James: faith here and now

Faith isn’t just about the future.  It’s not something we have in order to punch a ticket to heaven.  In fact, Jesus is clear: faith is about the here and now – a gift meant to impact every aspect of today.

With that in mind, we turn to James — an ancient and relevant book with deep insight about how faith gets practiced in the ordinary stuff of life. Join us as we explore this book together.

January 3 – Trial and Joy

January 10 – Blessings and Curses

January 17 – Word and Deed

January 24 – False and True Wisdom

January 31 – Judgement and Mercy

February 7 – Self-Reliance and Prayer

Christmas Eve – 5pm

Tonight we celebrate the unlikely story of God coming to dwell with us from 5-6pm.  Together we’ll mark this unending, unconquerable gift of Light through song and candle lighting.  Our kids are also leading the way in giving their gifts through drama, choir, and dance.  Bring the family — bring your neighbor — bring the kids.  We hope to see you!

Eat Rice and Beans

Link. Love. Lose.  Changing the world takes nothing less.

But living this way requires courage and practice.  To help all of us grow, we’re inviting you to change your diet this week and eat beans and rice.  Click here to watch a short video explaining more.

You can also read more about our denomination’s effort to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe by clicking here.

Kids Games at the KROC

Welcome to Kids Games!

We are joining with several community organizations to put on Kids’ Games.  It’s a fantastic way to reach youth in our community in a positive way.

The week of June 15-19, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm, we will join Alger Park CRC, Seymour CRC, St. Luke AME, Tabernacle Church, Alger Middle School, Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, and the KROC Center, to host Kids’ Games at the KROC Center.

Because we are able to host this at the KROC, we feel participation will be very high.  Enrollment is capped at 300 entering K-4th graders as we do have limited space and want to provide adequate volunteer support.

There are many volunteers needed to make this run smoothly, so the kids have a wonderful week of learning and feeling God in their lives in a fun and safe environment.  Opportunities for volunteering include:

  • Small Group Leaders – 6 leaders / grade week long commitment,  18yrs +
  • Small Group Helper – 6 helpers / grade week long commitment, 12 yrs+
  • Registration Helper – 15 people, June 15 only
  • Bible Drama Helper – 15 people
  • Experiential Sport/Game Leader – 2 people week long commitment, 18yrs+
  • Experiential Sport/Games Helper – 4 people week long commitment, 12 yrs+
  • Educational Segment Leader – 2 people week long commitment,  18 yrs+
  • Educational Segment Helper – 4 people week long commitment, 12 yrs+
  • Security Team – 10 people / night
  • Snack Helper – 10 people/ night
  • Track Leader – week long commitment, 18 yrs+
  • Track Helpers – week long commitment, 12 yrs+

Tracks are multi-age activities offered for the last 45 minutes of each night.  Kids split from their small groups into their chosen track.


Volunteering will look a bit different because we are collaborating with the KROC Center.  All volunteers will need to register with the KROC (Salvation Army Volunteers ), have a background check and take the on-line “Safe from Harm” training.  Once these are complete, you will be directed to the signup genius to choose your volunteer opportunities.  If you are not able to do this on-line, please contact Julie Thomas (616 245-4115).

This opportunity will be like nothing else you do this summer.  Touching lives in our community, through God’s love, can be a beautiful and powerful thing.  We hope you will join us for a life changing week!


Ready to sign up your own kids to participate in KidsGames?  Click here.

General Information

Want more general information about the program? Check out their website http://kidsgamesregistration.com.

Create a Profile

Creating a profile on our website is simple and quick, and we’ll never give away your information.

That said, you may still be wondering why you should consider creating a profile?  Well….doing gives you access to all kinds of information about the life of the Branch.  You can join discussion groups, share ideas, receive updates, comment on posts and participate in conversations.  And here’s the best part: we’ll send you an email every day or every week (you decide on how often) that will summarize all of the activity on a particular topic or group.

For example, if you serve in our preschool room in BranchKids, you can join the Preschool group.  Once you’ve done this, anything that is posted in that group (be it a ‘lesson-learned’ or a funny story someone wants to share) will be sent directly to your email.  Of course, you can always log into the website to share your ideas and funny stories too.   But if you’re simply looking to stay updated, all the info is brought right to your inbox.

If you’re looking for a good place to start, join the “Branch-wide Info” group.  This is where we’ll be sharing all general information about the Branch.

Oh…and it may be helpful to note that some groups on the site are not public.  That’s because the information shared in that group might be personal and not ready to be broadcast across the entire internet (anyone on planet earth can create a profile).  But that doesn’t mean you can’t request an invite. Private groups are not exclusive — just a little more careful about who is able to see their information.

What is a Missional Community?

Branch MCsbranch-circle

>What is an MC?

Who is in an MC?

What about kids and MCs?

What does an MC do?

It’s a family.

At the Branch, Missional Communities (MCs) are ‘extended family’ like groups (20-50 people) that meet regularly in order to encourage and equip each other to live the kind of life Jesus lived.  When thinking about this, we often use the language of UP, IN and OUT.

UP is about our relationship to God — our identity as children of the King.  Jesus modeled an intimacy with the Father that we want to experience.  And so just as Jesus spent time with the spiritual disciplines (prayer and fasting to name two), so too will MCs spend time doing those things that bring them closer to the heart of the Father.

IN is about our relationship with each other. Jesus was always investing himself in his disciples.  They got away on retreats – ate meals together – prayed – went to synagogue – all of it building community and trust.   MCs will encourage and empower each other in ways that are ‘organized’ (every Monday night meals) and in ways that are more ‘organic’ (let’s head to the beach this Saturday and hang out).

OUT is about our relationship to the world that God so desperately loves.  We see Jesus having compassion for those others ignored and announcing the Good News to them.  Everywhere he went, heaven came to earth.   MCs follow Jesus’ lead by uniting around a common, specific mission and working to discern and proclaim the Good News in that context.