The struggles people in Comstock, Mich., face on a daily basis aren’t unique: economic hardships and schools fighting to survive on limited resources.
And large portion of the city is un-churched in this small-town environment where many teenagers abuse drugs and alcohol.
But when Rev. Ben Hulst discovered that churches in his community weren’t seeking to be part of the solution, he did the only thing that made sense.
He brought his fellow pastors together.
Over the past year, Hulst, pastor of Comstock Christian Reformed Church, and other local pastors have gathered a day each month for prayer, encouraging one another to allow congregations stretched across several denominations to become part of the equation for change.
“The church wasn’t coming together to have a voice,” Hulst said. “That unity was needed.”
A community worship service at the local high school drew more than 350 Christians from eight different congregations in Comstock, Mich.
Since then the pastors’ efforts have gotten a full-time Youth for Christ worker into the public schools and have organized a community worship service, drawing 350-400 Christians from the community.
While Hulst is excited about the camaraderie that’s been established, he has begun to shift his focus to the future.
It’s been 35 years since a joint effort among churches helped to develop Comstock’s community center.
But now, with a support base built between eight churches ranging from the Reformed tradition to the Pentecostal, Hulst is eager to discover what’s next.
“We’re excited to see what God is going to do in this movement,” Hulst says. “Now that we have this excitement, we don’t want to allow it to be lost.”