Rev. Brummel is home missionary of the Protestant Reformed Churches, stationed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The work in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has its origin in the early 1980s, when the Reformed Witness Committee (RWC) of the area Protestant Reformed churches in Northwest Iowa and Southwest Minnesota began working toward the goal of a Protestant Reformed witness in Sioux Falls. Sioux Falls was a growing city offering many vocation opportunities for young people. In May of 1981 the RWC decided to take up labors in Sioux Falls, SD. The committee held Bible studies and lectures and discussed ways to promote the gospel in Sioux Falls. The Doon Consistory became the supervising consistory for the work in 1987 and started evening worship services on November 1, 1987 with a rotation of supply from the area Protestant Reformed pastors, who preached three services on those Sundays. But, due to various factors, the worship services ended on July 10, 1988. In November of 1990, at the request of Doon Consistory, the RWC started a Bible study in Sioux Falls. Rev. Michael DeVries, pastor of Edgerton at that time, led the Bible studies until they were discontinued on December 20, 1993 due to a lack of outside interest.
Through the years more members from the congregations in Iowa and Minnesota moved to Sioux Falls for work opportunities. Rev. Key addressed the matter with the RWC at their March 21, 2005 meeting, encouraging them to renew work in Sioux Falls, beginning with a Bible study. He was of the conviction that there was good potential for ongoing work there. At the July 18, 2005 meeting of the RWC, the Edgerton sub-committee reported that they had met with a few couples in Sioux Falls and were planning to start a Bible study. Rev. Daniel Kleyn was planning to lead the studies, but when he took the call to Holland, Rev. Key stepped in with Hull’s approval.
The Bible studies started in September of 2005. Most of the time of the first meeting was spent deciding how to promote the Bible study. The group decided to send a letter to all Protestant Reformed members and former members, as well as some other contacts in the Sioux Falls area, explaining the purpose of the Bible study and inviting them to join us. Over the next few months we gained a few more for the Bible study, and had an enjoyable time of fellowship and spiritual instruction. Rev. Key led the studies until December of 2006.
Already in May 2006 the group expressed its desire to the RWC to become a mission of the Protestant Reformed Churches with regular preaching services. Because the RWC is a committee representing three congregations, it took several months before the request worked its way through the area church councils and was approved. A September 25, 2006 letter came from the Bible Study group to the Domestic Mission Committee (DMC) expressing the fact that they now had the approval of the area councils/consistories and were requesting the DMC’s assistance in establishing a church extension work in Sioux Falls.
After sending a delegation to meet with them at one of the biweekly Bible Study meetings, the DMC was convinced that there was a solid core group in Sioux Falls, and that they were ready to be a shining light in their community. The DMC delegation provided a recommendation that the DMC “immediately look for and send to Sioux Falls a man to work with this group, beginning worship services with them, leading Bible studies and teaching catechism classes, and working on developing contacts in the area.” The recommendation passed, and immediately the DMC requested of Candidate Spronk to move to Sioux Falls and take up the beginning of the work there. Edgerton was asked and agreed to be calling church of the field.
One of the first activities of the group was to choose for themselves the name Heritage Protestant Reformed Fellowship. A steering committee was appointed, and plans were made for the beginning of worship services at the Holiday Inn in downtown Sioux Falls. Worship services began on January 29, 2007, with Rev. R. Kleyn of the DMC preaching in the morning and Rev. D. Overway, pastor of Doon PRC, preaching in the afternoon. Rev. Spronk’s family found a place in the Fellowship and his labor was much appreciated, until he left in July of 2007 to serve as pastor of Peace PRC. Immediately the DMC and Edgerton Consistory were able to get a commitment from Rev. Kortering to assist in Sioux Falls until December 16 if necessary. Rev. and Mrs. Kortering spent ten weeks laboring in Sioux Falls and developed a close attachment to the work and to the people. He established a good foundation, especially in the way of stirring up the Fellowship in their need to be active in personal witnessing.
My family and I arrived on November 1, 2007. In January of 2008 the first members of the Fellowship were received by Edgerton. Edgerton received the core group of 5 families and 7 individuals (18 confessing members and 6 baptized children) into membership in the mission under Edgerton’s oversight. As the months progressed, other families and individuals were added, until now, without my family, the Fellowship numbers 13 families, with 27 confessing members and 7 baptized children. Two more children are expected in the next months, and a couple of additional families are interested in joining the Fellowship.
We know that the most important aspect of the mission work is faithful preaching. God is pleased to build His church not through novel, man-centered gimmicks, but through the preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I study and apply the Word to myself first and then bring God’s Word to the Fellowship each week, with assurance that “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (I Cor. 1:18).
I attended a class last June at Sioux Falls Seminary on the subject of missions. While the subject matter of the class required much discretion, I learned valuable information about missions in general, as well as Sioux Falls in particular. One emphasis of the professor was on the necessity and effectiveness of personal witnessing. He pointed out, on the basis of numerous studies, that over 80% of church growth comes from personal contacts and invitations from the members. Only about 1% of growth comes through the influence of a minister or missionary, and less than 1% through advertising or special evangelistic efforts. We witness these statistics ourselves, as personal contact has been the reason for most of our growth. I continue to preach on witnessing and try to be an example to the members. The members receive this instruction well, and while no one finds it easy, we are trying to promote the gospel through our life and walk.
We make our presence known in Sioux Falls through various mediums, including our Web sitewww.reformedsiouxfalls.org, two yellow-page advertisements, the Argus Leader newspaper, promos and tags associated with the Reformed Witness Hour radio broadcast, and television ads. We benefited greatly from a professional seminar on advertising that gave us many good ideas as to how to get our presence established in Sioux Falls. We were encouraged to make use of passive advertising, which includes print, as well as intrusive advertising, which involves radio and television. Three elements were set forth as important in that regard—the reach, the frequency, and the consistency. In July we entered into a contract with KSFY (ABC) TV to air forty-two thirty-second commercials each month. They informed us that the most effective advertising is that which floods the market for a specific time period. Therefore, all forty-two of the ads run in one week per month. The creative design team met with us to discuss our mission work, the message we wanted to send, and the people that we were seeking to target. After analyzing our situation, the KSFY team proposed that I be aired in the spots with a brief biblical message, believing that what made our mission stand apart in Sioux Falls was our expository preaching. We have benefited much from the professional advice of the KSFY team and their ideas for promoting our work. With the help of the KSFY production team we have now created three advertisements, each containing a brief biblical message and promoting our Fellowship. People are seeing them, and our name and presence is being established in the community. The KSFY team plans to meet soon with our Web site development committee to suggest technical ways that we can increase the traffic on our Web site.
We believe that it is very important to follow up our contacts, therefore as missionary I both write letters and make phone calls to individuals who attend our worship services. The members of the Fellowship are outstanding at warmly greeting and gathering information on visitors. We’ve found that most visitors do not feel intimidated but appreciate the personal interest. We desire to build on that and eventually establish an e-mail list to which we can send regular newsletters, devotionals, and updates.
We are excited about the work that God is doing here in Sioux Falls. We are planning a lecture in July to commemorate the 500th birthday of John Calvin, and we continue to plan for future seminars to which we can invite the public. I am thankful for our more experienced missionaries. I have benefited from their ideas and look forward to continuing to grow with their help.
“But my God shall continue to supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).