One of the things that Gold Avenue Church is blessed to be known for is being a close knit family. It’s something that can be felt right away when we gather and it is truly a gift from the Lord. So it’s no surprise that not being able to gather during the time of COVID-19 has been really difficult for us. As we’ve continued to seek direction from God during this time, we’ve wrestled with tough questions about what He is doing and how we can stay in step. The time was finally right to have a gathering in a park the last week of August, and it was glorious to be together again! For anyone who wasn’t able to make it or who would just like to remember that meeting, we’ve put together a recap of what we did along with some pictures which truly capture the joy of that gathering.

We began with a long time of fellowship where we were able to reconnect as a family. After many months of seeing people on screens this was a very refreshing time! We did our best to follow safe social distancing per governmental regulations, but left it up to each person to decide on their level of comfortability, so we used lanyards with colored paper to communicate that.

The children and youth also enjoyed each other’s company and enjoyed playing games during the gathering.

We then all gathered together to hear what the Lord has been doing in our midst during this time. As church leadership has been asking what God has in store for us, a new direction was presented that we are in the process of ongoing discernment, which is why we are asking for your input! See the links at the end of this post for more information and for the survey where you can share your input.

The new direction that was proposed is that we’ll be forming small groups that will meet every other week, while we’ll continue with our At Home Worship Liturgy every other week (or in person gatherings once deemed safe to do so). These groups will be coupled with a resource called the Gospel Tool that will serve to deepen each of our relationships with the Lord and equip us to share our faith with others and make disciples as Jesus commissioned us to do. For more details on this plan please see the link at the end of the post.

Lastly we gathered into small groups to discuss the plan and to seek feedback that will be helpful as we start to answer the “How” question of implementing the plan, as we continue to move together as a congregation.

We thank God for our church family at Gold Avenue Church, and for the blessing of getting together to see each other. We are also excited about the opportunities afforded with the proposal of this new direction and how the Lord will work through it.

For more info about this plan, Council Letter to Congregation

Here is a follow up letter that answers some questions that were brought up: Follow Up letter

Here is a link to a survey that we’re asking all of our family members to complete, to help in the planning of the new framework: Survey Link

Thank you for reading and thank you for the part you play in our church family. Please continue to pray for wisdom and discernment as we continue to seek to follow the Lord together.  Be blessed church family!

As a community we just experienced a series on lament as an expression of faith. It was mostly “personal” in focus, but the Lord also calls us to corporately lament evil, injustice—anything short of his kingdom and his glory. And now, in light of ongoing and recent events, we invite you to do that via the prayer below.


This prayer is long and rich and it may take extended time for you to be fully immersed in it; to that end, feel free to come back to it, use it for your personal devotional time, or work through it however you feel led as together we pray in the fullness of God’s Kingdom.

A Prayer of Lament and Repentance for Racism


“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth, and in our nation, as it is in heaven.


Lord, as we reflect on your kingdom, these thoughts come to mind:


Light-We give thanks and praise to you Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.


Righteousness, Peace and Joy-Lord, your Word teaches us that the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.


Justice-Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.


Lord, we bring our heartache and pain to you, as we have witnessed and heard about acts of violence and hatred against our brothers and sisters of color in the past several weeks, months and many years in this nation’s history.


We lament the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this past week.  We cry tears of grief with his family and cry out on behalf of all people of color, who once again experience acts of aggression, oppression and murder.  How long oh Lord, how long?


How long will prejudice and racial bias result in misinterpreting situations and result in wrongful actions and reactions?  Christ, have mercy!


We lament the violence and chaos that has erupted as demonstrations have become violent.  Lord, have mercy!


We repent of ways we have participated, knowingly or unknowingly, in the sin of racism (thinking lower of a person or group of people or harboring hatred toward them, based on the color of their skin.)  We acknowledge that racism is “not a skin problem, it is a sin problem”, and so we ask you Lord to search our hearts and reveal if any of these things are present:


Have I fully loved God and fully loved my neighbor as myself?

Have I caused pain to others by my actions or my words that offended my brother or my sister?

Have I done enough to inform myself about the sin of racism, its roots, and its historical and contemporary manifestations? Have I opened my heart to see how unequal access to economic opportunity, jobs, housing, and education on the basis of skin color, race, or ethnicity, has denied and continues to deny the equal dignity of others?

Is there a root of racism within me that blurs my vision of who my neighbor is?

Have I ever witnessed an occasion when someone “fell victim” to personal, institutional, systematic or social racism and I did or said nothing, leaving the victim to address their pain alone?


Allow Time for Personal Reflection and Repentance Aloud, as encouraged in James 5:16: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.


Father, we thank you for your forgiveness and we receive it.  We pray that you would cause your church across this nation to enter into intentional and sustained repentance and prayer, for the healing of our land, trusting in your promise “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”.


We pray that your church would reflect the characteristics of your kingdom: light, love, righteousness, peace, joy and justice.


We praise you for the promise that you,God, will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.


Today Jesus, we remember your words that “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.”  We welcome you Holy Spirit.  We welcome you to bring truth in our country.  We ask you to bring a mighty testimony to Jesus, through your church at this time.


Father, you have always intended for your children to act as lights in dark places, to bring love that drives out fear and to love each other deeply for love covers over a multitude of sins.  Lord, help us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Empower us to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you day be day.


We pray for your kingdom to come more fully here on earth. Rule and reign in our lives.


We welcome the Holy Spirit to fill us afresh today, working in and through us, bringing peace and racial reconciliation in our neighborhood, in our nation, and the world, for your glory, forever and ever, In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Earlier sermons on God’s mishpat/justice explained that God’s justice includes his restoration of the whole created order. In Romans 8:22-27, Paul explains that all of creation, particularly we believers who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly, as we eagerly await the fulfillment of God’s promises. So also the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, groans! What is this groaning? In large part, it is an outflow of the fact that so much in this world, and in our lives, is not “as it should be,” nor as it will be when God brings the full redemption has promised. As we live in between the times, when the kingdom is here, but not fully here, God graciously gives us the language of lament to express our faith in him, and the coming of his kingdom (Rev. 21:4-5) in its fullness.


In the following video, Pastor Dave continues to introduce the topic of our upcoming sermons on Lament as an Expression of Faith.



Each week we will fill in the links below as we have the posts, so that if you want to listen to all of the sermons together you are able.  We hope that you are blessed and that your faith is strengthened!
Lament as an Expression of Faith Sermons:
4/19/20  Psalm 13  – Wrestling With God When we Feel Forgotten
At Home Liturgy Link: AHL 4/19
Sermon Link: Sermon 4/19

Gold Avenue Church leadership has been noticing a recurring invitation from the Lord over the past few weeks. He seems to be calling us to be still in a time that is filled with uncertainty.  It’s important to pay attention to verses, songs, and themes that continue to come up in prayer and conversations. Often the Lord will speak to us through these consistent pieces and then it is important to ask the Lord to show us how He would have us respond. 


Watch this video from Pastor Gina where she shares about how to quiet yourself in God’s presence, as she reflects on Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”



We pray you will be intentional in letting go of things that interfere with being quiet and still before the Lord. We trust we will all be strengthened and refreshed in His presence.  Enjoy listening to the song “Be Still” by Hillsong Worship.



Hi Church Family from your Deacon Team! We wanted to let you know that despite not being in the church building on Sundays, we are still here and willing to help. Our role in the church is to offer resources to church members and, by extension, to our Gold Avenue Church neighborhood. We’d love to talk with you about how you are doing and to find out if there’s anything we can do to help with any physical needs you might have. 


With the economic downturn and general uncertainty that we are currently living in, we anticipate that there may be more financial struggles than usual. We want you to know that we’re here to help.  There are several ways of getting in contact with us. You can contact the church directly by email or phone (at the end of this post), or you can fill out the form LINKED HERE. In addition, if you have neighbors or people you know of within our community that are struggling, we invite you to refer them to the deacon team using one of the methods of contact. Make sure to include their contact info and as much information as possible.  We ask you to pray and discern if this next step is necessary for anyone, and invite as the Lord leads, as this is a time when we can all be the hands and feet of Jesus to our neighbors. 


In addition, we would like to connect you to a list of resources LINKED HERE. This resource list will be updated as events unfold in the next months for people who live in and around the West Side of Grand Rapids. Any suggestions for what could be added to this can also be sent to the church office using the contact information below. 


FInally, we want you all to know that we are praying for each and every one of you. We are living in strange times, but we are so thankful for the hope of Christ that cannot be taken from us. As well, our work is funded by the Benevolence fund, to which many of you sow into on a regular basis, thank you so much for continuing to express your generosity and helping us care for our brothers and sisters in Christ!


Church Contact Information:



Have you found yourself wondering what God might be up to in this unique season? Check out these thoughts from Pastor Dave, who is safely home from his trip to Israel!  Thanks be to God! 


Reflection Questions:

Take some time to press in to invitation you’ve just received. Spend some time praying, waiting on the Lord, and even journaling through these questions:

Lord, what are you doing in this season?

Lord, what do you have for me in this season?

Lord, how do you want to redeem this time?

Lord, how would you have me cooperate with you?

Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and workFor I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty. Haggai 2:4
When we heard these words that Pastor Dave preached a few weeks ago, we heard that the people of Judah felt weak and had challenges coming up against them, and yet God was calling for them to take steps of faith to carry on the work of rebuilding the temple.  I’m guessing most of us have felt weak as we have faced the challenges of this past week, and yet God has been with us.  He has met us in our disappointments and all our concerns, and has been strengthening us to carry on in His kingdom work, often supported by the prayers of others!
Thank you Gold Avenue Church family for being faithful and strong in the face of much uncertainty and engaging the work of embodying, proclaiming and advancing God’s Kingdom these last few weeks.  You are using your gifts and faithfully serving despite our facility being closed:  
  • You are checking in on one another by phone, text, FaceTime or messaging.  
  • You are praying more often and with more fervor for our neighborhood and the world, particularly praying for revival.
  • You are brave nurses and other front line services, along with Nick who remains on mission in Africa, carrying on serving others.
  • You are reaching out to your neighbors and sharing the hope of Jesus with strangers.
  • You are adapting to changed schedules and seeking to love your children and help them adjust to the many unsettling changes with school and social distancing (which can be so hard!)
  • A number of you are using your gifts of music, writing, and prophecy to encourage others by means of FaceBook posts. 
  • Some have contacted us offering helpful resources to the church. 
  • The discipleship team is creatively thinking of new ways to connect.
  • The Gold Rush team is preparing to resume youth group via Zoom.
  • The admin elders are prayerfully discerning the current situation while also considering how to love our church and neighborhood well with our facility in the future, as they consider a new ministry proposal.  
  • The deacons continue to monitor and serve the needs of our church and community, even as they think ahead about needs that may be coming.
  • The care elders are doing a fantastic job of checking in with people and also praying faithfully for our congregation.
  • Our volunteer worship leaders are continuing to plan meaningful worship services using the new At Home Worship Liturgy, even blessing a church in the UK this past week!
There are many more stories that I could share, but I want to take a minute and ask you to thank the Lord along with me for the gift of our 3 urban missionaries:  Mark, Stephanie and Pastor Jaleesa.  They have put in several weeks of very long hours, using their gifts, skills and backgrounds, to help put technology and strategies in place, with help from Justin Blake, that will help our church remain a strongly connected community now, and will serve us so well long into the future.  Their joyful servant leadership is a great model for us all, and so please consider how you might bless them with a word of thanks, a contribution to their fundraising efforts, and/or most certainly praying for them regularly.  
In Haggai, the Lord repeatedly says “give careful thought to your ways.  As I met online with a group of pastors this week from all around the country, we were encouraged to reflect on history.  At times of great trouble and even past quarantine, God has brought forth amazing gifts-books, songs, prayers and stories of sacrificial love that have advanced God’s kingdom and served as inspiration for Christians through history (the disciples, Paul, Luther, the early church caring for the sick during the plague, Bonhoeffer, CS Lewis, Corrie tenBoom, etc…). 
Church family and friends, I believe the Lord will gift you and will use us together in mighty ways if we will earnestly seek Him.  This could be the church’s finest hour, if we will humble ourselves, pray, turn from any wicked ways and seek God’s face.  As together we devote ourselves completely to the Lord, I believe we will see the gospel of Jesus Christ transform our lives, our neighborhood and the world. To God be the glory, now and forever, Amen!
With prayerful anticipation,
Pastor Gina 

Good Morning! Watch and follow along in your own Bible as Pastor Gina reads and reflects on Psalm 91. This video originates from FaceBook; we welcome you to comment there with some of your own reflections on the Psalm.

This post is part of a new series of encouraging words from our Church Leadership. Keep an eye out for more!