Pastor Chris Hall is passionate about the city of Wyoming.
“My kids are the fifth generation of our family to call Wyoming home. I’m a Wyoming guy; these are my people,” he told members of the Kuyper community gathered in the Vos Chapel on November 7 for a twice-weekly service.
He noted that while Wyoming was once a town that took pride in its blue-collar identity, the community has struggled in the wake of manufacturing plant closures and loss of industry. In the past, he added, residents could turn to local churches for material as well as spiritual support, but now many of those are dwindling too.
All this has left many residents feeling lost and hopeless. Hall helped plant Buck Creek Community Church, which launched in October and where he serves as lead pastor, to fill the gaping void he sensed in his community.
But, he says, he didn’t always see himself as a church planter or pastor.
“I grew up Catholic and then married into a Dutch Reformed family so, to me, spiritual leaders were either priests or older guys in sweater vests,” Hall said with a laugh. “I was neither of those. In fact, I used to be a lobbyist in Lansing and thought I’d be governor someday ‘til God broke my heart for my city.”
With the call to serve Wyoming in mind, he and his wife Jennifer began holding services in the living room of their condo. The fledgling congregation moved through several venues after that, from the cafeteria of his former high school to a gym and, eventually, to their current building.
Hall believes his deep connection to the community is foundational to his ministry. In fact, he told his listeners that knowing and understanding the people we serve is essential for any Christian seeking to share the good news of Jesus.
He urged his audience to consider how they might do this in their own lives, whether their ministry is in a church plant, among their classmates, in the workplace, or even within their own family.
“So,” he asked with a smile, “my question for you today is, ‘Who are your people?’”