The leaders of New Life Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, knew that their church was declining. So when they were asked whether they would be willing to share their building with a new congregation, they agreed. Part-time copastors Chris and Andy moved into the church’s neighborhood and began to build community with their new neighbors, inviting them into a relationship with Jesus. The community of believers that grew from this effort became The Branch (RCA).

By the time that New Life Reformed Church celebrated its final worship service in December 2013, The Branch had grown large enough to assume responsibility for all the facility expenses. In addition, a group of Nepalese immigrants had begun worshiping in the building on Sunday evenings. On the Easter following New Life’s final service, Alas Conexion (RCA) was launched for Spanish-speaking members of the community.

New Life Reformed Church left a living legacy in the Alger Park neighborhood of Grand Rapids. New generations and cultures will continue to be introduced to the gospel of Jesus Christ through their church’s generous conclusion.

This is one of a growing number of fresh start stories of new life budding out of a church that is closing. If your church is nearing the end of its life, you may want to consider a fresh start. These fresh start resources will help you assess your status, consider the options, honestly face the challenges, and begin to dream of the legacy you could leave for future generations.