The Local Church is a gathering of people who want to follow Jesus in a tangible way
We seek to be transformed by the Scriptures, love and serve the people in Grand Rapids. Our hope is modeled after Jesus' prayer, that God's will would be done in Grand Rapids as it is in Heaven. We are a church for the city. We believe the church isn't a building, but a people in a place, working and living out the Gospel each day in our lives, in our city. We gather together to open the Scriptures, pray, worship, listen to the Spirit, and experience the presence of God. It is our desire to make the Kingdom accessible to our families, friends, neighbors and entire city.
We believe Jesus changes everything. We are people committed to living out His teachings in the world. We seek to spend our strength on others and to take risks to see the Kingdom expand because we believe there is hope and life in Jesus for everyone. We're not perfect and we don’t have everything figured out, but that won’t stop us from humbly holding up the Bread of Life to a hungry world. One beggar, showing another where to find food.
We are a new church in the city, and we meet at 1601 Galbraith Ave SE Suite 304 Grand Rapids, MI 49546 on Sundays at 9 & 11AM. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, with whatever you carry, we are for you. When you’re here, you’re Local.
With God (Up)
We are committed to developing personal and corporate habits to form a growing relationship with God. We engage with formation practices that teach us how to know and love God with an emphasis on prayer, the Bible and other spiritual practices that help us discern the plans and purposes of God for our lives.
• Corporate Expression: Gathering to experience His presence weekly through prayer, praise, the word and the sacraments.
• Personal Expression: Growing in our relationship with God through reading, reflecting and responding to Scripture, prayer and spiritual practices that help us engage with Him for the purpose of knowing and living in His love.
In Community (In)
We emphasize living life as one faith family in the all-together—worship services—and the small together—local groups. True community always involves courage, authenticity and humility.
• Corporate Expression: Gathering together as part of this church to help each other live out the three aspects of Biblical community: care, challenge and celebration.
• Personal Expression: A Willingness to participate in a small(er) group with courage, authenticity and humility where the three aspects of Biblical community (care, challenge and celebration) can happen more intentionally.
On Mission (Out)
We pursue opportunities to holistically care for the needs of our world. As a local expression of the universal Church we are called to actively participate in the mission of God. Just as Christ left Heaven to spend his strength on us, we intend to spend our strength on others. We believe God measures His church not by how many we seat but by how many we send.
• Corporate Expression: To expand the Kingdom of God by developing leaders in all spheres to help plant disciple making churches in culture creating cities.
• Personal Expression: To identify the specific ways that God is calling you to spend your strength on others and begin to take steps to act in obedience to that call.
Amplify Hope + Life to all
If you have never heard the story of Jesus, or of how he brings hope and life to us all, please click here to get in touch with us. We would love to have a personal conversation with you – no strings or gimmicks attached.
We, members of the Church of Jesus Christ, from more than 150 nations, participants in the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne, praise God for his great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he has given us with himself and with each other. We are deeply stirred by what God is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures and challenged by the unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the Gospel is God’s good news for the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ’s commission to proclaim it to all mankind and to make disciples of every nation. We desire, therefore, to affirm our faith and our resolve, and to make public our covenant.
1. THE PURPOSE OF GOD
We affirm our belief in the one-eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who governs all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ’s body, and the glory of his name. We confess with shame that we have often denied our calling and failed in our mission, by becoming conformed to the world or by withdrawing from it. Yet we rejoice that even when borne by earthen vessels the gospel is still a precious treasure. To the task of making that treasure known in the power of the Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate ourselves anew.
(Isa. 40:28; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6, 18; Eph 4:12; 1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 12:2; II Cor. 4:7)
2. THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God’s word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women. For God’s revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God.
(II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16, Matt. 5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10,18)
3. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that there is only one Saviour and only one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognise that everyone has some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and people. There is no other name by which we must be saved. All men and women are perishing because of sin, but God loves everyone, not wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as “the Saviour of the world” is not to affirm that all people are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim God’s love for a world of sinners and to invite everyone to respond to him as Saviour and Lord in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ has been exalted above every other name; we long for the day when every knee shall bow to him and every tongue shall confess him Lord.
(Gal. 1:6-9;Rom. 1:18-32; I Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; II Pet. 3:9; II Thess. 1:7-9;John 4:42; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9-11)
4. THE NATURE OF EVANGELISM
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Saviour and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in the world.
(I Cor. 15:3,4; Acts 2: 32-39; John 20:21; I Cor. 1:23; II Cor. 4:5; 5:11,20; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all people. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead.
(Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9; Lev. 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; Joh. 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; II Cor. 3:18; Jas. 2:20)
6. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM
We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non-Christian society. In the Church’s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Church is at the very centre of God’s cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. But a church which preaches the cross must itself be marked by the cross. It becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things including promotion and finance. The church is the community of God’s people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology.
(John 17:18; 20:21; Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 20:27; Eph. 1:9,10; 3:9-11; Gal. 6:14,17; II Cor. 6:3,4; II Tim. 2:19-21; Phil. 1:27)
7. COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM
We affirm that the Church’s visible unity in truth is God’s purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organisational unity may take many forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the same biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness. We confess that our testimony has sometimes been marred by a sinful individualism and needless duplication. We pledge ourselves to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and mission. We urge the development of regional and functional cooperation for the furtherance of the Church’s mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for the sharing of resources and experience.
(John 17:21,23; Eph. 4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil. 1:27; John 17:11-23)
8. CHURCHES IN EVANGELISTIC PARTNERSHIP
We rejoice that a new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast disappearing. God is raising up from the younger churches a great new resource for world evangelization, and is thus demonstrating that the responsibility to evangelise belongs to the whole body of Christ. All churches should therefore be asking God and themselves what they should be doing both to reach their own area and to send missionaries to other parts of the world. A reevaluation of our missionary responsibility and role should be continuous. Thus a growing partnership of churches will develop and the universal character of Christ’s Church will be more clearly exhibited. We also thank God for agencies which labor in Bible translation, theological education, the mass media, Christian literature, evangelism, missions, church renewal and other specialist fields. They too should engage in constant self-examination to evaluate their effectiveness as part of the Church’s mission.
(Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:5; 4:15; Acts 13:1-3, I Thess. 1:6-8)
9. THE URGENCY OF THE EVANGELISTIC TASK
More than 2,700 million people, which is more than two-thirds of all humanity, have yet to be evangelised. We are ashamed that so many have been neglected; it is a standing rebuke to us and to the whole Church. There is now, however, in many parts of the world an unprecedented receptivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are convinced that this is the time for churches and para-church agencies to pray earnestly for the salvation of the unreached and to launch new efforts to achieve world evangelization. A reduction of foreign missionaries and money in an evangelised country may sometimes be necessary to facilitate the national church’s growth in self-reliance and to release resources for unevangelised areas. Missionaries should flow ever more freely from and to all six continents in a spirit of humble service. The goal should be, by all available means and at the earliest possible time, that every person will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and to receive the good news. We cannot hope to attain this goal without sacrifice. All of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism.
(John 9:4; Matt. 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-3; I Cor. 9:19-23; Mark 16:15; Isa. 58:6,7; Jas. 1:27; 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35)
10. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE
The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of churches deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because men and women are God’s creatures, some of their culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Missions have all too frequently exported with the gospel an alien culture and churches have sometimes been in bondage to culture rather than to Scripture. Christ’s evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches must seek to transform and enrich culture, all for the glory of God.
(Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen. 4:21,22; I Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 2:5-7; II Cor. 4:5)
11. EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP
We confess that we have sometimes pursued church growth at the expense of church depth, and divorced evangelism from Christian nurture. We also acknowledge that some of our missions have been too slow to equip and encourage national leaders to assume their rightful responsibilities. Yet we are committed to indigenous principles, and long that every church will have national leaders who manifest a Christian style of leadership in terms not of domination but of service. We recognise that there is a great need to improve theological education, especially for church leaders. In every nation and culture there should be an effective training programme for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, nurture and service. Such training programmes should not rely on any stereotyped methodology but should be developed by creative local initiatives according to biblical standards.
(Col. I:27,28; Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Eph. 4:11,12)
12. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the Church and frustrate its task of world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves with God’s armour and to fight this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth and prayer. For we detect the activity of our enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the Church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist Scripture and put people in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel. We acknowledge that we ourselves are not immune to worldliness of thoughts and action, that is, to a surrender to secularism. For example, although careful studies of church growth, both numerical and spiritual, are right and valuable, we have sometimes neglected them. At other times, desirous to ensure a response to the gospel, we have compromised our message, manipulated our hearers through pressure techniques, and become unduly preoccupied with statistics or even dishonest in our use of them. All this is worldly. The Church must be in the world; the world must not be in the Church.
(Eph. 6:12; II Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:11,13-18; II Cor. 10:3-5; I John 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal. 1:6-9; II Cor. 2:17; 4:2; John 17:15)
13. FREEDOM AND PERSECUTION
It is the God-appointed duty of every government to secure conditions of peace, justice and liberty in which the Church may obey God, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the gospel without interference. We therefore pray for the leaders of nations and call upon them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practise and propagate religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for all who have been unjustly imprisoned, and especially for those who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for their freedom. At the same time we refuse to be intimidated by their fate. God helping us, we too will seek to stand against injustice and to remain faithful to the gospel, whatever the cost. We do not forget the warnings of Jesus that persecution is inevitable.
(I Tim. 1:1-4, Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb. 13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21)
14. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are all his work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is not a missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole church become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice.
(I Cor. 2:4; John 15:26;27; 16:8-11; I Cor. 12:3; John 3:6-8; II Cor. 3:18; John 7:37-39; I Thess. 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal. 5:22,23; I Cor. 12:4-31; Rom. 12:3-8)
15. THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ’s ascension and return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the end. We also remember his warning that false Christs and false prophets will arise as precursors of the final Antichrist. We therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that people can ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever. Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of people in joyful submission to his authority over the whole of our lives.
(Mark 14:62; Heb. 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt. 28:20; Mark 13:21-23; 1 John 2:18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:1-5; II Pet. 3:13; Matt. 28:18)
Therefore, in the light of this our faith and our resolve, we enter into a solemn covenant with God and with each other, to pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world. We call upon others to join us. May God help us by his grace and for his glory to be faithful to this our covenant! Amen, Alleluia!
Pastor of Worship Culture
Jordan leads the weekend gathering, and about a million other things here at The Local Church. He is passionate about crafting atmospheres of worship for people to experience the presence of God in a powerful way. He has led worship for various retreats and festivals, and has started a conference for worship teams called “The Worship Collective”.
Jordan and his wife Dana love hanging out together with their two kids, Judah and Selah. Spending time together enjoying the beach, camping, exploring the woods and watching movies are just a few things they love to do as a family.
Jordan loves music, playing the guitar, and creating art. He also loves all things tech - from video games to cell phones and is a total Apple fanboy. To his surprise, he has even become a runner and enjoys jogging to get exercise in. You can find him at the beach, eating tacos, or watching Lost.
Toran is the lead pastor here at The Local Church and he still can’t believe he gets to do what he loves for a living. Toran loves to teach, mobilize, lead teams and is passionate about raising up young leaders. He’s been a pastor for nearly 20 years, working with students, young adults, in discipleship and as a teaching pastor. Toran did his undergrad at Cedarville University, Seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and PhD at Western Michigan University.
Toran married his college crush way back in ‘98; she’s still his crush but also his best friend. He and Brenda have four very fun and crazy kids, Tayton, Isabella, Kingston and Maximilian.
Toran has had some interesting hobbies over the years, from building acoustic guitars to training police dogs, painting, woodworking and riding motorcycles on race tracks. He used to be active in a lot of sports but now he mostly complains about “straining his hammies”. His most interesting talent is that he can do the entire story of Jonah with balloon animals, seriously, ask him…
Aly is the Administrative Assistant at The Local Church. She loves working alongside people, has a special affinity for keeping things orderly and organized, and is often found with various colored Sharpies, a notepad, a coffee, or a Key Lime LaCroix.
Aly and her husband, Tom, live in Cascade with their two kids, Olyvia (Lyvi) and Cooper, and a furry Bernedoodle rescue the kiddos named Platte, after their family’s favorite place to vacation up north. They are self-proclaimed adventurous homebodies…their favorite kind of oxymoron. They enjoy spending time together vacationing up north, staying at home with a movie and giant bowl of over-buttered popcorn, or sitting around a bonfire for hours during a quintessential Michigan summer night. Aly loves cooking, photography, running (neither fast nor far), has a mild obsession with plants, and is known to paint and redo an entire room while Tom is at work.
Aly’s and her family’s lives have been radically transformed by the love of Jesus. Her prayer is for others to experience the realness of heaven colliding with earth in the everyday moments only He can orchestrate and for that to lead to them falling head over heels for Jesus.
Dave is the Associate Pastor at The Local Church, helping in all things Local. He is passionate about partnering with parents by helping them step into their role as the primary spiritual influence on their kid’s lives. Dave loves helping students participate in God’s Kingdom and realize their identity in Christ. Dave has worked with students and families for the last 10 years. He earned his undergrad degree in Youth Ministry and Bible from Cornerstone University, a Masters in Ministry Leadership from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and is currently pursing a Masters in Counseling from GRTS.
Dave lives in Zeeland with his amazing wife Megan and 3 kids (Finnegan, Leighton and Colin) and their dog Shaun Luke Skywalker. They love camping, spending time together, playing games and going to the beach. Dave has a deep love for cooking, reading, Star Wars, and all things 80’s - especially Back to the Future. Originally from Ann Arbor, Dave is a die hard University of Michigan fan. Saturday’s are spent watching Michigan football and March finds him cheering on the Wolverines to another Final Four.
Pastor of Spiritual and Local Engagement
Austin is the Pastor of Spiritual and Local Engagement at TLC. Austin joined the staff in 2018 and helps create and facilitate the ways we love and serve our city (especially our awesome partnership with Ken-O-Sha Elementary) and creates pathways to help deepen our relationship with God. Austin enjoys learning, stories, teaching, and mobilizing others. He loves the way of Jesus and is passionate about showcasing the beauty of Christ to others in our City, and inviting others to do the same. Before serving at The Local Church, Austin spent time working with churches across the city with the Luis Palau Association as part of the CityFest movement. Austin earned his undergrad degree in Ministry and Bible and Theology from Huntington University.
Austin lives in downtown Grand Rapids with his wife Olivia and they love going to the beach, exploring downtown and delicious meals with friends. Austin is a movie and music buff who also loves a good book. Originally from Indianapolis, he’s a huge basketball fan and is fanatic about the Indiana Pacers. Also while growing up in Indianapolis, Austin may have been part of a bible quizzing team…that won nationals…when he was 12…(although rumor has it that he was the weak link).
Director of Local Kids
Katie is the Director of Local Kids Birth-5th grade. Katie grew up in the Chicagoland area, fell in love with Jesus (and a camp) in Rockford, MI and thereby found herself at Calvin College where she pursued her degree in Elementary Education. Katie and her husband, Justin, won the lottery when they were set up on a blind date way back in 1996. They have been married for 19 years (best friends for longer) and have 4 kids: Addie, Colin, Caleb, and Greta.
Katie has been in and out of the classroom for the past 20 years. Her teaching experiences range from teaching preschool through middle school students. Her passion for Jesus and His people have kept her active in children, youth, and adult ministries most of her life. She has a heart for inviting and partnering with others to raise the next generation to love and follow Jesus. Katie loves to run and train for races and make memories with her family during their frequent “F.F.F.” moments (forced, family, fun). She loves a strong cup of coffee and hopes to find herself sharing one with you soon!
Spiritual Formation Guides
Philip and Bonnie serve as Spiritual Formation Guides to Staff at The Local Church, GR and have focused their lives on the pursuit of becoming like Jesus in word and deed. Philip taught at Cornerstone University for many years and Bonnie within the Grand Rapids Public School system and both love combining their teaching skills with their training in Spiritual Direction. Before that, they were long term missionary teachers in Kenya, East Africa at Moffat College of Bible. Over the years they have visited and taught in approximately 40 countries. Philip and Bonnie are the parents of four adult children and have 11 grandchildren. Being and making disciples of Jesus is the passion of their lives, whether that is through teaching, photography, or surfing the internet. They still haven’t found a Chai Tea to rival what they enjoyed in Africa but have not given up the hunt...
Teaching Team Member
Reverend Erin Clifford joins the team as one of our teaching voices using her gifts for stellar biblical insight and winsome application to everyday life. When she’s not with us for a weekend teaching and spearheading some of our leadership development efforts she works full-time as the Director of Spiritual and Missional Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary. Erin is an international speaker, pastor and advocate for the poor.
From her years living in East Africa and London, Erin developed a passion to see humanity flourishing in other cultures, including the poorest of the poor. As a continuation of the belief in the role of the local church as a vehicle of God’s trans-formative hope for the world, Erin is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Missiology in the theology of suffering.
Erin can often be found eating cheddar cheese, drinking coffee, sitting in the sun, talking about Jesus or laughing loudly in or around Washington, DC where she currently resides.
TEACHING TEAM MEMBER
Dr. Gary Burge joins the team as one of our teaching voices. He is an internationally recognized New Testament scholar who has a passion for the Church and the Middle East and loves to make the Bible come alive. He has been an encouraging supporter of what God is doing at TLC and we’re super excited for his voice and investment in our community.
Gary is currently the Dean of Faculty at Calvin Seminary after teaching for 25 years at Wheaton College and Graduate School and when he’s not with us he and his wife are deeply involved with Church of the Servant here in GR. Gary holds degrees from the University of California and Fuller Seminary and received his PhD from Kings College, Aberdeen University, Scotland.
Gary continues to write both academically and pastorally and has a special love for the gospels, especially the Gospel of John. He has done extensive work in Israel and Palestine and has a passion for the Church in the Middle East where he regularly visits. He is an international speaker, esteemed professor and prolific author.
All of this you could easily find with a simple google search, but what you wouldn’t find is that Gary loves Volvos and IKEA (although his Swedish heritage is most likely the cause) and is a connoisseur of all things pickled (including herring). In fact if you ask nicely, he may even share some from his personal stash…