The property at 6555 West College Drive in Palos Heights, Ill., home to the media outreach ministry of the Christian Reformed Church for more than 40 years, was sold to adjacent Trinity Christian College in December. The sale is part of the relocation of Back to God Ministries International to the CRC denominational offices in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Approved by the BTGMI board last February, the move got underway in June 2017 with two staff members relocating and new hires starting work in the Grand Rapids offices. The ministry expects to complete the transition this spring.
“The BTGMI offices in Palos Heights are scheduled to close Friday, March 2, 2018. After that date, we'll finish moving equipment and tidying up before transferring ownership of the property to Trinity Christian College on April 2,” said Kurt Selles, director of BTGMI. The original decision to initiate the move came after a year-and-a-half study concluding that it would be the right step for the ministry’s strategic plan. “Moving the ministry to the CRC headquarters will help us achieve our stated goal of integrating our outreach with the efforts of our sister ministries,” Selles said.
The flagship radio program The Back to God Hour and television programs such as Faith 20 and Primary Focus, as well as other programs in six languages, were created in the Palos Heights recording and editing studios. Today most indigenous-language programming is created in the countries where those languages are predominant. Production space needs are different with BTGMI having transitioned from radio broadcasting to digital production for online distribution and web publishing.
In addition to BTGMI offices now in Grand Rapids, North American staff of the ministry work from the CRC denominational office in Burlington, Ont., and from remote offices in Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. Contributors to the ministry include 186 international staff members in 24 countries around the world.
The purchase price for the property has not been disclosed, but BTGMI says proceeds from the sale are being used to offset the cost of the move and will be earmarked for specific ministry needs, including building a new studio in the Grand Rapids denominational building. Work on that studio has already begun and is expected to be completed by March 2018. A large part of the balance will be designated for specific BTGMI outreach projects. “The COD (Council of Delegates) subcommittee will help make the final decisions regarding the use of these funds in ways that reflect the legacy of the ministries previously launched from that building,” Selles said.
Trinity Christian College says plans are being drafted for how the college will use the new space. The college and its Board of Trustees feel extremely blessed with the additional space that the building provides and the flexibility it adds to the campus for improved student service and educational programming, said Rick Riddering, vice president for enrollment at Trinity.