It was the most wonderful time of the year!

Our December was filled with blistery blizzards and -40° windchill, but the warmth of the Christmas joy made up for all of it. Take a look at our first Christmas season as a planted church here in Vermillion!

Standstill Parade of Lights

Our December kicked off with a bang as we provided a Resilient Church float for Vermillion’s 7th Annual Standstill Parade of Lights! A standstill parade is an inverse parade; instead of you standing still while you watch the floats go by, the floats standstill while you walk by. It’s a dainty annual event that the whole community looks forward to, especially since it culminates with Santa Claus riding in on a firetruck to light a humongous Christmas Tree. It’s literally like we were living a Hallmark movie!

Our float’s theme was “Christmas Cookout.” We decked out Mason’s (our worship pastor) car with Christmas lights, put out some Resilient Church signs, and passed out 200+ hot dogs to people who visited our float (cause nothing says “Christmas” quite like hot dogs). It was such a fun way to serve our community, and we look forward to doing this ever year moving forward!

Team Member Appreciation Party

After service that following weekend, we threw a big Christmas Party for our Team Members who help make Resilient Church possible. These are the people who show up early to setup, stay late to tear, run tech, lead worship, create a welcoming environment in Guest Services, and love on our kids. We had pizza and appetizers for lunch, an ugly Christmas sweater competition, extended time in the Pizza Ranch arcade, and more! It was such a fun way to bless our Team Members before the craziness of the holidays took place.

Teaching New Testament at USD

I also wrapped up my first semester teaching New Testament at the University of South Dakota! It was always a dream of mine to an adjunct professor, and what the Lord did through this teaching opportunity was so cool. It was fun to see all of us grow in our knowledge of God’s Word, and some of the conversations I had with students were remarkable. It was truly an amazing discipleship opportunity. 

Furthermore, I’m thrilled to share that I will be teaching a Basic Christian Theology course in the Spring 2024 semester, and New Testament again in the Fall 2024 semester!

Advent & Christmas Eve

But of course, our December wouldn’t be anything without observing Advent and hosting a Christmas Eve service.

Our Advent series was titled “All I Want For Christmas” (yes, that’s a nod to the Mariah Carey song). Inspired by our mother church up in Sioux Falls, we spent each week of advent wrestling with some of the deepest longings of the human heart, of which often manifest during the Christmas season. The topics we worked through included:

– All I want for Christmas is to be satisfied

– All I want for Christmas is to be chosen

– All I want for Christmas is to be at peace.

– All I want for Christmas is a fresh start

– All I want for Christmas is some Good News

With that, we got to hold our first ever Christmas Eve service, where we committed to give 100% of our offerings from Christmas weekend to The Timothy Initiative (or TTI for short). TTI is a non-profit ministry that equips people in their native countries to disciple others and plant churches. It only takes $400 to plant a church and provide discipleship training through TTI, and I’m thrilled to report we were able to plant 2 churches from our Christmas Eve offering! This brings us to a total of 4 churches we helped plant this year through our partnership with TTI!

If you want to learn more about this incredible ministry expanding the kingdom across the world, check out their website here:  https://www.ttionline.org

Matching Grant Update

If you’ve been following our monthly updates these last few months, one of our supporters gave us a $5000 matching grant opportunity as we continue on in our financial support raising. And this update is merely to celebrate, because we hit all the matching conditions to receive the grant!!

The Lord has been too good to us with the continued blessings he’s poured out to us in these early years, and giving us supporters, advocates, and prayer partners who believe in what we’re doing to reach Vermillion and USD. We couldn’t do this without you!

Prayer Requests

  • Our Spring Semester is officially underway! The last 3 weeks of winter break were a nice reprieve, but we are thrilled to have our students back and for our families to return to their rhythms following the holidays. Pray for our students as they travel back for school and get started on another semester.
  • We’re doubling down on our efforts to plug our people into small groups and discipleship this semester, as well! Pray for our people to be open for taking this next step into growing in Christian community with spiritual friends. 
  • We also have our first missions trip coming up in March to Juarez, Mexico to build a home in partnership with Casas Por Cristo! Pray that the Lord can continue building the team who is meant to go on this trip, and provide the funding necessary for them all to go.
  • Continue to pray for our influence and ministry in Vermillion to grow. A phrase the Lord has been stirring within my spirit is this: “Don’t strive to be the best church in the city, but to be the best church for the city.” Pray for God to continue to reveal what he means by this for Resilient Church and our ministry to Vermillion, USD, and our region.

That’s everything, friends! Thanks again for your continued support and prayers. Until next time!

– Jake