The origin of the Sioux Falls Ministry Center was a four-year journey that one Ministry Center visionary said could be compared to Jesus feeding the 5,000. On that day Jesus fed a multitude with a handful of fish and a few loaves of bread and still had several baskets full of leftovers (John 6: 1-15). Similarly, the concept of the Sioux Falls Ministry Center began with very little, but quickly transformed into something great.
"We spent a little and God gave us a huge concept," the SFMC visionary said.
Obedience to God’s Call
In 2007, Pastor Fred Wilgenburg of Center of Hope sensed a call from God to relocate Center of Hope to a more central location in Sioux Falls. Sensing "that God would bless a facility that not only housed Center of Hope, but other complementary ministries," Wilgenburg gained board approval for $100,000. He then began the search of purchasing a 14,000-square-foot building.
God’s Vision Planted
Soon thereafter, a family stopped by the Center of Hope inquiring about connecting their children into other cultures within the community. This family began volunteering at Center of Hope. Following several conversations, Wilgenburg and the family began to see a common thread – a ministry mall concept with Center of Hope, a day care and several other complementary ministries located in a centrally-located facility in Sioux Falls.
"The vision was to bring like-minded ministries into one building to serve those in need," he said.
Within six months, Wilgenburg had gathered a group of individuals, mostly unknown to one another, who had similar visions to form a board of directors. In 2008 they began praying and working through the paperwork to become a nonprofit entity as well as viewing potential properties.
Finding the right building in the right location was tedious. After looking at numerous buildings without success, one board member became so frustrated that she was ready to resign from the SFMC board. The day she planned to write her resignation letter she stopped at a local restaurant. As she was leaving, she noticed a friend, Randy Stewart, and began talking with him about her frustration.
Stewart looked at her and said, "Why don't you buy my building?"
Purchasing the 30,000-square-foot Stewart Building was a leap of faith. Not only was the building nearly three times the size than what they were looking for, but the asking price was over budget and major renovations needed to be done to accommodate the ministry mall concept. Following much prayer, the SFMC board decided to move forward with the vision and the expectation that God would provide.
God’s Vast Provision
Just like that day when he fed 5,000 hungry people, God provided! Not long after the board decided to purchase the Stewart Building, a major donor came forward and gave over $1 million to purchase the facility. God took a small number of people with a small dream and a small amount of money and turned it into a God-sized concept. We praise and worship a "big" God!
Since its opening, many individuals have passed through the Sioux Falls Ministry Center doors and experienced peace in their lives through the hands and feet of Jesus by the ministries in the SFMC. We praise Him for His faithfulness, provision and look forward to His direction for our future.