The Ransom Church is a nine-year-old church plant situated in the heart of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a rapidly-expanding city of 174,000.
As their name suggests, this congregation has at its heart the mission of setting the captives free, not only with the truth of God forgiving sins, but also the second half of the message: the life-transforming power of God setting us free from those bonds.
“We have a strong conviction that people need to know the second half of the gospel, that God not only forgives but sets us free from our sins as well,” said downtown campus pastor, Rev. Phil Wiseman.
“I tell people, the gospel is both a courtroom and a hospital. We’re not left to languish in our sins.”
The Ransom Church was the product of a call to multiply by another Wesleyan congregation in the city, Linwood Wesleyan Church.
“Linwood has a selfless vision for multiplication in their DNA,” says Wiseman.
Current lead pastor Phill Tague and his wife Stephanie stepped up to lead and set a vision for the new church plant, joined by others, including Phil Wiseman, who took a part-paid, part-volunteer position as worship pastor.
“People like to be a part of something new,” said Wiseman. “Establishing a church plant can help people who have been disillusioned with more established churches. People found comfort in that.”
The church started in a movie theater, later moving to a renovated warehouse in downtown Sioux Falls.
After just under a decade, The Ransom Church has grown to about 1,500 at its downtown campus, with a South Campus launched exactly a year ago, and another west campus getting ready for launch.
And for this congregation, church planting isn’t just about setting up new buildings.
Not everyone is willing to walk through the doors of a church, but most will welcome friendship, good music and a message of hope.
“We’ve got people leading worship services all over the city, in nursing homes, juvenile detention center, the jail. We’ve got an army of volunteers that goes out into the community each week,” Phil explains.
To make this ministry possible, the teaching team writes the sermon for each Sunday several weeks in advance and distributes it to the community group leaders.
“These folks take the sermon from Sunday and preach it at a different location. That ministry reaches 200 people a week,” said Wiseman.
Employing creative compassion, the congregation is constantly searching out new ways to be Christ’s hands and feet in their fast-growing community.
“We’re poised to meet unique need,” said Wiseman. “At our downtown campus, we’re situated in some of the most troubled neighborhoods in our city.”
Wiseman shares his excitement over a new ministry to teach kids to cook, a fresh idea that they hope will meet a desperate need.
“We found out there’s a lot of elementary school kids that go home to no parents, for one reason or another. They have to provide for themselves and act as caregivers for younger siblings,” said Wiseman.
“In response, we’re going to launch a cooking class to help these kids learn to cook and help provide groceries.”
The Ransom Church has a vision to give away as much bounty as they received when they were first planted.
“We’ve been asking, ‘How can we transition from being a growing church to a sending church?’ We want to give away as much as we can: our knowledge, failures and successes.”