What to Expect When You Visit Us
Visiting a new church can be intimidating: What should I wear? Where do I park? Where do my kids go?
We understand the many questions that can come up as you consider visiting a new church. Below are some answers to some of the more frequently asked questions. Of course, if you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit the Berean Connection Point, located by the office as you come into the main entrance, when you visit.
What is the worship service like?
We intentionally have a “blended” service, which means it is a combination of traditional and modern elements of worship. You may hear a traditional hymn as well as more contemporary worship songs as our Worship Director leads us with his guitar and is often accompanied by a varied combination of our grand piano, drums, cello, violin, bass and electric guitars and other instruments, as well as praise team singers. Everything is projected on our big screen with easy to read graphics and words.
What should I wear?
We want you to feel comfortable. After all, we are thrilled that you’re joining us and want you to be more focused on the service than what you’re wearing. It’s not uncommon to see a wide variety of clothing choices, from jeans and t-shirts to dresses and ties. We think you’ll fit in no matter how you dress. At Berean Church our purpose in coming together is to worship God, not to impress each other.
Where should I park?
Our large parking lot has room for everyone, with a few premium spots for our first time visitors. We have a number of convenient spots for handicapped parking. You can drop off your family under the canopy at our front entrance during inclement weather, and if you need valet parking for a special need, we have several people available to help you with that as well.
Where do my children go?
We emphasize the family here at Berean, so we have children older than nursery age (0-3) participate with their parents or family members in the worship service. Partway through the service, we invite children aged 4-3rd grade to come down front for what is known as the “Mystery Box” children’s message. One of our pastors must think up a brief message from what is brought by a child in the Mystery Box without knowing what it is before he opens the box! It is loads of fun and the kids always try to stump our pastors! Then those children are dismissed to Children’s Church, which is located just outside the Worship Center for the balance of the service and are taught an age appropriate Bible lesson with crafts, snacks, songs and fun. Parents pick up their children after the service in the Children’s Church room before going to the Fellowship Hall for refreshments.
Our spacious nursery is staffed for both the Worship Service and Sunday School hour by trained and screened volunteer workers that will love your child and ensure a safe and secure place for them to play and be with other small children while you worship or attend Sunday School. There are safety features that will help your peace of mind, including an alert system with a specific number for your child should you need to be notified to come to the nursery for any reason.
Am I expected to put money in the offering?
If you are visiting with us, we don’t expect you to put money in the offering, and you are welcome to just let it pass you by. We hope the service is a gift to you and that you will want to come back and become part of our family here at Berean!
Where We’ve Been Our History
A look at Berean Church through the years
1917 – The book “Maranatha” is completed and published by the Pastor of the First Christian Reformed Church of Muskegon, Harry Bultema. This book developed the Premillennial return of Jesus Christ and clearly showed a distinction between Israel and the Church, the body of Christ and their separate future hopes.
1919 – A court case is brought against the Consistory and Pastor over the contents of the book and the ongoing teaching and preaching ministry of the church, who end up ultimately forced out of the church facilities. Of the 320 families in the church, 260 stood with the pastor and left the denomination.
1921 – Berean Reformed Church founded under Pastor Bultema. Initial services held at a hastily built facility known as the “Tabernacle” in one weeks’ time that seated over 1,000 people. Within one week, the newly formed church family pledged and gave $50,000 for new facilities to worship in ($600,000 in today’s dollars).
1921 – Groundbreaking on Terrace Street for a new church and parsonage.
1920’s – In the first ten years of Berean’s existence, over $100,000 is given for home and foreign missions efforts.
1920’s – Name changed to Berean Church. All services in Dutch.
1934 – Radio Ministry is established on WKBZ. This outreach continued over 60 years.
1942 – Final mortgage is burned with the quote: “Built by the grace of God and paid for by the grace of God!”
1952 – Pastor Bultema went to be with the Lord.
1954 – William Hallman is installed as pastor in 1955 after a period of interim pastors to fill the pulpit and help in the transition.
1965 – Pastor Paul Hume arrived to begin ministry in Muskegon.
1974 – Dr. James Carlson is called as the 5th Pastor of Berean Church.
1983 – 11+ acres purchased on Seminole Road for future move and expansion.
1984 – “Forward In Faith” Capital Stewardship campaign begins to raise $1.6 million for construction and eventual move to our current location at 635 Seminole Road in Norton Shores.
1987 – Dr. Jack Dean begins ministry as pastor after serving as President of Grace Bible College for many years.
1992 – Pastor Wayne Bickel is selected to be the new Pastor of Berean Church.
1999 – Pastor Craig Apel comes to Muskegon and begins his ministry that would span 16+ years.
2002 – Children’s Wing addition is completed and in 2004 a new Family Life Center completed which offers new opportunities for growth and community impact.
2016 – Dr. Robert Renberg installed as 8th Senior Pastor in the 95-year history of Berean Church. “A Generous Life” stewardship campaign raises $298,000 to pay off Berean Church’s remaining debt with a vision for future growth!
2017 – Associate Pastor of Family Ministries, Steve Carlson comes to Berean to join Pastor Rob in leading Berean to a new level of commitment to the families of our community and church.
2018 – Our Worship Center has all new lighting installed, new carpeting and decorations, along with many new and upgraded features and projects around the church.
Where We’re Going Our Vision
By the grace of God, we will be a continuously growing Christian community that will help lead people into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ through sound biblical teaching and authentic worship while developing genuine community with each other in an atmosphere of grace, forgiveness and acceptance.