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March 2, 2012 - 

While facing its own uncertain future, the congregation of Montello Park Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich., is hosting a bilingual church plant, La Casa de Mi Padre (My Father’s House), offering the fledgling congregation a future of its own.

Pastors José Durán and Dan Roels

“We didn’t know as we struggled through some heart-rending conversations that God was getting ready to drop a church plant in our collective lap,” said Dan Roels, pastor of Montello Park.

With declining membership and questions about long-term sustainability, the church began last year to talk honestly about its future, including looking for new ways to partner with other ministries.

“We’re very excited,” said José Durán, pastor of La Casa de Mi Padre, a church plant sponsored by the Reformed Church in America.

The group held its first service at Montello Park on December 18. Since then, 24 people have given their lives to Christ, including a former gang leader and his extended family. “I really like to be working like this, breaking barriers, in the sense that this is not about denominations. It’s about kingdom mentality,” Durán said.

Hosting a church plant was not on Montello Park’s radar. But when the church was contacted to serve as a site for a bilingual vacation Bible school program led by Durán last summer, they agreed. From there, talk of a more lasting partnership began.

In October, the congregation voted nearly unanimously to host the church plant. “Seeing La Casa healthy is part of what we see God asking us to do,” Roels said.

What that will look like as time goes by remains to be seen. But what is certain, he said, is that “however long [our] future is, La Casa will be a part of Montello’s legacy.”

As other CRC congregations face similar challenges, Roels said, “Being honest about your current reality prepares you to embrace God’s future in ways you probably don’t anticipate. . . . When a church can courageously keep the kingdom mission central, it can boast in what Christ continues to do despite the challenges.”

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