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Belonging to Christ, Belonging Together







In our community, we are committed to creating spaces where every person who walks through our doors can be genuinely seen, deeply known, and immensely valued - because this is how God loves us. We know that our desire for community is good and God-given, as God himself experiences this community in the Trinity. We were not intended to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Scripture uses the image of adoption to depict how we are given belonging in Christ; we are intentionally enfolded into God’s family (Romans 8:14-17). Our vision is that we would be a diverse, vibrant body of believers that reflect the Kingdom. From the belonging we feel in Christ, it is our desire to invite others into our family. We believe that a sense of real belonging is an extension of the gospel: a place where grace (Romans 12:9-10, John 1:16), forgiveness (Colossians 3:12-15, 1 Peter 1:22), support (2 Corinthians 12:25-27, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12), accountability (Proverbs 27:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Galatians 6:2), personal healing (James 5:16) and the very presence of God can be experienced (Matthew 18:20). We are committed to creating spaces of real belonging for all ages that reach far beyond our Sunday services for every person in our church (1 Thessalonians 2:8).


We unwaveringly believe the good news of Jesus Christ to be the Truth. We believe that the human condition is totally broken by sin since the fall, and that we fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is only one repair for the human condition: in the greatest act of love, God sent his son Jesus to die on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16-17). This is the gospel: through Jesus Christ alone we are liberated from sin to live eternally (1 John 5:11). Through the Spirit’s work in us and through the gift of faith, we repent from our broken way of doing things (Luke 5:31-32) to live a life of fullness in Christ (John 10:10-11). Our chief purpose is to glorify God for what he has done for us through his Son.

We believe the gospel is central to the identity of our community - that if the gospel isn’t first in our lives, then First Grand Haven isn’t alive. The gospel is the lens through which we see our world; it gives us hope and joy in dire circumstances (Romans 5:5), meaning in what seems meaningless (Romans 8:28), and the redemption of what is broken (Isaiah 61, Romans 5:2-5). Because of this, our community is deeply rooted in Scripture and prayer (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Thes. 5:17). We also invite and desire questions because through the Holy Spirit God reveals Truth to those who seek Him (Matt 7:7-12; Hebrews 4:12-13). We are driven to share the radical message of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ with each other, with our community, and the world (Matt 28:19-20).


The result of the radical message of the Gospel and the belonging that we experience through Christ is transformation. When we understand the implication of the Gospel in our lives, we begin to look different. In Christ our once broken relationship with God has been restored, and this relationship changes us. Scripture describes this change as a rebirth (John 3:1-21). Yet, transformation is not a one time event. God is constantly molding us into the image of Christ (1 Cor 11:1). We approach others with a posture of humility (Ephesians 4:1-16) and keep an open-mindset as God breaks down our own preconceived notions and misconceptions of the world (Romans 12:1-2). We recognize our own inadequacies and inability to know everything (Romans 12:3) and seek that God would continue to transform us. We know that perfection is not possible, and it is not our goal. Our desire is to be continually transformed and renewed into the likeness of Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit.

We live with a Kingdom mindset, recognizing that we aren’t promised a comfortable life; living our faith requires sacrifice (Philippians 3:7-9). But as we lean into the tensions and trials of this life, we see how God creates beauty from ashes (Galatians 6:9). In Christ, we find deep joy regardless of our circumstances (James 1:2-4). For while we live in the world, we live confidently knowing our citizenship lies in heaven (Phil 3:20-21), and we remain confident that God’s purposes are good (Psalm 27:13-14).

As a community, we won’t be stagnant with the hope that we have. Therefore, we will be intentional to share that hope (Philippians 2:2-4, 1 Peter 3:15). Our own transformation becomes a witness to the power and the Truth of the gospel to those around us (1 Thessalonians 1:2-10). We pray that restoration and redemption would spill out from the walls of this church, into our neighborhood, and throughout the world (Matt 28:16-20). And we will not settle until the Kingdom of God is complete (Acts 1:8, 1 Timothy 2:3-4).


As an outpouring of the internal transformation and the joy we experience through Christ, we develop a posture of grateful service. Not as a means to earn God’s favor, but as a way to thank Him for what He has done in our lives and direct others back towards Him (Ephesians 2:8-10). Just as Christ gave His life for us, we generously give our time, talents, and resources to expand the Kingdom of God. As a church, we prayerfully consider how to steward the unique gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-14) that each individual has been blessed with to their fullest potential, to help meet the needs of our neighbors. We desire to be a community that speaks life, love and truth to others (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and to have a culture of encouragement, trust and accountability (Hebrews 10:24-25). We work to develop new generations of leaders, to extend invitations into further growth, and to create new spaces for others to feel seen, known and loved by their Creator.


In the year 1855, five years before Mr. Lincoln became President of the United States, four Dutch immigrant families living in Grand Haven began to gather in each other’s homes to worship their Lord and Savior. They came to America in some measure to seek more religious freedom than they knew in the Netherlands; however, they also came seeking a more prosperous way of life. They wanted the freedom to use all of their talents, to worship in the way they chose without government interference, to train their children in the way they decided, and to escape the burdensome social stratification of 19th century Dutch society. They wanted a new life.

We, the heirs of First Church’s history, share many of those same aspirations. We too want to use all of our gifts to the glory of God. We too want and cherish the freedoms we have for worship. We too want to be free from class, gender, and racial prejudices. We too want a new life. We want a life that is rooted and growing in Christ.

Those four original families probably never imagined the congregation that First Church has become. They did, however, set us in a spiritual context that emphasized faith in the one “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) With our faith rooted and growing in Christ, we may have the greatest aspirations for the future of First Christian Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. To God be the glory for the things he has done!



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