New Sermon Series & Sunday Services

What a start to our new year! The month of January was a blast, as we immediately picked up momentum from where we left off from the Fall semester. We began the new year with a series called ASCEND, where we took a deep dive into the Transfiguration story while learning how our life with God is like climbing a mountain. In light of the month when everyone’s wanting to make changes in their life for the better, we figured it’d be important to work through a sermon series that challenged us to ascend to new heights and become the people God’s calling us to be.

Energy in our Sunday services has been high—community continues to be made and culture continues to form. Our weekly attendance is averaging in the mid- to upper-60’s, with our most recent service (February 5th) reaching upper-70’s. As our demographics continue to map out, we’re seeing that the vast majority are in the college-student / young adult age range—roughly 60-70%! That said, we’re reaching the people God has called us to reach here in Vermillion.

As exciting as this momentum is, what we’re really celebrating the most is the slew of new faces we see every week. I personally have met roughly 20 new people who have checked out Resilient Church this last month. All of their stories vary: some have been looking for a new church they can call home, while others have felt drawn to get back into church while being out of it for several years, or even just being invited by their friends. The Lord’s blessing this—and we’re praying so fervently that we’re stewarding our ministry opportunities well!

Small Groups

With a new semester comes small groups! We currently have 4 small groups up and running, and are in the process of adding a fifth. Three of these groups are a part of our Resilient Students college ministry. To date, we have 40 people who are signed up for a small group—which is insane!

A quick story: One of our students, Kate, is a sophomore at USD and got involved in one of our Resilient Students small groups last fall. She told me just a few months ago how significant of a role her small group has played in her life! The friendships have been incredibly encouraging to her, and she now has a hunger for God and his Word more than any other time of her life.

“Live On Purpose” Workshop

In light of our series on ascending to new habits and becoming who God has called us to be, we hosted a workshop on February 4th titled “Live On Purpose.” We explored how to set goals and New Year’s resolutions in a way where you can actually achieve them. We hosted it at Vermillion’s local coffee shop, The Bean, so of course we offered free coffee and pastries. It was a great time for us to discuss how to live on purpose and finally achieve our goals!

Our First Baby Dedication

We also had Resilient Church’s first baby dedication—our own daughter, Adelyn Jaymes Thurston! Damian, our Resilient Kids Director, gave a short talk on the importance of dedication, prayed over Adelyn, while challenging Kasey and I to raise Adelyn up in the faith, and Resilient Church to support us in the task. We’re excited for future baby dedications at Resilient!

Kathy’s Resilient Story

One of the initiatives we’ve started is to document resilient faith stories. The videos feature testimonies from one of our congregants who pressed in to Jesus during a hardship in their life, and how they came out Resilient.

Check out Kathy’s Resilient Faith Story above!

The Resilient Church Podcast

Finally—we have a podcast!! The Resilient Church Podcast was created mainly as another way to post our sermons online. We’ve found that it’s way easier for people to listen to 30 minutes of sermon content while driving, going on a run, or doing chores around the house, rather than watching a 30 minute video on youtube in one sitting. Plus, Mason—our worship pastor—and I will do monthly bonus episodes that explore a whole host of topics.

If you want to subscribe to the Resilient Church podcast, click the buttons below to find us on Spotify and Apple Podcasts!

Prayer Requests

• Pray for our upcoming Resilient Students worship night this Wednesday, February 8, from 7-9pm central time at USD! That it’ll be a great chance for students to come together, fellowship, pray, and worship the Lord together.

• We have a group taking a missions trip to Juarez, Mexico in March! They will be partnering with Casas Por Cristo to build a home for a family. Pray that the Lord will continue to provide the funds needed for our team to participate. We have several fundraisers planned this month, and are excited to see how our church family rises to the occasion!

• One of the things I’m currently wrestling with the Lord over is the sustainability of Resilient Church 2-3 years from now. Not just from the financial standpoint for us to be self-sustaining, but to really figure out what our “niche” in the community is, and how we can uniquely make Vermillion a better place because of our faithful presence and dedication to our city. We have some big dreams spinning around right now that only God can make happen. Pray for our church and Leadership Team as we begin having these conversations for where our church needs to go over these next 2-3 years to ensure we’re here for the long haul.

Thank you everyone for your continued support, prayers, and faithfulness to this ministry in Vermillion, SD!

– Jake