Celebrate Church in Sioux Falls wanted to branch out. They picked Pastor Jeff Todd and his wife, Alane, to lead a new church plant.
"When I went to the Sioux Falls Celebrate church, I was a broken man," says Todd. "I was separated from my wife, Alane; I was at the lowest place in my life. A co-worker suggested I try out Celebrate. I did, and so did my wife. After we both got reconnected to God, our marriage relationship was reestablished."
Todd was born and raised in Gettysburg, SD. While attending the University of South Dakota, he met Alane, who was born and raised in Mitchell, SD. They were married in 2001, and after graduating, moved to Sioux Falls. Jeff began working at Children’s Home Society, and Alane started a career in early childhood education. They have two boys, Caleb born in 2003, and Joshua, born in 2006. At the present time, in addition to being a pastor, Todd works at the Boys and Girls Club.
Keith Loy, founding and senior pastor of Sioux Falls Celebrate, cast a vision in 2015 to plant 50 church in the next 10 years. Loy believes local churches, with local pastors, in local communities, are the hope of the world. At the present time, including Yankton, there are nine churches: Brandon, Canton, Del1 Rapids, Lake Andes, Omaha, Chamberlain, Fargo and San Rafel, Mexico.
Early in 2016, Todd was asked to lead one of these church plants.
"When I was first asked, I said, ‘You sure you got the right guy?’ " Todd asked. When he asked Alane, she said, "God’s prepared you for this your entire life." It was settled, they’d start a church plant. But where? Yankton kept coming back to Todd. When he went to the church leadership, they confirmed that they’d been praying for a new church plant in Yankton. So in July 2017, the Todd family packed up and moved to Yankton. Joining them were good friends, Mike and Tracy Robinson.
"We love Yankton. It’s an amazing place to live. There are so many places that help people. I’m impressed by the leadership of the City Manager, Amy Nelson, and Superintendent Dr. Wayne Kindle," Todd said.
Celebrate church in Yankton seeks people who don’t have a church affiliation, are broken or have been hurt in relationships.
"We want those who aren’t being reached by other churches in Yankton, for whatever reason," says Todd. "It takes a variety of churches to reach a variety of people."
According to city-data.com, in 2000, 5,014 people identified as no religious affiliation in Yankton. That number jumped to 7,286 in 2010.
Like the prodigal son, who left home then returned when he had lost everything, Celebrate wants to "welcome home," those who are finding life without Christ unfulfilling, Todd said.
"Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t instantly make your life better, but it does make you better at life. You’ll become better husbands and wives, improved parents, wiser with your finances, and all-around better citizens. When Jesus is uplifted through the local church, God will flourish the community."
Todd spoke of a guy who came to Yankton for rehab. "He felt broken and lost coming through our doors, but left a changed man. He now has a home and job in Yankton."
Celebrate started at Dakota Plains, then moved to the NFAA Easton Archery Complex. They are now at the Minervas Convention Center at Best Western Kelly Inn (1607 SD-50) Sundays at 10 a.m. Directions are given at yankton.church.
The mission of the church is to lead people to Christ, and their God-designed purpose, Todd said.
"We want people to grow, not just attend," he said.
With that in mind, during Riverboat Days, Celebrate church will conduct the Kiddie Train at Riverside.
"We want to be a part of the community. At the same time we want to have fun," says Todd. "Stop by and say hi."
He wants people to know that, "each person is welcome and wanted. We don’t care what you’ve done. Celebrate with us and welcome home."
Visit their website for more information. https://yankton.church.