Norm & Arlene Leenhouts: As a young couple, Norm and Arlene made a decision to live a life of generosity and service. During their 61 years of marriage they consistently increased their giving. Norm spoke with a deep sense of humility of being deeply blessed by the Lord. He believed that his remarkable success in business was due to the Lord’s blessing, and felt that he could never out givethe Lord. His favorite verse was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Together in service and prayer, Norm and Arlene have uplifted hundreds of people around the world. They loved the poor and they loved education. We are delighted to establish this scholarship fund in their honor. We do so with the prayer that our graduates of Immanuel University will live lives of humility, service and generosity.
Fund Description: The Norm & Arlene Leenhouts Scholarship Fund for Immanuel University was established in honor of Norm and Arlene’s example of generous giving and love for the poor and for education. Fund proceeds will be distributed annually by the Guide Stream Charitable Gift Fund to Immanuel University, India, to be provided to qualified recipients.
Qualifications of Recipients: Recipients shall be selected by the administration of Immanuel University, India, and shall be deserving students with the greatest need, with excellent academic standing and high potential for Christian leadership.
Management of Gifts: Donors are invited to designate both current and/or deferred contributions to this fund at any time. All such contributions shall be receipted. Gifts to the Fund shall be tax deductible, and shall be made payable to Guide Stream Charitable Gift Fund, noting: for the benefit of the Norm & Arlene Leenhouts Scholarship Fund for Immanuel University. Gifts shall be sent to Guide Stream Charitable Gift Fund, PO Box 580, Spring Arbor, MI 49283.
Distributions: Gifts to the Fund shall be managed by the GuideStream Charitable Gift Fund accordance to its policy. Annual distributions shall be determined with the goal of maximizing the long-term impact of the fund.
Celebration: We believe that to have an effective community we must commit to a time of weekly celebration. At these celebrations you will experience authentic worship and challenging Biblical teaching on issues that are important to you today. We are a church that is fluid adjusting our methods along the way to more effectively be the Church to our community.
Community: We are a church that cherishes authentic community providing community groups to foster genuine and transparent relationships. Community groups or small groups play an essential role in the care and development of a believer. We are a church that is constantly growing knowing that none of us have arrived in our spiritual journey, but are here to spur one another on in our spiritual transformation.
Call: We are a church that sees the potential in people and facilitates them in discovering Gods design for their life and contribution to His kingdom. We believe that Gods design was for every believer to participate in serving and building the church. We are a church that is compassionate about people with needs in our community and is actively looking for ways to serve others in our community and around the world.
Christ-Centered: The call of God has been the same since the beginning of time. We are called to surrender our lives and center them around Jesus Christ. At The Grove we strongly urge people to participate in Celebration, Community, and Call. While these three activities are biblical and commendable they all should be viewed and carried out through the perspective of Christ-centeredness. The mission of our church is to lead people into a growing relationship with Christ. We strongly encourage, teach, and promote living the Christ-centered life as part of that growing relationship.
As a real place for real people we believe we cant be what God has called us to be if we play games with each other. Whether its what happens on stage, within our small groups, serving teams or in our homes, we need to be able to share our faults and weaknesses and not fake it. That's authenticity, just being real.
The Grove is a place for people on every part of the spiritual journey, from those just investigating whether there is a God, to those who have made following Christ the priority of their life. This is a safe place for everyone. But safe doesn't mean serenity. The Bible presents a dangerous message of life change. We don't assume everyone believes, or even knows the Bible, but we do assume everyone who comes through our doors is open to exploring it. We believe the Bible is Gods inerrant truth and it is foundational to everything we do.
Culturally Relevant Communication
"Why did they do that?" "What does that have to do with church?" How many times have you heard (or thought) that after you saw something during a service here at The Grove? Maybe it was a movie clip or a secular song. Stuff that seemed to be the last thing you would have expected in church. Well, believe it or not, there is a reason for all of this. There is a method to the madness. Culturally Relevant Communication: is one of our 8 Core Values!
The Grove is a place that helps connect those who are spiritually exploring Gods love and truth. To do this, were committed to doing anything to help people connect Gods timeless truth from the Bible with their day-to-day life. We do not engage in anything immoral or anti-scriptural to do this, but we do embrace creative methods used in our current culture. The challenge for us is that the Bible was written a long time ago for people in another culture. The fact that we are in Somewhere, USA in the twenty-first century doesn't change the message that God gave 2000 years ago, but it does mean that we need to do some work to connect it to our lives today. That's what we mean by "Culturally Relevant Communication."
Its nothing new. Its the kind of thing the Bible referred to in Ecclesiastes 12:10 which says, "The teacher searched to find just the right words." In fact, its exactly what Jesus did. Whether it was stories about sheep and goats, vineyard workers, or a guy who throws a party, Jesus used the current language and daily life of those around him to communicate truth.
Doing Life Together
We aren't interested in being a church where a lot of people get together for an inspiring service but never move beyond the casual arm's distance relationships of an auditorium. We want to grow by really "doing life together." Community is knowing and being known, loving and being loved, celebrating and being celebrated, and serving and being served. The people who really grow at The Grove, are those who move beyond the auditorium through serving and/or being part of a small group, service team and building friendships in which all of these happen.
We don't believe in striving for unrealistic perfection. We do believe excellence is about bringing your best to Gods work and to life in general. Whenever we do anything as a church we want to bring our "A Game." Whether its our communication and music, how we hold babies in the nursery or how we take care of the building, we want it to reflect this.
We believe a strong home provides the best context for people to learn and live their faith. We partner with families to help them know and participate in God's Story. We come together to provide support, encouragement, and resources for today's family.
We believe that ministries are only valid when they are functional. Ministries that no longer support the mission of the church or are not functioning effectively will be reviewed and eliminated. New ministries will proactively be encouraged and affirmed to meet the changing needs of the culture and our community.
We don't expect everyone who walks into this church to be a committed Christ-follower. But we do expect everyone who is around our community for any length of time to be growing. We expect every person to be moving closer to being the complete image of Christ in every area of life. When it isn't happening we need to ask why. The answers aren't always comfortable. In fact we often grow only when we are pushed out of our comfort zone.
God, who is holy, calls us to a life of holiness. We believe that the Holy Spirit seeks to do in us a work of grace, called by various terms including "entire sanctification" and "baptism with the Holy Spirit" - cleansing us from all sin, renewing us in the image of God, empowering us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, and producing in us the character of Christ. Holiness in the life of believers is most clearly understood as Christlikeness.
We are a sent people, responding to the call of Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to go into all the world, witnessing to the Lordship of Christ and participating with God in the building of the Church and the extension of His kingdom. Missional living is the embodiment of the mission of Jesus in the world by incarnating the gospel. "It is the imperative that Christians be like Jesus by living freely within the culture as missionaries who are as faithful to the Father and His gospel as Jesus was in His own time and place."
Intentionally look for others to nurture and develop. We need to create self-awareness for people to discover their ministry by inspiring and assisting people in discovering their calling, personality, gifts, and ministry. We must develop teams where people are encouraged, developed, and mentored while intentionally looking to identify and train leaders who are motivated to train and equip other leaders.