Churches in Mission Learning Community

The neighborhood around our church building has changed dramatically in the past few years. The village of Ada has a new “main” street, new neighbors, and new businesses. These changes bring new questions about what it means to be the church in Ada. Who are our new neighbors? What are their passions? What are their needs? What is God up to here and how can we join in?

Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI recently received a grant aimed at helping congregations explore these very questions – especially in churches whose neighborhoods are changing. They invited The Community Church in Ada to apply to be part of the learning community they’re developing around the grant. Consistory gave the thumbs up. After an application and interview process we were accepted into the program. The process begins in April and lasts 15 months.

Kendra Kuo, Zack Schaff, Ellen Waalkes, and Gael Uwera have agreed to join Pastor Mara in the learning community process. This team will join other congregations across the country exploring these questions in their own communities. They will get coaching on how to listen to both the congregation and the surrounding community. Together with the coaches from the grant program, the team will identify possible areas for missional engagement and find ways to invite the congregation into them.

The team is especially interested in exploring what it means to be the church in an affluent community when God calls us to serve poor and marginalized people. So far these questions have come up: Should we focus our missional energy on another neighborhood that has fewer resources? Is there poverty in Ada that is more hidden? Might our neighborhood be poor in connection, authenticity, and grace? Who is marginalized in Ada? How might we connect the resources in Ada with needs in our neighborhoods? The team is looking forward to creating some intentional space to ponder these questions, to learning from the other congregations in the learning community, and to receive guidance from excellent coaches.

Does this all sound vague? That’s because it is! There is no road map for how to be the church in Ada right now. This has never been done. The goal of the program is not to tell us what to do, but to help us discover together what God is calling us toward and to help us get into action. Stay tuned – you will hear a lot more about this and how you can participate in the coming months!

by Mara Norden

  • Sunday Schedule

    10:00 am – Service
    Nursery - infants through age 3

    Partway through Service - Children’s Worship: Ages 4-10

    After Service – Cookies and Coffee Social Gathering