Jaspers has a gift for remembering names.
“He has such a connection with people and is just a great spiritual leader with such character,” Elhard said.