Changes for local church are Radiant.

September 18, 2014
Pastor Jerry Theis

Pastor Jerry Theis

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

LUDINGTON — Sometimes it’s necessary to re-brand. This is true in business and can also be true for a church. The church formerly known as Greater Life Church is now Radiant Church. Further, the congregation is moving from downtown at 208 S. James St. (the former Lyric Theater building) to 409 S. Washington Ave. (former home of Harbor Light Fellowship and Washington Avenue Baptist before that).

The name change took place last month. The congregation is in the process of finalizing the purchase of the Harbor Light building.

All of the changes are symbolic of the evolution of the church that started about 10 years ago in the upstairs of Prayer and Praise Assembly of God by pastors Jeff and Dina Hackert. The church then operated remotely on Sunday mornings at L.F. Peterson Auditorium before leasing the former Lyric Theater building. The Hackerts left three years ago to pursue other interests in Kentucky. Another pastor was brought in but he too moved on.

In January, Jerry Theis was hired as senior pastor. Theis had spent 10 years as the pastor of technology and creative arts at Radiant Church of Richland, located near Kalamazoo.

“Changing our name was a matter of creating a new identity and re-branding ourselves,” Theis said. “Up until we changed our name, there were three churches in the area with the word ‘life’ in their names: Life Change, Path of Life and Greater Life. All great churches, but we needed to have some separation.”

The name, of course, is the same as the church where Theis came from. Both churches are affiliated with Resurrection Life Church based out of Grand Rapids, as is Life Change Church of Ludington.

“It’s the DNA that I have,” Theis said. “I was there for 10 years. There are a lot of resources that come from that church. I like the idea of ‘radiant.’ Radiant screams that you need to be a light in your community. We are taking Greater Life and adding more value to it.”

The location change is accomplishing a goal that began with the church.

“This congregation has been looking for a permanent home almost since day one. This location takes us into a residential neighborhood. While it’s been wonderful being downtown, we believe we will be able to serve the community better by being among the residents.”

Theis said owning a building will also be a cost savings for the congregation in the long run.

Currently, the church is leasing two separate buildings, the old Lyric is where church services are held. Next door, to the south, are the church’s offices and fellowship area. Leasing the two buildings has been expensive.

The recent changes at the church all seem to have a divine hand involved. Last year Jerry Theis felt a calling to lead his own congregation.

“I remembered kayaking in Lake Michigan up by Ludington when my wife and I were dating. I always said that it would be a great place to lead a church,” the Wyoming, Mich. native said.

“I shared that with my pastor. He then told me that the pastor from Greater Life Church in Ludington was leaving and that I should apply for the position.”

Moving forward several months, discussions were being held at the church that it was time to purchasing a building.

“We were looking at our present situation and it would have been way too much money to renovate to accomplish what we wanted. Our board was instructed to pray and ask God to make whatever we should do unbelievably clear for us. At midnight one Sunday about a month ago someone saw the listing for Harbor Light Fellowship. It had just gone on the market. It is a 25,000 foot building and the sale price fit into our budget.”

Theis said the first church service at the new location will be Nov. 2. But, the church will be holding some other events prior to that.

For more information see www.radiantcoast.org or check out Radiant Church on Facebook.

 

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