Stories & Wins

Everyone has a story, and every story matters. There is nothing more powerful than a changed life, and your story could be the catalyst of hope in the life of another.


Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sycamore, Meadows, Hispanic, African, and Online

  • A young adult who recently moved back to Sioux Falls has joined Celebrate Church and is having victory over addiction in his life. Now he is in conversation about hosting a brand new life group to make an impact on his friends!
  • A woman was seeking out pastoral help in the very early morning hours; she googled “24 hour pastors on call” and found us! She was able to come in to Celebrate that very same morning to share her concerns.
  • From a Connect Card contact we were able to speak with a gal who has been watching Celebrate online for a while now, but has felt prompted to become part of an actual service; so she came! She shared that Celebrate is much different than the church she grew up in, but very much wants to be a part of it and learn more by attending Celebrate Life Journey and growing in her own walk.
  • We had 103 LIFE Group inquiries for the month of November. People are beginning to understand the value of relationships and getting involved in a LIFE Group. Also, since September, 85 people have gone through LIFE Group training.
  • On Saturday evening we had a little girl who was visiting the K-2 environment for the first time and she was blind. This could have been a hard thing to navigate, if the team was not willing to go above and beyond for her. Team members stepped up to the plate and explained anything to her she could not see, danced with her during the music and actions, and walked with her every minute of the service. At the end of the service, she did not want to leave because of the value she was given! Because of the genuine love the team members had for her, we were able to make an impact on her life in a profound way.

Church Plants
(* denotes churches in pre-launch phase)

Billings, Montana*

Celebrate Community Church
Casey & Amanda Clausen

  • Prayers were answered for a young man that has been connected with the church plant – he is successfully completing an in-patient program for drug addiction, and his plan is to continue meeting with the church.
  • Through a local nonprofit that aides homeless youth the church has been able to give away Bibles, which has resulted in a morning Bible study with several youths.
  • More relationships are being built within the chamber of commerce and Celebrate Church.

Brandon, South Dakota

Celebrate Community Church
John & Dayna Semchenko

  • A first time guest came to Celebrate made a decision for Christ, has committed to prayer and daily Bible reading, and at Thanksgiving lead his family in a scripture reading.  He had not attended church in decades, but loves the feel at Celebrate and has not missed in 5 weeks.  He stated, “I can’t imagine my life without Sunday mornings at Celebrate.”
  • We had over 100 people attend our Questions event with Mark Mittelberg.  Many key leaders, students, and guest came to hear about the reasons we have for a confident faith.
  • Last weekend, we opened up for anyone who may have a NEED during Christmas, and also for anyone who would be able to GIVE.  We had 4 needs and 21 givers!
  • Our facility was decorated for Christmas last Sunday with a 100% volunteer crew, and nearly 100% donated decorations.
  • Our youth ministry had a community meal put together by a team of parents and afterwards they made 9 blankets that were donated to Helping Hands Assisted living.  The youth also assisted with decorating the assisted living facility for Christmas.

Canton, South Dakota

Celebrate Community Church
Sheldon & Jo Hovaldt (Interim)

  • There were three new commitment for Christ this month!
  • We have had three new families begin attending our church. This is a huge plus for our small community. The children’s ministry has outgrown the area we have set aside.  We are looking at options.  Pray that God will lead us the right direction so we can continue to minister to the children.
  • We had our annual Trunk or Treat October 29, from 1-3.  Even though it was rainy and cold, we had 75 children attend.  Lots of treats, prizes and fun were had by all.

Charleston, South Carolina

Residuum Church
Blaze & Alison Johnson

  • My neighbor, a 9 year old boy has started coming to church.  He brought his friend Conner. Conner’s mom (Crystal) also came to church, and committed to follow Christ.
  • We have relocated to a new building, renting space from an African American church
  • We are sensing that our culture has shifted from people trying to do church, to people growing to know God more together.

Dell Rapids, South Dakota

Quarry Rock Church
Milt & Maddie Borah

  • I was able to lead 3 people to Christ this month and we are currently talking about baptism and growing in Christ. They are blown away to think that God has a specific plan for them!
  • We launched into our new child check-in program and parents were very happy to see it. It’s similar to Celebrate’s with 2 tags printed- one on the child and other to pick the child up. Small steps to win small victories will win the war!
  • I was able to sit down with several new families this month who have been searching for a church home and are new to ‘church.’ They express their feelings that we all like to hear— “This just feels like home!”
  • Pray- As we continue to see visitors and growth, pray that we are wise and responsible. As we dream about the next 13 months, we would like to be at 250 people on a regular basis by Christmas next year. I’d personally like to see 250 at Easter also as a push to get there regularly.

Fargo, North Dakota*

Story Church
Wade & Chelsey Coffey

  • Another couple made a concrete commitment to being a part of the church and getting it launched!
  • We have a 2nd guy making a commitment to the call to ministry by planning to attend seminary at IWU next June!
  • We bought a house! This is significant to our commitment to launch a church in the Fargo/Moorhead area as we demonstrate our seriousness of that commitment by becoming more permanent residents and making this investment.
  • Prayer requests: For the healthy labor and delivery of our baby and the baby of one of our launch team couples in December.
  • The continued leading of God‘s Spirit in putting together a strategic plan and calendar for Story Church for 2018.

Lake Andes, South Dakota*

Don Ryswyk

  • We had a record of 23 people at our November 25 service.
  • There have been three decisions for Jesus Christ in November!
  • On Nov. 18 a group of people from Celebrate-Sycamore helped clean up the old parsonage in Lake Andes.  What a wonderful and dedicated crew!!!  It was a fun day!
  • Prayer Request: The darkness of addiction hangs over Lake Andes.  Pray that Jesus becomes the answer to changed lives in the LA area!

Omaha, Nebraska

Meadows Church
Monte & Jody Gannon

  • Four decisions for Christ in November!!
  • Launched our 6th life group which is our first men’s group
  • We performed our first wedding – a couple that’s been attending since our “living room” days got married!!
  • Prayers: Had our first church attendee pass away – Brittany was only 32.  Please pray for her family.
  • Pray for our December Christmas series –that God will draw people in and that they’ll be changed through the Christmas Story.
  • Pray that we will continually have a heart to reach lost people while pursuing our own next step.

Pharr, Texas

Marv & Deanna Odegaard

  • 61 people first Sunday in November 82 second Sunday 101 third Sunday their getting down south should continue to increase

San Rafael, Mexico

Celebrate Community Church
Eliud & Brenda Garza

  • Our first church plant, Celebrate Zacatecas had their first souls won. Sunday November 12, four people gave their lives to Christ for the first time!!
  • Celebrate Youth in San Rafael had a youth event called “Reset” A New Beginning, last Saturday and 17 kids gave their lives to Christ..
  • God has made it possible to start putting the metal structure on the roof of our new building. Our City Mayor invited us for dinner a week ago at her own home and after a long conversation, she was so impressed of our church and promised to help us with our building project. Praise God.
  • Prayer requests: continue to pray for Brenda Garza she is scheduled for surgery in December.
  • Please pray for Celebrate Zacatecas that more souls would come to know the Lord.
  • Please pray for God’s provision to continue with our church building project.

Yankton, South Dakota*

Celebrate Community Church
Jeff & Alane Todd

  • Two people made decision for Christ at our Sunday gathering Nov 5th.
  • We held our first community event on November 3rd at the Yankton Archery Complex. We hosted a Family Fun Night and offered food, games, inflatable, prizes, and an hour of free Archery. We had 30 new people attend and 8 team members serve. It was great to see team members step up serve and did a great job welcoming the guests.
  • Our event opened a door for us to move our Sunday gatherings to the Archery complex. We had been meeting at Dakota Plains Ag Center, which was  a wonderful place to start out, however it was located outside of Yankton and not on a main road.  The Archery Complex is located right on Highway 50 in Yankton, and has become a key part of the community. Our first Sunday at the Archery Complex(Nov 26th), we had 27 people and 7 first time guests.
  • Prayer requests: Christmas opportunity: We will be heavily promoting the Christmas series “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for our Sunday gatherings. With Christmas eve on Sunday this year, we will be hosting a live service for the community, instead of watching the service from Sioux Falls. This will a great opportunity to reach people with the gospel and to go through the process of having a live service.
  • Pray that as we grow larger, we grow smaller at the same time. LIFE groups are the lifeblood of the church and as more people are drawn into the crowd, they also connect to a LIFE group.
  • Continue to lift up our team members and their families. Ask for power, protection, and personal devotion to growing more like Jesus.

Watch stories of changed lives.

Jonathon's Story

Jonathon's Story

Austin's Story

Austin's Story

Chas & Char's Story

Chas & Char's Story

Erin's Story

Erin's Story

Joe & Suzy's Story

Joe & Suzy's Story

Shelly's Story

Shelley's Story

Garrett's Story

Garrett's Story

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