• Phill Tague

This past Sunday was National Multiplication Sunday, and we were blessed with a message from Sarah Fravel, Lead Pastor of “Home Church,” a future plant headed to New York City. (CLICK HERE to learn more). As you can imagine, getting to New York is literally impossible at this time, and even when things open up, there is an overwhelming sense of fear and the unknown permeating everything. My prayer is this blog would serve as a reminder- please be in prayer for Sarah and David Fravel, and for all our planters facing an uncertain future. And this actually leads to the question I want to address today:

Why Church Planting? If multiplication is so difficult right now, and if there are no guarantees in church planting anyway, why is it worth the risk? And what does this even have to do with me? After all, I’m not a Pastor or a Church planter! But did you know we have a program called “Awaken Advocates” that actually gives people the opportunity to support our planters financially and in prayer. (To learn more, visit awakenthechurch.org). These are people giving above and beyond their tithe to support the work of church planting and planter training. And still, the number one question I get asked by those in this group is to explain the eternal value of this investment. Why church planting? What makes is worth the risk?

I totally get it. When you invest in church planting and multiplication, you are committing yourself to playing the long game. The math of church planting works just the same as any other math. In the short term, addition always beats multiplication. But in the long term, multiplication and not addition is what leads to exponential kingdom impact. Let me show you what I mean using basic math:

1+1 = 2 while 1x1=1

2+2 = 4 while 2x2 = 4

3+3 = 6 while 3x3 = 9

After the fourth iteration, it’s not even close. And the same is true with church planting. Every number is a soul and every soul matters to God. Multiplication exponentially increases the souls that can be reached. It’s hard to invest in multiplication, when addition is what every church longs for. We want our church to GROW…and there’s nothing wrong with that! Unfortunately, in order to multiply, it means sometimes in the short term, we don’t grow as fast…or at all…or we might even shrink for a bit as we send people out to multiply. It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to send.

Here’s my challenge: Play the long game. The eternal impact isn’t just significant, it’s critical. There is no version of church addition alone that leads to the proliferation of the gospel to the whole world. There is no version of addition mentality that allows us to actually accomplish the great commission, carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. Addition doesn’t get us there. It takes multiplication. It takes people willing to play the long game, to invest in the future and even to experience a bit of loss in the short term…but it’s worth it.

To learn more about how you can get involved in Awaken, visit awakenthechurch.org or contact Pastor Mandi at mandi@ransom.church. To find out how you can support Sarah and David Fravel, visit homenewyork.org

  • Phill Tague

The last several weeks, we have been studying what we now refer to as “The Great Commandment.” A phrase our denomination often uses is “Fulfilling the Great Commission in the Spirit of the Great Commandment.” In other words, any call to God’s mission on this earth to reach the lost and spread the truth of Jesus starts with a life aligned with the Great Commission to love God with all we are and to love our neighbor. But this is easier said than done.

If I have learned anything preparing these sermons over the last few weeks, it’s how often I personally fall short of living a “Great Commandment” life. Sometimes I doubt God. Sometimes I let him down. Sometimes I fail to love others the way God loves them or to see them with the value God places upon them. Can you relate? I think the reason for this comes down to our original statement in this entire series- It’s all about the heart.

If I were to ask you what Jesus’ greatest duty was on earth, most would probably focus on his duty to live a sinless life so He could be the perfect sacrifice for us. And no question, this is true. But as with anything, if we know the WHAT but miss the WHY, we will miss the big picture. What if I told you Jesus only had one duty when He was on earth, and it wasn’t what you think?

Jesus’ one duty on this earth was to love His Father.

Everything else Jesus came to do, He was doing out of love for His Father. He came to earth to live a sinless life and to die a sacrificial death for our sins BECAUSE of His love for His Father. He didn’t avoid sin on this earth because He loved following the rules, but because He loved His Father, the author of right and wrong. He did all He did to please His father. In fact, even as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane begging for the cup to pass from Him, ultimately His prayer was “But not my will, but your will be done.” According to John 15:10, when we don’t keep God’s commands, we don’t abide in His love. The command in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” applied to Jesus as well.

The Shema, and Jesus’ keeping of it was his great confession. Everything we say or do hangs on love, because love is why Jesus came. When we make it our one goal to love God with all we are, we will naturally also begin to love the things God loves, including the people we interact with every day. The reason I fall short in my love is because I lack the same motivation Jesus had. Our one duty on earth isn’t to follow a bunch of rules. It’s not to go to church or be baptized or teach in kids church or lead a community group or disciple someone or go on a mission trip. We SHOULD do all those things. But we should do them because they are expressions of the one thing that matters most. Love God with your heart, soul, mind and strength. And the second is equally as important; Love your neighbor. All the law hangs on these two things.

It’s all about the heart.

  • Phill Tague

This past Sunday, Pastor Paul Nix did an amazing job challenging us to be unified not only as Ransom Church, but as THE Church of Jesus Christ. Far too often, if we asked people if they thought of churches as more unified or more divided, the answer wouldn’t put a smile on our faces. And though this has always mattered, I would argue it matters now more than ever.

Recently, I have seen several billboards around town reminding us in this current reality to be unified in our approach to fighting COVID-19 and in keeping the most vulnerable among us safe. Both billboards had a straightforward and simple message:

“By staying apart, we stick together.”

What’s been so interesting to me in this season of forced separation is that in so many ways, this above statement has proved itself true. As we have been forced to take a step back, to isolate ourselves from others and to socially distance, it has created within humanity a desire for things like community and relationships, and it has unified us in fighting a common enemy. I have also seen its affects upon the church. Though we have been apart, in some ways, we have as a church been more “together” than ever before.

In fact, Ironically, the greatest danger facing the church as we consider what it might look like to physically come together is a lack of unity. And this is especially true for us as a multisite church with a church planting network. As we start to meet at our different campuses, there is a sense in which we can actually get pulled back into the consumerism Paul talked about. We cannot afford to go back to where we were! It’s not that we were in a bad place…but where we are now is BETTER. We can’t afford to become Jesus consumers. We must choose instead to be cohesive. We must choose The Great Cohesion.

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

(John 17:20-21 NLT)

This is Jesus’ call and his great concern- that we would be one, so the world will believe. This is The Great Cohesion. I have heard people longing to “Go back to normal.” Let’s PLEASE not do that! We have a chance to NOT be normal, but instead to align ourselves with Jesus call. We have a chance to choose unity and to be one.

As we have stayed apart, we have come together. Now as we physically come together, let’s actually STAY together. Let’s fight for unity, both in our church and among the churches in our city. Let’s be one. Let’s live and love in a way so the world will know and will believe in Jesus.

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
  • YouTube

© 2019 Ransom Church

we moved!


100 N Ebenezer Avenue

Sioux Falls, SD 57107

Tel: (605) 339 - FREE (3733)