When members of Spring Lake (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church arrived for worship Nov. 13, guards met them at the church doors.
Rev. Steve Datema said he wanted to increase awareness of the persecuted church on that date, which was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.
The congregation dedicated three weeks to learning more of what persecution means for the church worldwide.
Joyce Van Beek said the Nov. 13 service was fashioned “to give people a flavor of what might be happening when churches meet secretly.”
Blankets were hung over doors and windows during the service, and members worshiped without heat or electricity and sang without instrumentation. Datema challenged church members to be ready to “risk our lives every day for what we know is the truth.”
“I never thought so much about the persecuted church,” said member Ben Stehouwer. “It was very moving,” Carol Van Dop added.
Gradus Kamps reflected about those who are daily persecuted. “Sitting in our protected churches we don’t realize it all of the time.”