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Urban Church Planter Finds Christian Ed a Selling Point

Christian Reformed church planter Jeff Hough is not shy about promoting Christian day school education. Hough said he talks about Christian education in worship services because “it’s part of Reformed doctrine; it’s in our DNA of living.”

Hough is pastor of Angel Community Christian Reformed Church in Muskegon, Mich., a church plant sponsored by Christian Reformed Home Missions. He said he continues a good relationship with the public schools in the area but points out to parents, “You’re sending your children every day where Christ isn’t welcome.”

Because of a mutually supportive relationship between his congregation and Muskegon Christian School, families from Angel Community can have their children receive Christian education, even though many of the families have low incomes.

The program, called Covenant Kids, came about from a discussion between Dan De Kam, principal of Muskegon Christian School, and Hough.

Angel Community pays $300 for each of its four students who attend Muskegon Christian. The school board finds donors who agree to cover the rest of the tuition cost through grade 12. “The church is using Christian education as a selling point,” said De Kam.

Ben Becksvoort, Home Missions’ regional director in the area, said the program works because of the strong relationship between the church and the school. “The leaders are on the same page,” he said.

In Angel Community’s urban setting, speaking of the advantages of Christian education is a positive, Hough said. “[Parents] see the privilege and value of a private education.”

Connie Lewis’s seventh-grade son, Omari, attends Muskegon Christian, which has a 20-25 percent ethnic-minority population. He said it was an adjustment coming from an all black school but that having the funding in place was “a blessing from above.”

“This is just the beginning,” Hough stresses. “The African American people are following the process that others in the Reformed doctrine took generations ago.”

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