Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar. Psalm 51:17, 18
In God’s good pleasure, He continues to build His church—the New Testament Zion. He does this work through the evangelistic call of the gospel to “every nation, tongue and tribe,” but also through the perpetuation of covenant seed in established churches. On Wednesday, February 8, God was pleased to continue building His visible church on earth through the organization of a new Protestant Reformed congregation—Zion PRC in Jenison, Michigan. This new congregation is the daughter of Faith PRC, a church that God has graciously provided with much internal growth over the past several years.
In light of its growing membership, the Council of Faith appointed a long range planning committee in 2015 to determine whether it would be better to expand its facilities or start a daughter congregation. The committee concluded that establishment of a daughter congregation was a more suitable route and, through a questionnaire to the Faith congregation in February 2016, demonstrated that sufficient members were willing to join this group. When the number of committed persons reached the equivalent of forty families in October, the Council of Faith approved their request to begin meeting for worship at Heritage Christian School in Hudsonville. At the behest of Faith, Classis East approved the plan to organize this daughter congregation as Zion PRC at its January 2017 meeting.
The organization service for a new church is a uniquely memorable event for both mother and daughter congregations. It is an occasion for joy and celebration, but it also bears an element of sadness as fellow church members bid one another goodbye with God’s blessing while parting ways. What transcends any feelings of sorrow, however, is the knowledge that fellow saints—regardless of where they worship—are bound together by the divine presence of Christ in His Holy Spirit. This truth was brought to the fore in Rev. Clayton Spronk’s address to both congregations during Zion’s organization service, an address based on. In describing the activities and life of a church filled with the Spirit, Rev. Spronk exhorted both Zion and Faith to demonstrate the boldness and unity that characterized the early apostolic church. The same Spirit that enabled growth of the church two millennia ago still dwells in the PRC today, enabling the establishment of new congregations and filling her members with the desire faithfully to serve their risen Lord.
Following the worship service, Rev. Spronk read through the list of charter members at Zion, which numbered 104 confessing members and 115 baptized children, comprising 48 families. (The congregation also includes two infants who will be baptized in the coming months, Lord willing). From this group of believers four men were chosen as elders and three as deacons to form the first Council. Until such a time that God provides the new congregation with its own pastor, worship will be led by Rev. James Slopsema in the morning and by Classical and seminary appointees in the evening. Zion PRC continues to meet for worship at Heritage Christian School, and will be seeking to purchase or construct a church building within the Jenison area in coming months.
As the daughter congregation of Faith PRC, the members of Zion extend heartfelt thanks to their mother congregation and its members for providing a spiritual home in which to grow in knowledge and faith. Through this nurturing process, a new manifestation of Christ’s bride has been prepared to take up her work in building another household of faith within the PRC. Together we give thanks for the extended family of Christ found in the PRC, and look forward to taking an active role in witnessing to the glory of our precious Lord!