Tag Archive for: community

Madison Ave MC


We will NOT be meeting this Thursday, Nov 27.   Have a great Thanksgiving and we’ll see you next week for our usual potluck dinner.  We will also NOT be meeting on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

Missional Communities – MCs


You’re invited!

An invitation that is open to everyone — every week.

It’s an invitation to family.

Over the last couple of years you may have heard us talk about Missional Communities (MCs) and you may have wondered what they’re about. In the simplest terms, MCs are ‘extended families’ locking arms around a common mission. They are a place where relationships can form — the kind of relationships that fuel us to be God’s light and hope to a dark and broken world.

We currently have one MC at the Branch — and you are invited, any time. You can come once and check it out — or come once a month — or every week.  There’s no attendance requirements — just an invitation to come as you’re able.  We plan to have more in the future.

Each MC will in many ways look different from one another — with unique missions and distinct rhythms, but at their core they are the same: extended families with a common purpose.

Here’s some details:

Madison St. MC

  • When: every Thursday evening, 5:30pm-7pm (come when you can)
  • What: Every week we share a potluck dinner.  Most weeks we practice a spiritual discipline with adults and kids.  We are also sponsoring a refugee family together.  We devote some Thursdays to these relationships as well as other times during the week.
  • Where: 2020 Madison Ave. SE
  • Questions? Contact Chris at chris@thebranchonline.org
A few commonly asked questions about Missional Communities:
1) Who’s invited to a MC?
Everyone.  We can’t say that enough.  You.  Your family.  Your friends.  Your neighbors.  Your coworkers.  Anyone who you think would be blessed to be a part of an extended family pursuing a common purpose together.
2) Do I have to be able to commit to come every week in order to participate?
Not at all.  We’d love for you to be there every week, but we know that life and sickness and schedules may mean that you miss some weeks.  That’s ok.  Come a couple times a month — or a couple times a year — honestly, we’ll be glad to see you whenever you’re able to make it.
3) What happens if I’m having one those weeks and can’t bring anything to share at dinner?
Come. 🙂  Really.  We want to see you, regardless of whether you have food with you or not.
4) Do I have to come at the ‘official’ start time?
Nope – come whenever you can.  Let’s say a MC starts at 5:30, but you can’t make it until 6 or 6:30 – it’s no problem.  You’re welcome to come any time — even if it’s just stopping in for a few minutes.

Joint service with Alas – Nov 9 @ 11:30

We’re really excited to share in worship together!  Sunday, Nov 9 @ 11:30 The Branch and Alas will be enjoying a joint service – shared worship, shared teaching, shared celebration!  We invite you to celebrate and join us afterwards for some light refreshment.



Camping Trip

Ah….the great outdoors!

We’re planning a camping outing Sept. 9-11 at Wabasis Lake Campground.  Here is their website: http://www.accesskent.com/CultureLeisureAndTransit/Parks/campground.htm

Electric/water sites cost $29/night (plus a $5 reservation fee).  Some full hook-up sites are currently available for $35/night.  Payments to hold sites are due by August 1st.  Please email camping@thebranchonline.org.

meal night

There are few things more important to us than building relationships and sharing life.  And that’s why meal nights have been a part of our routine from the beginning.  Join us March 11th at the Bergman’s home for a relaxed evening of food and conversation.  No agenda or set plan — just an opportunity to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships.

Come anytime after 6PM (whenever your schedule allows).  You’re welcome to bring something to pass, although it’s not required.  Click here for a map.

Meal Night – February 5th

When people sit around a table and share food together something happens.   Laughs are shared.  Appetites are satisfied.  Relationships begin.  That’s why we regularly gather together for ‘meal nights’: a simple evening of food and conversation.

Our next gathering is Friday, February 5th at the Navis’ home.  For a map, click here. It all starts at 6PM, but come as your schedule allows — stay for three hours or five minutes.  We hope to see you!

30 Days to Live


What if you learned you had just 30 days to live? How would your life be different? Is it possible to make the most of every day, right now?

January 17: Living in the Moment

January 24: Focusing On What Matters

January 31: Leaving a Godly Legacy

February 7: Fighting for Peace

SMALL GROUPS will be a central part of this series — helping the Scripture move from our head to our heart. So whether you’re new to the Branch or a long-timer, we hope you’ll dive in. Everyone is invited.

These short-term small groups will begin meeting the week of January 17, and will gather for five consecutive weeks.  If you’re interested in joining a group, click on the “Contact Us” tab at the top of the page and put “30 Days to Live SG” in the subject line. Also, let us know what group you’d prefer joining. It’s that simple. We’ll e-mail you details.

Sunday evening: couples (with or without kids)

Sunday evening: women’s group

Sunday evening: singles & couples (i.e. everyone!)

Tuesday morning: men’s group

Wednesday evening: men’s group

To find out more about what Sunday mornings look like, click here.

Meal Night: January 22nd

meal-nightOne of our strongest desires and values at the Branch is to see people connected in meaningful, life-giving relationships. Meal nights are one of the ways that we live out this value. As we gather for a meal, names are learned, stories are shared and relationships are deepened.

Our next gathering is Friday, January 22, 6:00PM. Come whenever you’re able – stay for 5 minutes or three hours.  For a map to the Stoke’s home, click here:

3576 Arbor Chase Ct.
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Hope to see you there (oh….and bring a sled 🙂

Small Groups

1133109_11968610How do we stay connected to God and others in our fast-paced world? Where do we find strength and encouragement? Who will help us stay focused on the things that matter: transformation, mission,and love? Small groups are one of the places at the Branch where you’ll find people committed to these very things. And while each group is unique, each are pursuing the same hope and dream: to better love God, love others and follow Jesus.If you’re interested in joining a group, click on the “contact” link at the very top of this page and we’ll get in touch pronto.

Community :: Water

waterWe are using water as a metaphor for community and here’s why… with water we are baptized into community. Water gives life just as it cleanses and renews. Together we form streams of living water and offer love and hope to a spiritually thirsty world.

The above description is summary on the info cards that we’ve printed up, but the symbolism goes much deeper. There is a theme that runs throughout God’s word about ‘living water’ or, the ‘river of life’. Jesus references it when he tells the women at the well about ’springs of living water’. Paul speaks of it when he talks about baptism in his epistles.  Erwin Mcmanus describes the way that baptism forms community in this way:

Every believer passes through the waters and becomes a part of the river of life. Alone, you are only standing in a puddle. Together we become an oasis where those searching for genuine love and acceptance can come and drink deeply.

Almost everyone we’ve ever met has a desire to connect on a spiritual level with something larger then himself or herself. Most are unable to articulate how or why but they feel it in their bones. It’s just the way we we’re created. However, our culture is constantly telling us that the material world (the world that we can see and touch and feel) is all there is to life. Culture is telling you and I that we are alone and we best get used to it and learn how to cope. This makes for a whole lot of people wandering and groping in a spiritual desert. They have a deep thirst for spiritual connection but find nothing to drink.

Jesus said that if we ask, he would create in us a spring of living water welling up to eternal life. The community that follows Jesus is the oasis of God. Together, we are the place of love where a thirsty world can come and drink deeply.