River Community Church (RCC) in Dell Rapids, SD, launched their ministry in 2006 and rented rooms from the local elementary school. After a few years, they were able to purchase a small building in the downtown area with the help of the Great Plains Association (GPA) of the NAB Conference.
The downtown location provided many opportunities to minister within the community, but they eventually began to outgrow the space. Unfortunately, there did not appear to be any larger buildings available, and buying land and constructing a building seemed out of reach.
The town had built a new elementary school and the old elementary school where they first started worshipping sat relatively empty for a few years. The church never really considered it an option as it was over ten times the size of their current building and wasn’t even on the market.
However, God had other plans. As RCC continued to pray and search for an opportunity, it occurred to them to at least reach out to the school to see if purchasing the building was a possibility. It turns out the city was happy to sell.
Pastor Andy Wright shared, “purchasing the building would be a giant leap of faith for us. Not only was the purchase price a challenge for us, but there were many unknowns about how much it would cost to run and maintain a 43,000 square foot building.”
The congregation was overwhelmingly in favor of purchasing the building, and so in 2014, with the help of Church Investors Fund, they stepped out in faith and purchased the school, knowing God would use the space to bless the community. Pastor Andy shared, “I’m not sure we would have been able to purchase this building without Church Investors Fund. Being able to secure a loan was a huge part of us having the confidence to move forward with the purchase. It was also huge to enjoy financial support from the GPA and other churches.”
There were many challenges along the way, but the Lord blessed them throughout, including providing many people within the congregation who were able to use their gifts to help navigate the issues. The building now gives them many unique opportunities to reach out to people and to bless their community.
In 2020, RCC and Church Investors Fund once again partnered together on a project. Pastor Andy shared that “since the very beginning of our church, we have been really focused on planting churches and raising up, training and sending out church planters, church revitalizers, and healthy pastors. With a handful of pastors and churches, we started a program called the Timothy Pastoral Apprenticeship (TPA) that trains men for ministry. Over the years, this program has grown to include 14 churches. While we have trained many men in our church, one of the biggest hurdles for us to be able to recruit students to our church has been the lack of housing.”
A thrift store in the nearby town of Baltic that has been a ministry of RCC became an answer to prayer. This past year, the owner of the building informed them that he wanted to sell the building. “He offered us the opportunity to buy it, but we didn’t think we could reasonably afford it. The owner then gave us a generous offer, and with the help of Church Investors Fund, the GPA, NAB friends, TPA churches, and other supporters, we’ve been able to purchase the building to continue our thrift store and to raise funds to renovate into TPA housing.”
In the next five years, we would love to find more ways to use our building for outreach, double in size, have five TPA students on staff, have a ministry presence in other nearby towns, and plant more churches.
We have been very blessed by Church Investors Fund! Their ministry has helped us improve our discipleship, grow as a church, do outreach, maintain our thrift store outreach in Baltic, and have a multiplying ministry by providing housing for TPA students. Church Investors Fund has allowed us to take some risks to glorify God and to advance God’s kingdom,” said Pastor Andy.