The Church Renewal Lab invites churches
on 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

Panel 1

Our Story

The Church Renewal Lab was born out of a local congregation’s 20 year experience with Spirit-empowered renewal. During those twenty years critical lessons were learned about mission-focused renewal. In 2013 the congregation embraced a vision to support other churches beginning their own renewal journey. This decision led to a partnership with Calvin Seminary’s Institute for Global Church Planting and Renewal. The seminary has provided a helpful theology on the nature and history of the church, coaches, student interns,connection to churches throughout North America and facilities to house this project. To date, 90 churches have participated or are participating in the two-year renewal journey. Those churches are located in West Michigan, Northern New Jersey, Northern Alberta and the Pacific Northwest.

The Church Renewal Lab is led by six dedicated renewal leaders: Rev. Scott Vander Ploeg pastor of Sunlight Community Church in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Rev. Elaine May pastor of Mayfair Church in Grand Rapids, MI, Rev. Larry Doornbos pastor of EverGreen Ministries in Hudsonville, MI, Rev. Kris Vos pastor of Sunlight Church in Lakeworth, FL, Bernita Tuininga director of Volunteers in Service and Rev. Keith Doornbos director of the Lab and former pastor of Providence Church in Holland, MI.

Panel 2

Renewal Journey

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 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

The Church Renewal Lab is based on:

  • 1 Goal – “Joining God on Mission”
  • 4 Essentials – “Abiding, Vision, Leadership, Health”
  • 3 Step Process – “Listen, Imagine, Do”
Panel 3

Renewal Lab Process

Step 1: Listen (first six months)

In the listening portion of the lab we learn four direction learning.

  1. From above – what is God’s Word saying about his will and his way?
  2. From among – what is the congregation saying about their gifts and passions?
  3. From outside – what is the community saying about needs and opportunities?
  4. From within – what is the Holy Spirit saying about our unique calling?

 Step 2: Imagine (second six months)

After the four direction listening it is time to start to dream and imagine what God is calling us to do.
Renewal Lab teams will 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)

Following the listening and the imagining it is time to begin acting. Church renewal cannot happen if a church never put the planning into action. The goal is that the vision will be implemented in the life of the congregation.  The Church Renewal Lab will walk alongside of your church for one-year while working out of the commitments from listening and imagining.

Eight Learning Labs

The three step process is propelled forward by quarterly gatherings called “Learning Labs”. Quarterly pastors gather Thursday and Friday  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:

Lab 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) – implementating 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

Panel 4


The Church Renewal Lab partners with many different people and organizations in order to assist you through your renewal journey. With these connections we hope to continue to further God’s kingdom through the Church Renewal Lab.

Our Partners include: