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Extending reach to All Shores

Becky Vargo • Apr 20, 2019 at 12:00 PM

As area residents prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, one local church is standing by its name to extend its reach into other communities.

All Shores Wesleyan Church of Spring Lake will host the grand opening service of its Muskegon campus at 10:30 a.m. Easter Sunday. 

The former Front Porch Wesleyan Church is located in the Nims Neighborhood at 1050 W. Southern Ave., Muskegon.

Lead Pastor Peter Yoshonis said that All Shores, formerly known as Spring Lake Wesleyan, helped plant the Front Porch about 10 years ago at the site of the former Olivet Evangelical Free Church.

“They’ve done some great work but couldn’t sustain themselves,” Yoshonis said. So, the plan was to plant another church, “but the doors just seemed to keep shutting” on that idea.

That’s when the discussion turned to a campus church, he said. All Shores already had a campus operation in Coopersville since about 2012. That campus also offers a 10:30 a.m. service on Sundays at the Coopersville Community Center, 182 East St.

As Spring Lake Wesleyan, the growing church originally had plans to build a new facility on property it owned at the southeast corner of Cleveland Street and 144th Avenue in Crockery Township. A sign, located at the corner for many years, said that it was the future location of Spring Lake Wesleyan Church.

“We originally felt we had to relocate because we needed space,” Yoshonis said. 

Over the years, the church has been able to address its seating, parking and exit needs, thus eliminating the need for the Crockery Township property, he said.

Yoshonis noted that many other Wesleyan churches have built big and never filled the space.

“We saved millions and millions of dollars by not doing it,” he said. “The money saved can instead go into the church ministry.”

By going the direction of the campuses in nearby towns, the opportunity for people to lead, serve and grow increases significantly, the pastor added.

“We had a core group, say 50 people, coming from Coopersville,” Yoshonis said. “During an elders meeting, we sensed with prayer that we needed to campus there.”

The Coopersville Campus started meeting in the Coopersville Public Schools auditorium, but that proved to be too large, so they moved to the Community Center. Coopersville Campus leader Dave Boomgard said they feel closer to the community in this building, although they maintain a close working relationship with the schools.

“We’re doing food trucks with them,” he said. “We help kids pay off school lunches. We do Christmas families and mentoring.”

They also partner with other organizations and churches for community events, have a Wednesday night youth program, and a partnership with Coopersville Cares. With other area churches, they host marriage and focus events.

Muskegon Campus leader E.J. Wood said programs will also come to All Shores Muskegon, but right now they are focusing on getting the building updated and ready for the Easter service.

Since January, volunteers have put in more than 500 hours of work into the 100-year-old building, Wood said. That has included cleaning, painting and any other work they could do that did not have to be contracted. Changes to the building’s electrical, lighting and sound systems have also been made so the church can offer a service similar to the one at its main campus in Spring Lake.

Wood said the Muskegon services will include a praise band and every aspect of the Spring Lake services. The only difference is that a recording of the 9 a.m. sermon, given by Yoshonis in Spring Lake, will be aired on a screen at the campus churches. 

Many of the lay leaders associated with the Front Porch Church are in support of the change and have become part of All Shores, Wood said.

“We have people from Norton Shores, Fruitport and even North Muskegon,” he said. “We have the opportunity to reach people within our own community who won’t make the drive (to Spring Lake). Having the church in Muskegon allows these people not only to worship in their own community, but to also invest in their community.”

Yoshonis said that having church campuses outside of Spring Lake allows the members to go out on their own shores and reach people who are a mess or broken, help restore them, and help give them a mission and new purpose.

“We think that’s what God made us to do,” he said.

Locations and service times

Coopersville: 182 East St., Coopersville, MI 49404. Service at 10:30 a.m. Sundays.

Spring Lake: 15550 Cleveland St., Spring Lake, MI 49456. Services at 9 and 11 a.m. Sundays.

Muskegon: 1050 W. Southern Ave., Muskegon, MI 49441. Service at 10:30 a.m.

For more information on All Shores Wesleyan, go online to www.allshores.org.

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