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I’m just past the two-year mark of accepting the Tech Director Job at Ransom Church. So in just a few months, it will be two years that we have lived here in the Sioux Falls area. In that time, Tiah also accepted a job at Ransom, and it’s been such a great move for us.

It was a decision we wrestled with. In Bismarck, we were part of the Missio launch team, which has since found a home and holds weekly services. It was a dynamic group of people for a church that was having an impact, both in reaching lost people and our own lives. When you get involved in a vibrant church where you see the Lord visibly at work, it’s hard to leave. But we recognized a clear calling to Ransom and then watched God move a number of pieces into place to make it a smooth transition.

There isn’t a perfect place to work, and there isn’t a perfect church. Ransom is no exception. Yet, at Ransom, we’ve found a place that stretches close on both marks. So many leaders talk about culture but don’t do the work to get it. Ransom has fought hard to develop and strengthen their culture.

There is freedom in being hired to do a job and then being truly empowered to do that job. I’ve cycled through several positions high on responsibilities but short on permissions. In the words of Steve Jobs, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

More significant than that, though, is a church full of life. I’ve never been part of a church that so frequently has salvations and people coming forth for baptisms. [side note: someone at Salt had a statistic that a salvation in America corresponds with an average of $1.7 million of church budget. That’s an atrocious ratio.] Sunday morning worship is full of energy and life, and worship nights elevate it. The preaching is communicated clearly, deeply, and directly challenging everyday life. It’s a privilege to watch a group come together to take a prepared message and give nuggets of feedback to elevate it. It’s increasingly rare to communicate effectively with multiple generations, but the teaching team at Ransom does so week after week.

But let’s circle back to worship nights. There is freedom in freely worshipping. I’ve spent too much time in churches and with organizations more worried about restraining the volume level of worship than they are about the Holy Spirit coming into the place and impacting lives (and no, we don’t run concert-level volumes). The Lord called us to sing, dance, and make a joyous noise. To be in a place where people feel the freedom to do all that is incredible, and the worship night we just hosted definitely had God’s presence. Check out this brief snippet from it.

Ransom Worship Night

Returning to my opening thoughts, you deserve to work in a place that sets you free to do incredible things alongside incredible people. You deserve to be part of a church that’s full of life. But don’t be deceived by mere growth as full of life, as many churches are growing in numbers but not in Christ. A friend recently shared a fantastic quote from Pastor Glenn Burris; “Too many Christians are no longer fishers of men, but keepers of the aquarium.” That is a gut punch for way more people than want to admit it.

I’m a big proponent of not jumping ship but being the change. But if you’re somewhere that you have tried being the change, but at every turn, you hear ‘this is just how we do it’ or someone not wanting to give up their personal preference, or even putting politics in front of the Bible, then it might be time to move on. Maybe you think so highly of yourself that nowhere meets your demands, but you’re also unwilling to be humble enough to believe you could still learn something; that’s its own problem. So here in Sioux Falls (or affiliates in Yankton, or Rock Rapids, Iowa), I invite you to visit Ransom. Back in Bismarck, get involved at Missio. If you’re near Vermillion, SD, meet Jake Thurston at Resilient.

God has more for you; let Him set you free. As we say at Ransom: Worship Free. Live Free. Serve Free.

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