Pastor Jake was on staff at his first ministry placement at Ransom Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from 2016-2019. Jake always had a passion for college students, the university, and the pursuit of learning. In the summer of 2019, Jake was offered a position to work for the School of Theology & Ministry at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he would teach theology, train ministry students, and assist with recruitment initiatives. Jake took the offer, and he and his wife, Kasey, moved to Indiana in the Fall of 2019.

Then the pandemic hit. In the midst of vast amounts of uncertainty and stay-at-home orders, this brought Jake into the worst season of anxiety and depression he ever experienced. It was during the early stages of the pandemic that led them to reassess their priorities. They were expecting their first daughter at the time, so moving back home to South Dakota to be near Kasey’s family became vastly important. Furthermore, Jake was deeply missing pastoring in the local church, a call placed on his life for 10 years at that point.

After a ton of prayer, discernment, and processing with mentors, it became apparent that God was calling Jake and Kasey to plant a church in Vermillion, South Dakota, home to the University of South Dakota. Through the entire journey, the concept of “resilience” stood at the core of everything: That even during the hardest season of their lives, God was still good, saw them through it all, and made them better people and followers of Jesus in the process. 

Little did they know that this season of hardship would be the basis of planting Resilient Church—a community passionate about forming vibrant lives in Jesus that can withstand all the hardship life throws at them.