West Michigan City Raised from the Dead


For almost 20 years I’ve pastored Harbor Church in Holland, Michigan.  Grand Rapids, my home-town, is a suburb of Holland 🙂

Two years ago, Holland was ranked as the 2nd Happiest City in the US by a Gallup survey.


Top Ten Healthiest, Happiest Places in America

1) Boulder, Colo.

2) Holland-Grand Haven, Mich.

3) Honolulu

4) Provo-Orem, Utah

5) Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif.

6) Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, Calif.

7) San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.

8) Washington, D.C.- Arlington, Va.- Alexandria, Va.

9) Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

10) Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.

And now, Grand Rapids, previously designated by Newsweek Magazine as a “dying city”, has been recognized as raised from the dead.  “Bland Rapids” has become Grand again.

My friend, Mike Nichols, a staff reporter for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, has written an insightful article describing the resurrection:

In August of 2011, RelocateAmerica placed Grand Rapids No. 2 on its list of Top 10 Best Places to Live in the U.S.

The world didn’t come to an end in 2012, and neither did Grand Rapids, which kicked off last year by being named first on Forbes’ list of Best Cities For Raising Families. For many Grand Rapidians, that one felt especially good.

Grand Rapids also was recently ranked as the eighth best economic comeback city in the U.S. by a Metro Monitor report from the nonprofit Brookings Institution. Brookings rated Grand Rapids 13th in employment, third in unemployment, 12th in output (GDP) and 50th in housing prices.

Maybe Newsweek, which ceased its print publications in December, should be grateful Grand Rapids never countered with a list of dying magazines.

You can read Mike’s entire article here:


If you’re a West Michigander, you’ll want to take a minute to watch the striking video Mike has included.  Grand Rapids is American Pie.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    surely I have a delightful inheritance.     — Psalm 16:6

Come on over!

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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