I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.Psalm 9:1
We have been on the ground church planting for almost 6 months now. And to see how the Lord has provided has been nothing short of astounding. In light of celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, I think it’s only appropriate that we spend this month’s update celebrating all that God has done in these early stages of planting Resilient Church here in Vermillion, South Dakota!
We unveiled our name, vision, and values last month, which has led to some great conversations about who we are as a church and what we’re aspiring to be. This is the starting point of it all! You can check out the full story here.
Because of the early interest in our church planting efforts, we decided to start a small house church gathering on Sunday nights in the Vermillion Public Library. This has been a great opportunity to start building relationships, take a deep dive into our mission, vision, and values, and have early conversations about joining our Core Team for the Spring. Since then, we’ve had an average attendance of 13-18 people per Sunday, seeing over 40 different faces over the course of this Fall! Further, out of this group, we have already had 18 people sign on to join our Core Team for the Spring and Summer leading up to our August 28th, 2022 launch date. Praise be to God!
Additionally, we hosted a Friendsgiving last weekend (November 21)! This was a time for everyone who attended with us this Fall, Core Team members, and anyone else interested in Resilient Church, to enjoy a relaxing evening of building friendships over good food. When you go into church planting, you immediately ask God to provide the people, not only for you to reach, but also to help you build this church. It was one of my biggest prayer requests at the beginning of this journey. And to see images of this community coming together already is just a huge testament to the Lord’s faithfulness and provision in this season!
I also shared a video update in our Resilient Church Advocates Facebook Group this month about the state of my mental health. In short, I’ve never been in a healthier mental state than I have been these last 6 months. It has been a night and day different from 1 year ago when I reached an all-time low with my anxiety and depression during COVID, and longing for direction with my vocational ministry. Since we’ve started this journey, I have had a renewed sense of confidence, stability, peace, and assurance that we are doing exactly what we need to be doing. That’s a major testament to the Spirit working in my own life! You can check out the full video update below:
I also had the chance to join a Multipliers Learning Community through the church planting organization, “Exponential.” This is a 7-month journey with other leaders in the Wesleyan Church who are passionate about disciple-making, developing leaders, and church planting. We had our first in-person gathering in Seattle, Washington this month, and I left inspired with dreams about how the Lord wants us to focus on raising resilient disciples, as well as how we can infuse church planting and multiplication into our DNA. We’re thrilled to see what else the Lord will bring out of this learning community, and how it’ll impact the direction of Resilient Church!
This next one is a really exciting update. One of the biggest challenges for church planting is fundraising. It’s just a reality: the funds have to come from somewhere. Needless to say, we have been blown away by the Lord’s provision in this area already! We have very ambitious goals with our budgeting and fundraising, as you can see with our 3-year budget breakdown here:
Here’s why we’re chasing these goals. We want to save up as much of our funds as we possibly can in the short term, and then spend them conservatively, so we can extend our ministry for the long term. Because of the unique makeup of our community—40% being 18-24 year olds, and another 30% living in poverty—we’re anticipating that the majority of our funding for the first 3 years will have to rely on external sources before we can be fully self-sustaining. The extra cushion we have in savings, then, can easily help us get to year 5 and onward. This is what’s necessary to reach a population that doesn’t have a lot of cash on hand.
But get this: Between what we have raised and what we have pledged, we are already almost halfway to our fundraising goal! Check this out!
This is nothing short of a miracle. A huge thanks goes to the Lord, as well as the individuals, families, and partnership who have already given and pledged to give!
Lastly, I have to give thanks to the Lord for the incredible supporters and advocates he’s given us. It’s been so cool—and humbling, honestly—to see so many people from different facets of our life rooting for us, praying for us, and supporting us along the way. So thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued prayers and support for us along the way. It makes the biggest difference in the world having you all in our corner!
As I said earlier…. The Lord has been so, so, so good to us in these first 6 months of church planting. He is the only reason why we’ve been able to come this far. So the only thing we can adequately do in response is to give him the praise he deserves. So, as far as prayer requests go for this month, I ask that you can offer up prayers of thanksgiving and celebration for what God’s doing in Vermillion and Resilient Church! It’s the least we can do.