One of my favorite questions to pose to other pastors or members of other congregations goes like this: If you could describe your church using three adjectives, what would they be? To help you understand a little bit more about First Reformed Church of Orange City, I thought I’d turn that inquiry back on myself.
There are lots of good descriptors to mark the wonderful people and story of FRC, but I think that, when pressed, I’d employ these three adjectives:
Rooted: FRC has a long and wonderful history of ministry in the name of Jesus Christ. Established by Dutch immigrants to Northwest Iowa in 1871, the church has grown and expanded to meet the challenges of Depression, Postmodernity, and two World Wars. A congregation of the thousand-church alliance called the Reformed Church in America, FRC has itself planted nine daughter churches in the region and has sent hundreds of missionaries into local and global contexts to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.
Our deeper roots, of course, unite us in mission and partnership with the movement that Jesus himself established in his teaching, mighty acts, death, and resurrection. We claim our place in the mission that was launched in the parting words of Jesus (Matthew 28 and Acts 1) and aim to follow in the footsteps of Paul, Peter, and Priscilla by making his purpose our own.
We hold fast to the words of the Bible, too. We realize that in a world that’s pulling us in a million different directions, we need to be anchored to something that lasts. This solid ground we find when we hear of the courage of Abram and Sarai, when we are comforted in the Psalms of David, when we are convicted by the words of Amos, and when we are shaped by the message of James. The Bible teaches us about the centrality of family and community, of accountability and love. On these matters, we don’t compromise.
Eager: Because we are so firmly grounded in our Biblical and historical heritage, FRC’s members feel confident and enthusiastic to explore what might be next for our church. We recognize that the needs of our community are evolving and we aim to be ready to rise to the occasion for the sake of Jesus. We know that there’s strain on marriages that requires good counsel. There are natural disasters that ask for volunteer assistance. There are global issues of trafficking, poverty, and disease that mandate that we stretch our own budgets. We endeavor to be mobilized and willing whenever these opportunities to practice what we preach present themselves.
We’re also eager to grow. We need manpower and womanpower and kidpower to take our ministry to the next level. If you are looking for a church home and find that the values and initiatives that you read about on this site jibe with your own perspective on God and your role in it, please contact us and consider teaming up. We’re not the perfect church for everyone, we know that. But we might be just right for you. Let’s explore together.
Humble: We’ve got big dreams, there’s no doubt. But – like anybody who’s gotten serious about God – we know that God’s plans often differ from ours. In our 140+ years of ministry, we’ve made plenty of mistakes. We’ve had our hearts’ blind spots exposed. We’ve made shortsighted decisions. We’ve jumped the gun on some occasions and we’ve shuffled along too slowly at others. We’re far from perfect.
But we know that ultimately, it’s not our perfection that matters. It’s Jesus Christ’s. And we believe that if we are sincerely trying our best to obey him and his Spirit, and if we practice justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before our God, and if we bear and share the fruits of gentleness, peace, and joy, that we’ll be okay. God’s been patient with us for all these years, and we think he’s got plenty more in store.
Rev. Timothy Breen