Our History


The Sioux Falls Area Strategy Committee determines that there will be a need for a new Lutheran congregation in Sioux Falls.

March 1996
At the urging of Sioux Falls area congregations, the South Dakota Synod, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Division for Outreach, ELCA’s Mission Investment Fund purchases 11 acres of land near 69th Street and Western Avenue for $200,000.

With the acceleration of population growth in the area, and prayer and financial support from neighboring congregations, Lutheran leaders decide to launch a new mission in 2000.   

June 2000
Pastor Jeff Eisele is appointed by the ELCA and called by the South Dakota Synod to serve as mission developer of the south side mission. Pastor Jeff, Katherine, Ben and Samuel Eisele move to Sioux Falls     from Birchwood, Wisconsin.   

July 2000
The new mission is named Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church.   

August 2000
Pastor Eisele begins ringing doorbells on the south side of Sioux Falls to survey the community, and to invite people to consider becoming part of a new mission church.   

September-October, 2000
Eighteen people participate in a six-week Bible study entitled “God’s Vision for God’s People.”   

December 3, 2000
Spirit of Joy holds its first worship service in the Good Samaritan Society’s Jerstad Center, the place the congregation will call home for the next 5 years.

April 29, 2001
First Charter Sunday - 65 people sign our charter.   

January 2002
Congregation charter opened for a third time. Began sponsoring of and partnership with C. John Hildebrand, ELCA missionary in El Salvador.   

November 3, 2002
Spirit of Joy formally organizes as a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 144 people having signed the charter. Congregation adopts a constitution and budget, elects lay leadership and calls Jeff Eisele to serve as pastor.   

March-April, 2004
Spirit of Joy conducts “Forward in Faith, Growing to Serve” capital campaign to raise money for its first mission center. Initial pledges top $300,000 and will eventually climb to $500,000.   

April 24, 2005
Spirit of Joy breaks ground for the future mission center by praying, singing, and pulling a plow together across the building site.   

February 12, 2006
Spirit of Joy dedicates its mission center to the glory of God, and finds new ways in its new space to carry out its mission of inviting, growing, and serving.   

February 2006-September 2008
Spirit of Joy hires Daryl Sopko to work as the full time Director of Operations and Katherine Eisele to work part time as Director of Family and Adult Faith Formation. Katherine is commissioned as an Associate in Ministry in April 2012.   

September 14, 2008
Spirit of Joy dedicates the Family Life Center. 

April 2011
Spirit of Joy calls Pastor Rebecca Wold Freeman to serve as part time pastor of congregation connections.

September 2013
Spirit of Joy hires Amy Orr as full-time Office Manager.

May 2014
Spirit of Joy hires Mike Haddican as Director of Children and Youth Ministries.