FAQs about our relationship with Beechwood Reformed
After months of careful thought, honest discussion and God’s leading, we are excited to enter into a relationship with Beechwood Reformed Church. Beechwood is located in Holland, Michigan; however, their work and ministry has spread beyond that city. They have begun three Hispanic church plants: one in Holland, the second in Standale and the third in Wyoming. For some time have been considering starting a fourth plant in Grand Rapids. When we learned of this, a conversation began about what it would look like to share space.
We hope that this FAQ will provide some clarity on what this relationship will mean and how we think God may use it for the continued advancement of the Kingdom.
What will the relationship between the Branch and Beechwood look like?
As members of one Body, we believed that it was possible to have more than a tenant/landlord relationship with Beechwood. And so we began discussing with them what a relationship rooted in mutual trust, respect and commitment would look like. Our conversation was incredibly fruitful. Together, we have outlined a covenant — a written expression of the commitments we will be making to each other, as well as the details of how we will share the building. This covenant relationship is based on the commitment that each church will work to help the other succeed in its mission and calling. We are excited to enter into this kind of a relationship together.
Who will own the building?
Just as the building was given to use two years ago by New Life, we will be giving the building to Beechwood. By taking ownership, Beechwood will have a place out of which they can launch another church. And, as owners they will also take responsibility for the repairs that the building needs.
Why would the Branch choose to give away the building?
There are three reasons that led us to this decision. First, we believed that this was a clear opportunity for follow Christ’s example — being generous with what we’ve been giving.
Second, we honestly assessed the costs of owning a building. Not only does ownership require a regularly monetary investment, but valuable time, energy and thought must also be given. In many cases, a church is right to make these investments, given how they use their building; but for the Branch, the investment required did not match our limited use of the building. This leads to the final point.
Third, owning a building is not central to the Branch’s values and strategy. From the beginning, the overwhelming majority of our ministry has occurred outside of the church’s walls — and we believe this will continue. Because a building does not play a key role in living out our calling — we have been free to explore other options, including giving the building away and becoming renters.
What does all of this mean for New Life?
One of the first issues we considered in making this decision was how a relationship with Beechwood would impact New Life. Beechwood has been most gracious in ensuring that New Life will have the space and time they need to continue to worship as a congregation. This means that New Life will continue to meet at the building rent-free, worshipping at their current worship time.
It is also important to note that New Life is in the process of considering when they may disband as a congregation. This has been a decision they have been considering for some time. When a date is set, we will diligently look for ways to remember and celebrate all of the good work this faithful congregation has done. Stay tuned!
When will this new church plant begin worshipping?
The earliest a new plant would likely begin weekly worship is sometime this spring. However, it is more likely that it will be late summer or the fall. There are a number of steps that Beechwood will need to complete (securing funding, hiring a lead pastor) before the date is known.
What is this new church plant going to look like?
Beechwood is still determining the details – but it looks likely that this new church will be a Spanish-speaking Hispanic plant reaching out to the growing and transitory Latino community on the SE side of GR. Its music and ministry will reflect the cultures of the people it is reaching out to. We look forward to supporting this new church’s work.
Will the Branch and the new church plant share any forms of ministry together?
We will certainly be open to how God may weave our two ministries together in the coming years. One thing is for sure: in 2013 the Branch will be taking intentional steps to help this new church get off the ground. We are looking forward to be used by God to help something new begin!
Will our covenant with Beechwood impact the time that we gather on Sundays?
Yes and no. In 2013, the Branch will continue to worship at 11am. New Life will also continue at its current time of 9:30, and the earliest time a new church will begin worshipping is 12:45pm.
In 2014, the Branch will move its worship time a little earlier. It is likely that we will worship at 10am, but this detail will be determined as we move closer to 2014 (we have agreed in our covenant that the earliest the Branch will worship is 10am with the new plant worshipping no earlier than 11:45am).
What will the Branch pay in rent?
The Branch will pay $800 in rent per month. Currently, we spend roughly $1900/month on building maintenance and repair.
When will repairs begin on the building?
The flat roof will be first on the list and will be repaired as soon as the weather is warm enough. It will be up to Beechwood to determine the timeline for the other repairs.