We are a friendly community of faith – devoted to loving God and loving others through worship, fellowship and service. 

We are on a journey together seeking to be faithful in following Jesus Christ. We care for each other, hold each other up in prayer, and walk together through times of joy and sorrow.

We like to laugh. We like to eat. We like to meet new people. There are teaching and learning opportunities for every age. We look forward to meeting you at First.

Beliefs

As a member of the Reformed Church in America, above all, our faith is centered in Christ. Every need we experience finds its answer in Jesus Christ.

The final authority in the Reformed faith is Scripture, the living Word of God, spoken to the human heart through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who takes the Word of God and makes it real in our lives. This has always been and will always be the authentic wellspring of the Reformed faith.

The following confessions and creeds are historic statements of Reformed beliefs:

  • Four historic documentsthe Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, and the Belhar Confession
  • Three historic creedsthe Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed

Our Staff

Pastor Bud Pratt: Lead Pastor   bud@firstgrandville.org

Bud began pastoring First Church In June 2012. He is a graduate of Hope College and Western Theological Seminary. Bud and his wife, Patty, have been in ministry for more than 35 years; most of that time working together for the Kingdom side by side.

Pastor Matt Cook:  Associate Pastor     matt@firstgrandville.org

Matt began as a pastor at First Church in October 2014. He graduated from Western Theological Seminary receiving a Masters of Divinity. His passion in ministry is the care and discipleship of the church, working together for God’s Kingdom and purpose here on Earth. Matt is married to Mary, and they have two young children.

Jeff Watson: Director of Youth Ministry   jeffw@firstgrandville.org

Jeff is excited to be involved in the lives of the youth at First because it’s his passion to see young people challenged as they mature in their faith, and be prepared for college. Jeff graduated from Grandville High School in 2007 and received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in 2011.

Since 2014, Jeff has been working at First Church as Youth Director. He is currently seeking a Masters of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary. Jeff also leads the Young Life Grandville club. He and his wife, Jeanna, have been married for five years.

Barb Nienhuis: Director of Worship   barbnienhuis@gmail.com

Barb’s greatest passion is sharing the joy of music with the First church family because of the many ways music can uniquely influence and inspire us to grow closer to God. She directs our children’s choir, leads our praise team, and is part of the worship planning team. Barb has a joyful attitude that is contagious!

Patty Pratt: Director of Music Ministry   patty@firstgrandville.org

Because Patty believes we are all created to praise the Lord, she finds great joy in equipping others to use their gifts to actively participate and encounter God in worship. Serving as Director of Music Ministry since 2012, Patty brings joy and enthusiasm to everything she does.

Angie Walker: Director of Children’s Ministry   angie@firstgrandville.org

Angie loves working with kids and all the volunteers who work with kids! She has the privilege of overseeing the children’s ministry (infants through 6th grade), as well as coordinating all of the volunteers that help each week. She also directs Wednesday night children’s programming (during the school year) and organizes a thriving Vacation Bible School each summer.

Jeff VanDuinen: Church Administrator jeff@firstgrandville.org

Jeff began his work as our part-time Church Administrator in January 2005. He oversees our facilities, budget, and supports the church staff. He works with our Finance Deacons as needed. Jeff helps keep everything running smoothly.

Deb Timmer: Office Manager deb@firstgrandville.org

Deb works with the Lead Pastor and Associate Pastor, church members and visitors, and the community to aide in the execution of the church’s mission, purpose and strategy. Deb brings a smile to her job and manages efficiently.

Jackie DeRuyter, Office Assistant  jackie@firstgrandville,org

Jackie works as office assistant and provides administrative support to the staff at First. Keeping things organized, Jackie contributes to the workplace with her friendly and welcoming interactions with others.

Harvey Kooistra: Custodian harvey@firstgrandville.org

Harvey has been the church custodian for the past 13 years, and handles the repairs for the church, including the sanctuary, bathrooms, meeting areas, and offices. His landscaping skills are a gift and evident all around the church grounds. Harvey grew up on a farm in Iowa. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard, stationed on the Coast Guard Cutter Minnetonka in Long Beach, California in the early 60’s. In his free time, Harvey enjoys creative writing and is the author of “A Book of Poems.” Harvey is married to Florence and they are blessed with three children and 13 grandchildren.

Membership

Serving at the Table

At First, everyone is welcome to the table of worship, fellowship, and community. But becoming a member means you are coming around to the side of the table where you are willing to serve and welcome others. No matter what side of the table you see yourself on today, you are always welcome.


Membership Classes
A “New Inquirer’s Class” is held frequently throughout the year, led by Pastor Bud Pratt, and designed to help you determine if First Reformed Church is the place for you. The class will last for 4 Sundays (during the Sunday school hour). Individuals and/or families interested in membership or just wanting more information about the RCA or First Church are encouraged to attend this class. Theology is discussed, as well as church programming, expectations, history, and what it means to belong to the Reformed Church in America. At the end of the class, participants have an opportunity to join our family of faith.

Visitors receive a warm welcome at First Church, and if you are searching for a church home and would like more information, please call us at 616-534-5465 or email: mail@firstgrandville.org. 

On Sundays, stop by at the Welcome Desk near the main entrance, we look forward to meeting you!

History - Since 1860

As our name might suggest, First Reformed Church truly was one of the first to be built in greater Grand Rapids. In 1860, a small congregation purchased the land of our church’s present location (3060 Wilson Ave. SW) in order to serve the needs of the many young people who came to work in the area.

Our first church building was a wooden structure and our current brick structure was completed in 1959, our 100th anniversary. At that time, members reflected on the first century of history with words that still ring true today: “How good God has been! What blessings this church has had because of His unbounded love…May we continue to be true to the trust that has been placed in us.” 

In 2019, we continue to celebrate God’s promises and our 159 year history in the city of Grandville, Michigan.