Why Change the Name of Our Church?

The Reformed Baptist Church has been at 269 Douglas Ave. in Holland since 1997.  Our bold sign with the “Bible-inside-the-Trumpet” logo has decorated the way-to-the-beach for nearly a decade and a half.

But north side drivers have discovered a change.  A new sign has now been erected in the church’s front yard.  It reads: “HARBOR CHURCH” in large print, and then “Reformed & Baptist” in small print.  And instead of a Bible-and-Trumpet logo, there is now a pair of refreshing blue water-waves.

What’s going on?

The church has changed its name — officially to Harbor Reformed Baptist Church.  But the shorthand version has become “Harbor Church”.

But why the change?

“When we started up here in Holland, nearly 18 years ago, the name “Reformed Baptist” meant something to the rank and file of the folks on the Lakeshore.  Many would ask, ‘How can you be both Reformed and Baptist?  Is that possible?’  From there, we could explain that we are Reformed in theology like John Calvin, but that we baptize only born again believers (not infants) like Charles Spurgeon.”

“But the cultural and religious landscape has changed a bit since the early nineties.  Now average folks aren’t as informed about doctrine and history.  The theological terminology doesn’t resonate as much today with the Lakeshore community.  And it’s the community that we desire to reach!  So we’ve crafted a new name that we believe expresses more of an open invitation to our friends and neighbors.”

“A harbor is a haven of refuge from storm tossed seas.  That’s what a faithful church should be to its visitors, attenders and members.  This world seeks to beat up and shipwreck our lives and families.  But our souls can find rest and safety in a biblical, Christ-centered community of believers.  That’s what Harbor Church is all about.”

“And it’s a natural!  From our steeple, you can see the blue waters of the harbor Lake Macatawa.”

“Our beliefs and convictions haven’t changed.  We still ground our ministry on the solid rock of biblical preaching and teaching.  Our faith and practice are still based on the Scriptures.  Men, women, and children must repent of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that they might be saved from God’s wrath, and be strengthened by God’s Spirit.”

“With our new sign: HARBOR CHURCH, we open our arms wide to our weary, wet and wind-whipped friends and neighbors, and invite them to come in and find a place of safety and refuge from the storm.”

“We’re saying to our community what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28: ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.’”

About savedbygrace1976

Mark Chanski (author of Manly Dominion; Womanly Dominion; and Encouragement: Adrenaline for the Soul) has labored as a full-time Pastor since 1986 in churches in Ohio and Michigan. He has been Pastor of Harbor Church in Holland, Michigan, since 1994. He has also been elected as Coordinator of the Reformed Baptist Network. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornerstone University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He teaches Hermeneutics for the Reformed Baptist Seminary in Sacramento, CA. Mark is married to his wife Dianne, and has fathered their four sons and one daughter, whose ages stretch from 36 to 26 (born 1983 to 1994).
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2 Responses to Why Change the Name of Our Church?

  1. Gabrielle says:

    I love the new name. I see it reflects who’s inside. Kemp Rd. could have had the same name for me when I found you and Diane there. God give you the community you are trying to reach.


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