The Church Renewal Lab


A two-year renewal journey for the purpose of developing intentional missional congregations that make more and better disciples who transform lives and communities for Christ

About The Church Renewal Lab

Renewal Lab Process

Renewal Lab Staff

Registration for the Renewal Lab

Participating Congregations


About The Church Renewal Lab

The Church Renewal Lab is a two-year renewal kick-start helping congregations refresh their mission focus as they seek to make more and better disciples.  In short, the Church Renewal Lab’s goal is to help congregations “Change the Atmosphere” (renewing culture) and “Journey to Mission” (strategic planning).

The Renewal Lab is part of the Institute of Global Church Planting and Renewal at Calvin Seminary.

The Lab is a hands-on learning opportunity for pastors and their teams.  The Lab takes a multifaceted approach to church revitalization and includes:

  • Cohorts of 10-12 churches journeying together
  • Quarterly renewal courses (learning labs)
  • A three-step process: “Listen…Imagine…Do”
  • Peer learning environments
  • Renewal Lab team formation to help guide the renewal process
  • Congregational involvement
  • Multiple coaches for various aspects of ministry
  • Trained student interns (optional)

The Church Renewal Lab objectives include:

  • Identify a congregation’s unique mission and vision
  • Develop strategies for making more and better disciples
  • Change the atmosphere through congregational health
  • Become Gospel-centered in all aspects of ministry
  • Implement the priorities of the Acts 2:42-47 N.T. Church

lab1The Church Renewal Lab is based on:

  • 1 goal: “Joining God on Mission”
  • 4 essentials: “Abiding, Vision, Leadership, Health”
  • 3 step process: “Listen, Imagine, Do”


Renewal Lab Process

The Renewal Lab journeys with congregations through a three-step process

lab2Step 1:  Listen (first six months)
From above…what is God’s Word
saying about his will and his way?
From among…what is the congregation
saying about their gifts and passions?
From outside…what is the community
saying about needs and opportunities?
From within…what is the Holy Spirit
saying about our unique calling?

 Step 2:  Imagine (second six months)
lab3Based on listening the Renewal Lab teams identify

  • God’s mission in His world
  • God’s vision for our church
  • Values that will sustain the vision
  • Objectives that flow from the vision
  • Annual goals that propel the vision

 Step 3:  Do (final year)
lab4The goal is that the vision will be implemented in the life of the congregation.  For one-year coaching attends the working out of the commitments from listening and imagining.
The three step process is propelled forward by quarterly gatherings called “Learning Labs”. Quarterly pastors gather Wednesday through Friday (year 1) or Thursday through Friday (year 2) from 8:30-4:30 and Renewal Lab teams join on Saturday from 9:30-3:30. Regional cohorts (cohorts beyond a three hour driving range of Calvin Seminary) meet quarterly on an overnight Thursday through Friday pastor’s retreat with Renewal Lab teams joining on Saturday. Each summer a new Lab rotation begins with the following themes:

lab5Lab 1: Lead (June, year 1)
leadership for renewal

Lab 2: Begin (October, year 1)
essentials of renewal

Lab 3: Tell (January, year 1)
gospel-telling for renewal

Lab 4: Form (March, year 1)
faith formation in renewal

 Lab 5: Mobilize (June, year 2)
engaging in renewal

 Lab 6:  Bless (October, year 2)
justice & mercy in renewal

 Lab 7:  Continue (January, year 2)
sustainability and renewal

 Lab 8:  Celebrate (March, year 2)
stories of renewal

The Renewal Lab Staff

Administrative Leadership

Three persons guide the administrative oversight of the lab

Rev. Keith Doornbos…Project Director (phone: 616-566-4413)

Dr. Cory Willson…Director of the IGCPR

Bernita Tuinenga…Coaching Director

Teaching and Creative Team

A four person teaching and creative team does the core teaching for the labs along with guest lectures from across North America providing additional insight into the renewal journey.

        Rev. Keith Doornbos

Pastored a century-old congregation through a two-decade renewal journey and now serves as the CRL director

         Rev. Larry Doornbos

An experienced church planter and gifted teacher who launched the vibrant faith community of Evergreen Ministries in Hudsonville, MI where he presently pastors

          Rev. Scott VanderPloeg

The innovative pastor of Sunlight Church in Port St. Lucie, FL which is on a decade long renewal journey which has led to a large number of adult baptisms and several church plants.

   Rev. Kris Vos

A successful church planter who recently began renewal leadership of a congregation that has lost 90% of its membership.  Kris has had a life-long passion for renewal.

Registration for the Renewal Lab

Registration for the new cohort launching each June opens September 1 and closes April 30. A maximum of 12 churches are admitted into each cohort.  When the maximum number of churches enrolls enrollment closes.

Qualifications for registration:

  • A desire to be more mission-focused in all aspects of ministry
  • A willingness to invest energy and prayer into a visioning process
  • A board of elders or council willing to take risks attendant to change
  • A committed core of individuals willing to serve on a renewal team
  • A believe that Christ can use your congregation to make a redemptive difference in your community and beyond.

Costs of registration:

Churches are asked to pledge what they are able towards the actual cost of the Church Renewal Lab which is $6,000/year for each church.  The minimum contribution is as follows:

Churches 100 or fewer in worship attendance            $2,500
Churches 100-200 in worship attendance                    $3,000
Churches 200 or more in worship attendance             $3,500

A variety of resources are available to help financially struggling congregations.  No church should choose not to participate based solely on finances.  Please contact Keith Doornbos to discuss this further.

Payments are made on a quarterly basis with invoices sent just prior to each learning lab.

Participating Congregations

To date the following congregations have participated in the Church Renewal Lab

FIRST COHORT (June 2013 – June 2015)

Congregation Coach Location Pastor CTS Intern
Immanuel Hudsonville Bob Huisman Shelby Gemmen
West Olive West Olive Jonathan DeRuiter Jonathan DeRuiter
Gateway Zeeland John Aukema
Providence Holland Keith Doornbos
Three Rivers Three Rivers Tim Raakman
Graafschap Holland Stan Scripps Scott VanVoorst
14th Street Holland Marv Hofman
Hamilton Hamilton Jake Porter
Mayfair Grand Rapids Elaine May Elaine May, Dan & Betsy DeVries
Ideal Park Grand Rapids Evan Keerema
Fairway Jenison David Den Haan


SECOND COHORT (June 2014 – June 2016)

Congregation Coach Location Pastor CTS Intern
First Hudsonville Dave Jolman
Spring Lake Spring Lake Drew Sweetman
West Leonard Grand Rapids Neil Jasperse
Hope Grandville Dale Fopma Kendall Everett
Palos Heights Palos Heights, IL Greg Janke
Baldwin Street Jenison Jerry Van Groningen
Millbrook Grand Rapids William Hensen
New Era New Era Greg Dyk
Second Grand Haven Duane Kelderman
Fredericton Fredericton, NB Harold Winter

THIRD COHORT (June 2015 – June 2017)

    West Michigan Cohort:

Congregation Coach Location Pastor CTS Intern
Westwood Kalamazoo Mike Koetje
Friendship Chapel Jenison Joshua Benten
Georgetown Hudsonville Jack Dik
Trinity Jenison Gerry Koning
East Paris Kentwood James Kralt
12th Avenue Jenison Mark Bennink
Kibbe South Haven Ken Kruithof
East Leonard Grand Rapids Zach Olson
Park Holland Doug Kamstra
Bauer Hudsonville Tim Holwerda
The River Allegan Vacant
Fox Valley Crystal Lake, IL Daniel Gregory
Ada Ada Scott VanVoorst
Faith Wyckhoff K.C. VandeStreek
Cedar Hill Wyckhoff Chris Pederson
Unity Prospect Park John Dyksen
Ridgewood Ridgewood Mary Stegink
Midland Park Midland Park Rod Gorter
Madison Ave. Paterson John Algera Shamshadeen Mayers



West Olive (West Olive, MI)

“What a difference a year makes…”               (Matt Stob…Classical Visitor)

Faith (Wycoff, NJ)

“The lab has been a blessing for us in that it has helped us to learn, focus, and act in an even more intentional way, which I believe will lead to longer-lasting and deeper changes for the glory of God.”                     (K.C. VandeStreek…pastor)

Mayfair  (Grand Rapids, MI)

“For the first time in years, Mayfair is starting to feel like one church family again.”                             (Derek Atkins…friend of a member)

Madison Ave. (Patterson, NJ)

“The Renewal Lab has been a significant and engaging process to help us get our entire leadership and congregation on more of an intentional and missional track to “be and make Christ-like Disciples.”                                         (John Alger…pastor)

Immanuel (Hudsonville, MI)

“God is using the Renewal Lab as the single most influential planning process in our church’s history.”

(Bob Huiseman…pastor)

Fairway (Jenison, MI)

“The Renewal Lab is an invitation to return to God’s vision for the church and see the glorious things he does in the lives of those who don’t know him.”                             (David Den Haan…pastor)

14th Street (Holland, MI)

“I heartily endorse the Renewal Lab.  We are not far in the process but the sessions for both pastors and lay persons have been rich and provocative”                          (Marv Hofman…pastor)

Hamilton (Hamilton, MI)

“It is in this amazing Renewal Lab process that unexpected blessings are occurring along with new hope.”

(John Byker…pastor)

Three Rivers (Three Rivers, MI)

“Seeing the Lord use the Renewal Lab to transform lives has been amazing.”                                                       (Tim Raakman…pastor)

Unity (Prospect Park, NJ)

“The RL has helped us to take a serious look at ourselves and the programs of the church in the light of becoming more missional. The seminary leadership and the material has been excellent in guiding us in examining ourselves. “                                              (John Dyksen…pastor)

Gateway (Zeeland, MI)

“Go for it. Really.  I’m glad that we did.”                (John Aukema…pastor)

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