Looking at local churches: Fifth Reformed Church

Fifth Reformed Church sits close to Calvin on Griggs Street. Photo courtesy Fifth Reformed Church.
Fifth Reformed Church sits close to Calvin on Griggs Street. Photo courtesy Fifth Reformed Church.

Less than a mile from Calvin’s campus, Fifth Reformed Church sits tucked back in a well-developed neighborhood on Griggs Street. This church, which belongs to the Reformed Church in America, has services at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. every Sunday to provide flexibility for both early-risers and those who prefer to sleep in.

Sophomore Heather Milks, who has been attending Fifth Reformed for about a year, said that the strong sense of community is what has made her set down roots at Fifth:

On my first Sunday I had already been greeted by the pastor and his family and met fellow college students at a lunch. The following week, I received a few emails reaching out to me for a coffee and talk about my faith journey. I was extremely impressed by how well and how thoroughly they reached out to me.”

This sense of rich togetherness and care for others is represented in the ministries of Fifth Reformed:

“The church emphasizes long term service projects. They’ve partnered with the same few organizations for a long time and aim to remain faithful in their service,” said Milks. “I’d also say they prioritize local service over sending teams internationally for missions projects.”

Many of the programs at Fifth Reformed involve people of all ages. Their central mission, as stated on the Fifth Reformed website, is to “make disciples who make disciples.” Many of their programs reflect the importance of growing their church members to be disciples in their communities. There are monthly seniors gatherings for any people from the area to attend. Additionally, a whole website, fifthkids.org, exists for their extensive Sunday school and summer children’s programs, something Milks volunteers for on a bimonthly basis.

But these ministries, whether it be the women’s ministry, the student youth group or the summer JAM (Jesus And Me) Bible camp, do not keep people from different demographics and age groups from interacting.

“This is one of those congregations that behaves as a family, and as you continue to go they continue to draw you into it,” Milks stated. She also emphasized the importance of after-church fellowship time at Fifth.

As for worship style, Fifth maintains strong roots in the Reformed tradition with creeds and catechisms, but music on any given Sunday can range from organ and hymns to a full worship team and perhaps some liturgical dance.

Milks also appreciated the type of sermons offered at Fifth: “These sermons aren’t meant to be academically rigorous, but to be memorable and applicable during the rest of the week. The sermons typically ask simple and direct questions like ‘What should I do with my faith and science?’ or ‘How should I use my money?’”

To boil it down, Fifth Reformed is a welcoming, traditional Reformed church with a contemporary twist. If you want a place to find a church family and some practical teaching about living as a disciple of Christ, then be sure to check it out.

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