SERGEANT BLUFF -- Rallypoint Church pastor and founder Drew Hanson never thought he’d come back to Siouxland, nor did he think his decision to move back would involve a urinal.
Hanson said three years ago, he was officiating a friend’s wedding in Spirit Lake, Iowa. At the reception, he took a bathroom break and faced an unlikely encounter when a wedding guest with a similar background to him stood next to him in the restroom and started asking him questions about his life as a pastor.
“He looked at me and said ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you a pastor? You’re young and you’re basing your life on a church that’s dead,’ he said to me,” Hanson said. “I didn’t really have an answer for him in the 30 seconds we were standing there except that it felt like what I was supposed to do.”
He said from that point on, every time he drove through Siouxland, he remembered that conversation.
“I couldn’t get that guy out of my head,” Hanson said. “It was because he was my age, he had kids my age, he liked the same things that I did. The only difference was, he didn’t care about God.”
Originally from Whiting, Iowa, Hanson attended Briar Cliff University for two years, studying communications and playing basketball before he decided he wanted to work in a church.
Hanson moved away from home to study ministry at Ozark Christian College and served at a church in Kansas for a while. He and his family weren’t expecting to come back, but Hanson said it was conversations like the one in the urinal that led him to want to start Rallypoint Church in Sergeant Bluff.
“The more and more we kept coming back here to visit family and stuff, my wife and I just felt like people my age didn’t care about God, or what he was doing in their lives,” Hanson said. “We wanted to reach people who didn’t like church. We wanted to see new people care about God.”
Hanson wanted Rallypoint to be non-denominational for a focus on “no book but the Bible, and no creed but Christ.”
The church currently holds services in the Sergeant Bluff Community Center. Their official first service will be at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 9.
Hanson said he loves the community center and the church can meet anywhere. Yet, he says they’re still looking for a permanent space for Rallypoint.
“My philosophy is that the church is not the building, it’s the people,” he said. “Eventually, we want our own space so we can permanently be there and not have to set up and tear down. Eventually, we’d love to do that, but this is smart and a good way to get started.”
Joel Palmquist, a finance manager from Omaha, was a youth minister when Hanson was in high school in Whiting and remembers Hanson as a youth group kid. They stayed in touch over the years, and when Hanson came to him with the idea of Rallypoint, Palmquist wanted to get involved.
He said he plans to make the drive from Omaha once or twice a month to help with the worship team, or to speak in sermons.
“Drew has an amazing passion for people, and I’m really excited about what God can do in Siouxland,” Palmquist said. “Rallypoint is going to be much different than what people think church is. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere for people where they can get to know God better and experience relationships in their community.”
Jon Nagel, a volunteer from Sioux Falls, met Hanson through the church in Kansas and said the mission is to rally around Jesus.
“We want people to feel at home, feel comfortable with being there and not make it feel like it’s a super religious setting but just be comfortable, feel open and not a lot of pressure,” Nagel said. “The mission is to plant seeds and get as many people to salvation as possible, which is important everywhere.”