Profile in Mission: Rob Link, pastor of The River
Third Reformed Church (Kalamazoo), Southwest Michigan Classis, Synod of the Great Lakes
What Need Is God Showing Us?
"We have seen a huge need for a Christ-centered community where brokenness is in the open, where all people acknowledge their need for help and health," says Rob Link, a church planter and pastor at The River in Kalamazoo, Michigan. "There is a need for people to have a place to just belong, where they can in time believe in Jesus and by his grace become all he intended for then to be."
What Is God Telling Us to Do?
The River, a new church started in 2004, is a multisite church that meets in three locations but has a single consistory, budget, and vision. The River has a vision for starting additional satellite sites and planting churches across Kalamazoo to meet the needs of hurting people.
How Are We Doing What God Is Asking?
The River ministers to homeless and impoverished people. It runs recovery groups, helps with a street ministry, and works with the local gospel mission. The church also has a vibrant small-group ministry and dedicates 12 percent of its budget to help people outside of the congregation. These ministries enfold seekers and new believers, and 75 people were baptized in the last half of 2007.
Who Are the River's Partners?
The River was planted by Third Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Third, a church that's more than one hundred years old, has more than 2,000 members. It has also planted New Community Church in Lawton, Michigan, and North Point Community in Plainwell, Michigan. The River also receives support from the Classis of Southwest Michigan and the Synod of the Great Lakes.
Up Close and Personal
Rob Link became passionate about communicating the gospel when he was just a boy. He began preaching when he was 18, and he has worked as a youth pastor, an associate minister, and a campus minister. He is also passionate about reaching people who are far from Christ and wouldn't be comfortable in a traditional church setting. Rob has degrees from Ferris State University and Western Theological Seminary. He is married to Kristy. They have five children: Jake, Max, Zeke, Reese, and Elyse.