River Community Church is led by a plurality of elders, who are assisted by deacons. Some elders are paid, and for clarity sake, we call them pastors. However, in keeping with scripture, we regard all elders as pastors and all pastors as elders. Deacons function to help serve the church’s practical needs (benevolence, building concerns, technology, programs, events, etc.), enabling the elders to focus more time and energy toward the Word, prayer, shepherding and leading. We also frequently have student pastors on staff. What we mean by a “student pastor” is someone who is in training to become a vocational pastor/elder. Below is our team of pastors, elders, deacons and student pastors.
Pastor/Elder/Men’s Team Leader – Andy Wright
I grew up in a Christian family on a small farm outside Wentworth, SD and placed my faith in Christ at an early age. During most of my formative years, I participated in a gospel-loving church called West Center Baptist in Madison, SD. After graduating from Rutland High School, I attended South Dakota State University for a year and then moved on to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, where I graduated with a Bible/Theology degree. After graduation, I moved to Hartford, SD and served as a student pastor while I attended North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls. In 2006, shortly after graduating from seminary, my wife Megan and I moved to Dell Rapids to help plant River Community Church.
I love sharing Christ, helping people grow in their relationship to Christ, planting churches and raising up, training and sending out pastors and missionaries into the mission field regionally and globally.
My wife and I have 5 children: Margaret, Judah, Gabby, Josie and Abraham. I love to spend time with my family, hike, hunt, fish, play sports and read. If you’d like to contact me, feel free to call the office or send me a message to email@example.com
Pastor/Elder/Baltic Outreach Team Leader – Ryan Franchuk
I trusted Christ for salvation at a young age and was baptized by my father when I was eight. I am blessed with an incredible mom and dad who taught me the Bible and have modeled discipleship to Jesus for my whole life. The local church has been massive in my life, pouring love and grace and support into me and providing a place to grow. I’m grateful to God for the churches of my childhood (Calvary Baptist, Carrington, ND), college (Metropolitan Baptist, Fargo, ND), and seminary years (First Baptist, Emery, SD). I’m grateful for the faithful men and women of those churches whom God used and keeps using to form me.
I am married to Sallie and we have 3 children, Adoniram, Ezra, and Evangeline. We live in Baltic, SD and love that community. I love getting to preach and teach at River Community Church. I also serve as a director for the Timothy Pastoral Apprenticeship, a radically church-centered theological training program. I like reading, backpacking, fishing, roasting coffee, and trying to make stuff on a lathe.
Elder – Toby Pulscher
Toby put his faith in Jesus Christ as a youth. He preaches occasionally at RCC, teaches on Wednesday nights and is a regular member of our 6am Monday men’s Bible study. He is also a part of our building renovation committee. Toby provides kind and thoughtful leadership to RCC.
Toby is an engineer at Daktronics in Brookings, SD. He is married to Laura Jean and they have 3 children: Malcolm, Oliver and Mercedes. Laura Jean spent several years as our music coordinator before being diagnosed with ALS. Toby and Laura Jean are battling ALS with faith and courage and have set remarkable examples for our congregation.
Toby loves things like soccer, dirt biking and juggling.
Elder/Sound and Media – Matt Larson
I grew up in a Christian home in Mellette, SD. I attended church and Sunday School on a regular basis which led to attending Youth Groups though middle school and high school years, and teaching Sunday School as well. While I grew up in a church-setting, I had a mis-conception of the Christian life much of my childhood and early adolescent years. I had the thought that I attended church, I believed in God, and because of that nothing bad was going to happen to me and I was going to “live the good life”. It wasn’t until almost hitting rock bottom between the ages of 16-20 that I truly began to see what being a Christian was all about. I can’t tell you an exact date/time that I was converted. I don’t have one of those 180-degree life-changing conversion stories, but what I can say is that from around the age of 20-21 through now I’ve been growing in my Christian walk and having a stronger relationship with the Lord by His grace and mercy.
I’ve been blessed beyond what I deserve with three healthy and active boys and a beautiful bride that encourages me and makes me want to be a stronger Christian man each and every day. We have been attending River Community Church almost since the church began, and I undoubtedly have grown as a Christian because of the church….either through sermons, Bible Studies, or just every day conversations with the church family. I love being a part of RCC and this group of believers who encourage and love one another…and show me through examples of their lives of what a Christian is, so that I can learn and grow even more. I’m a firm believer that no matter how long we’ve been a Christian, we can always learn to be stronger all of our lives.
Outside of being an elder at RCC, I work full time as a computer programmer/analyst for Citibank. In my free time I own and operate Big Sioux Media, am President of the Dell Rapids Little League, follow my boys around to all of their activities (they love the sports!), and God-willing am creating an example for my boys of what it is to be a Christian man.
Student Pastor/Youth Team Leader – Jackson Geraets
Jackson and his family came to RCC when he was in middle school. Jackson also gave his life to Christ around that time. Jackson grew really quickly and started taking our TPA (Timothy Pastoral Apprenticeship) classes while still in high school. Since high school graduation he has served as a part-time student pastor and also as part time TPA staff. Jackson has a heavy load of teaching responsibilities, preaches occasionally, leads our youth team and does a bunch of other things for the church. He serves the TPA by teaching high level youth classes through Zoom for students all over the region and also by helping with recruitment and advertising.
Jackson loves playing board games, writing (currently working on a book) and spending time with friends and family.
Deacon/Treasurer – Amber Larson
I was first introduced to our Lord by my special grandmother. I grew up attending services with her and enjoyed learning together with several friends in youth group and Sunday school. I grew up surrounded by the Word and felt the Lord’s influence in my life.
Later, God blessed me with a loving, Christian husband. While living in Madison, SD, we attended services at West Center Baptist Church. After moving to Dell Rapids in 2005, we continued to attend West Center, until they encouraged us to visit River Community Church. We love being part of a body of believers that is Bible saturated and lead by the truth of the scriptures. I have been greatly strengthened in my Christian walk and knowledge of the Word through the messages delivered by the great leaders of RCC, Life Group discussions, and women’s Bible studies. I am truly blessed to serve as treasurer.
My husband and I have three boys who keep us busy with sports and other activities. We yearn to grow them into Christian men and are blessed by the influence of other great parents in the church. During the day, I work as an accountant. In my free time, I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, and spending time with family and friends. I also enjoy serving as the president of the Dell Rapids Chamber of Commerce and serving on the DR Community VBS board, where we teach 200+children of the Word of God.
Deacon/Building Maintenance Team Leader – Nate Sommerfeld
Nate leads our building maintenance team, and is always quick to lend a helping hand to anyone who is need.
Nate works in accounting and also serves as an EMT. Nate enjoys hunting, camping and spending time with family.
Deacon/Women’s Ministry Team Leader – Sarah Sommerfeld
After a career in nursing, Sarah is now a homeschool mom and also works part-time for EMT services. Sarah loves music, animals, canning vegetables, camping and spending time with family.
Deacon/Nursery Coordinator – Shelly Donahue
Shelly coordinates our nursery and joyfully serves wherever there is a need.