Back in July 2021, I wrote a monthly update entitled, “Do You Have A Building?” In our early stages of planting Resilient, the top two questions that were always asked were (and still are):
- What denomination are you?
- Do you have a building?
In that update, I discussed how everyone’s frame of reference for church, at least here in the midwest, is that a church belongs to a denomination and has a building to gather in. Regarding the first question, I am so proud the answer is that we’re a part of the Wesleyan denomination, a church body that so actively seeks for the Gospel to be preached, for churches to be planted, and for justice to be sought in our world.
But regarding a building, my thoughts still remain the same since that early update. Resilient Church is what it is today first and foremost because of the people who are a part of it. The Church is the community of Christ’s followers. What defines us is not the space we gather in, but the community of people who uphold our values and create our church culture. That is who we are: A gathering of people. The space we gather in is only an add-on. So the first thing I’m celebrating this month is the incredible people God continues to bring us. I truly couldn’t be more grateful for each and every one of them!
All that said, a building is still an adequate necessity. Every group of people has to meet somewhere, whether it’s a home, a classroom, a coffee shop, or a conference room. Where a church gathers is important, as it is a reflection of who the church is. And that is why I am thrilled to announce…
We Have a Building!
We are so excited to be partnering with the Dakota Event Center, located in the back half of Vermillion’s Pizza Ranch, as our gathering space for future services! If you want a good look at the space and to hear how we’re going to use it for church services, take a look at this video:
We will be able to seat just over 200 people in the event center, and utilize their screens for projection and lyrics. We are also going to turn their conference room into a nursery, as well as utilize their golf simulators for our Resilient Kids ministry. It’s truly an incredible space, and we could not be more thankful for Pizza Ranch and their partnership to make all of this happen!
Worship at the Ranch
We also held our first service at our future gathering space this month! On April 10, we hosted a worship night (aptly called Worship at the Ranch) where we had a 30-minute pizza social gathered around tables, followed by a worship service. It was truly an incredible night. All of reflected later how inspiring it was to catch a glimpse of what worshiping in this space will look like, as we gear up for launching weekly worship services on August 28th.
Resilient Students Campus Ministry
And that’s not all. We’re also so excited to announce that we’re launching a campus ministry at the University of South Dakota! And we’re calling it Resilient Students.
Resilient Students is our gateway to reaching the USD community. Its primary goal is to facilitate small groups where students can gather together in fellowship, discuss life, and dive into the Word together. Additionally, Resilient Students will provide community events for small groups to serve USD and Vermillion in creative ways, as well as cultivate another space for students to hang out together as an alternative to the classic social events that are notorious during college.
But the coolest part? Resilient Students is a direct pipeline to Resilient Church. So if a student signs up for a college small group at Resilient Church, they’re automatically included in Resilient Students. Or if someone gets involved with Resilient Students on campus, then their small group leader or friends will invite them to attend Resilient Church on Sunday mornings. The two go hand-in-hand, with the end goal being to cultivate deeper spiritual friendships who worship together.
But I can’t talk about Resilient Students without giving a shoutout to our Resilient Students Directors, Meghan Jouwstra (left) and Raigan Schmidt (right). Meghan and Raigan were some of the first students I met at USD. I met with them back in September, and they both deeply expressed their desire to see God do a new thing in Vermillion that could reach the USD community. Even though Resilient Church was merely an idea at this time, Meghan and Raigan were all in. They attended our very first small group together in our townhome’s community room, and have played an active role in shaping Resilient Church ever since. They put so much time and energy to create Resilient Students as an official student organization at USD, and have been meeting with other students on our team to recruit them to lead small groups. They have done an incredible job, and I couldn’t be more proud of them!
Be praying for Meghan, Raigan, and our student leaders, as Resilient Students prepares to launch in August alongside our church’s public launch!
Baptisms at Ransom Church
Finally, to tap off a truly incredible month, I had the honor of baptizing three of our members at our mother church on Sunday, May 1! Sydney, Shelby, and Brandon are students at USD, and they all are an active part of our Core Team. It’s been so encouraging to see how the Lord has worked in each of their lives since they’ve joined Resilient, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see what God continues to do in them moving forward!
Needless to say, April has been our most exciting month yet! So my first prayer request is to give glory to God for everything that he’s doing. Everything taking place at Resilient Church is because the Lord’s Spirit is so in this thing. He’s so good!
As for additional prayer requests:
- Pray for the students, faculty, and teachers at USD and our Vermillion School District. Finals are this week for USD, and we only have 3 weeks left before school lets out for the summer. Everyone is ready to be done!
- Pray for us as we enter into Phase IV of our launch plan this month! Pray that the Lord can guide us in how to best make use of our summer that can somehow maintain momentum in a college town that completely dies down from May through July.
- Pray for the Lord to continue building our Core Team. We currently have 35 members. In a dream world, I’d love to have 50 by the time we launch to adequately fill serving spots.
- Finally, keep praying for the Lord to use Resilient to reach our community and see lives transformed by the Gospel. This is the most important thing we can possibly be doing!
Thanks everyone! Until next month!