Battey settles in as Brandon Valley Baptist's new pastor

By: 
Jamie Hult, Staff writer

Pastor Randy Battey recently took over the pulpit at Brandon Valley Baptist Church from retiring Pastor Merv Kramer. Battey has 37 years in ministry and comes from Calvary Baptist Church in Aberdeen. Jamie Hult/BV Journal

As a kid, Randy Battey’s daughter helped out in the church nursery Sunday mornings. When her dad led hymns, she shut off the speaker.    
Randy Battey is a beloved pastor of 37 years, a trained chaplain in emergency and rescue situations, and a proud granddad of seven, but he laughingly admits that singing isn’t his strong suit. 
“I leave that to Dixie,” said Battey, whose wife plays multiple instruments and holds a degree in sacred music. “She’s the musical one. I play the radio.”
Brandon Valley Baptist Church’s new pastor is easy to talk to, with a good sense of humor. He laughs often. He also loves people: Meeting them, getting to know them, working with them, helping them.
“That’s the biggest part, for me, of ministering,” he said. 
In June Battey was a candidate pastor at Brandon Valley Baptist Church. A month later, he had the job.     
“We were feeling like the Lord was telling us it was time for a change. Doors kept opening, and we kept exploring further. When this opportunity came up, with our kids and grandkids so close, we knew. Family is so important,” said Battey, whose two children and seven grandkids live in Sioux Falls. 
He comes to BVBC after 13 years at Calvary Baptist Church in Aberdeen. It was there that Battey joined the Chaplain Corps, and counseled first-responders at accident scenes. His first chaplain experience, he recalled, was praying with a group of firefighters following a trailer park fire that claimed the lives of two youngsters. 
He was officially introduced to the community and the church when he and retiring Pastor Merv Kramer led a joint communion service Oct. 1. Kramer, who founded Brandon Valley Baptist in 1978, said a few words before turning the service over to Battey to deliver his first sermon before his new congregation. 
While Battey already feels at home at Brandon Valley Baptist – “everyone has been so friendly and welcoming,” he noted – he and his wife are still waiting to settle into the area. Last week the couple moved out of their Aberdeen house and into temporary digs with their son Shaun while they wait for their new home here to be move-in ready. In two weeks they’ll close on the house – both houses, in fact, on the same day. Fortunately, they don’t have to be present for the Aberdeen closing. 
The Batteys are happy to be close to their two children in Sioux Falls and seven grandkids, who range in age from six months to 12 years old. Meanwhile, Dixe Battey has transferred from her job at a Sanford clinic up north to another in Sioux Falls.
Reviving Brandon Valley Baptist’s praise band is a possibility, Battey said, and one in which his wife would be instrumental. An opportunity to reach an even wider audience than the BVBC pews is already in the works, too. In the spring the church will begin filming services and live-streaming on YouTube.
“It’s exciting to get to be a part of this church and opportunities for the future looking ahead,” Battey said. 

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