Church Plant Blooms During First Three Years

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When Tom Bouma walked into inSpirit Christian Reformed Church for the first time two years ago, he knew something was different.

“The first time I went there, I was stuck,” he said. “I’ve been going there ever since. It felt like home to me.”

Bouma had been away from the church for several years until a friend recommended he try inSpirit, a young church plant in Byron Center, Mich.

“It doesn’t matter what you wear or who you are,” he said. “You feel like part of the family there. It’s my second home.”

Bouma isn’t alone. Over inSpirit’s three-year history, attendance has grown from 185 to over 300. The facility space has doubled, and the church welcomes up to 30 visitors each week.

“We thought it was going to be mostly younger people, but we have a wide age group,” said Joy Dornbos, a member of the inSpirit leadership team. “We’ve got families, people hurt by other churches, older people, people through our mission outreach . . . it’s a diverse body.”

Dornbos said success comes from building relationships.

“The key to success is trying to involve everyone in a small group,” she said. “You experience the good times and the bad times. You’re there to support each other.”

Randy Ledeboer, pastor of inSpirit, embraces an organic leadership model. “We don’t have any programs,” he said. “We empower people to pursue their passions.”

The key is simplicity, he said. “We have a simple strategy: gather, grow, go. I preach the value and vision twice a year.”

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley.