From the beginning, the Branch has been a story of unexpected twists and turns.
It began in 2004 with two friends and a coffee shop in Holland, Michigan. Every Friday they would get together to catch up on life, share dreams and ask questions. How does the Church live out its calling in America today? What role are we to play as pastors? What is the theological impetus for….(blah blah blah). Looking back, it was the perfect environment for the ideas and dreams of a new church to emerge — but at the time, Andy and Chris were largely oblivious (no surprise, really). They loved talking about this stuff — but neither had any plans of starting a church, let alone doing it together.
Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, a church on the southeast side of the city — New Life Reformed Church — was asking questions too. What did their future hold? What was the direction God wanted them to go? Again, looking back, one can see how the environment was right for New Life to choose radical generosity. But at the time, no one at New Life had any plans to let a new church start in their building.
And yet, here we are. All these years later, the Branch exists because a whole host of people were willing to let God take their lives in a new direction.
Today, the Branch continues to be guided down new roads. We chose to give away our building (trust us…no one had that on their radar) in order to enter into a partnership with Comunidad Cristiana de Grand Rapids, a new Hispanic church that started in the building in 2014. We’ve been privileged to join with other local churches, businesses and associations to form the Alger Heights Collaborative – a nonprofit that works to better the neighborhoods of Alger Heights and Garfield Park.
Letting God guide you down unexpected paths can feel risky, but our story reminds us that there’s nothing more certain than God’s faithfulness and provision.