Dayspring Reformed Church, a church plant under the supervision of New Covenant United Reformed Church in Twin Falls, ID, may have a rather unusual name, but it is rooted in Scripture. Dayspring comes from the prophecy of Zechariah, when God restored his speech after the birth of his son, John, about whose mission he said: To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:77-79, KJV).
Dayspring’s pastor, Rev. Jonathan Van Hoogen, notes how the text proclaims a comprehensive Reformed perspective: “We see justification by faith in the remission of sins through God’s mercy, an evangelical apologetic in bringing light to those that sit in darkness, and sanctification in our feet being guided in the path of peace.”
Rev. Van Hoogen was installed as the church planter for the Dayspring group on May 10, 2013. Rev. Christopher Folkerts (New Covenant) gave the charge to the pastor from John 21:15-19, speaking on “The Lord’s Shepherd.” Jonathan’s brother, Rev. Joel Van Hoogen gave the charge to the congregation on “Spoken and Speaking” from John 3:27. He is the pastor of Bread of Life Fellowship, an independent church in Boise. Rev. Nick Smith (URC of Nampa, Nampa, ID) and Rev. David Booth (Cloverdale URC elder and interim pastor for Sovereign Redeemer OPC, Boise, ID) participated in the service with Scripture reading and prayer.
Since the Dayspring group began meeting late last year, three babies have been baptized and three couples have been married. The group also lost a 90-year-old member who “brought a glow of anticipation to every endeavor of the church plant,” according to Rev. Jonathan Van Hoogen. “We have rocked the cradle and prepared the grave in our short time as a church.”
“Our life together as a church is less highlights and more the normal growth and fellowship of believers together,” he adds. “We have enjoyed fellowship meals and church picnics. We are preparing for leadership by an overview study of our confessions and catechism on Sunday evenings. This fall we will begin a ministry to preteen and teen girls called TRUE. We are developing another program…that we will call Semper Fi (Always Faithful), a mentoring ministry to young men and boys. What all this means is that we are looking to disciple true and faithful followers of Christ.”
Boise is the third largest population center in the Pacific Northwest and has more in common with the two larger cities, Seattle and Portland, than with the culture of smaller metropolitan centers. Dayspring Reformed Church embraces an urban vision in its desire to proclaim Christ to the culture in this vastly under-churched area of the nation.
About 50 people regularly attend Dayspring’s services. The group meets at 11:15 a.m. for worship and again at 6:00 p.m. for family discipleship. Meetings are held in the FriendsChurch at 3102 Palouse Street, which is near the Boise airport and convenient to the freeway, only four blocks off the city’s main artery.
“Church planting to me is really exciting,” Rev. Van Hoogen says. “There’s almost giddiness in seeing how the details of God’s providence play out.” He describes church planting as the “work of the Holy Spirit, opening eyes of people to the gospel. That’s what makes church planting such a joy.”
Although Van Hoogen is obviously a Dutch name, he explains that his grandfather was a Dutch orphan who grew up in predominately Italian and Jewish communities. He says, “Our group is not filled with Dutch people.”
Ethnicity is not even a consideration within the community of diverse heritage, whose focus is on reaching the lost with the gospel. “You can’t preach the law without answering with the gospel…in Christ. As Christians, we need the gospel,” he says. “We’re going out and sharing it in a winsome way. We want what we say to be good news. When I preach, I always ask, ‘Was that good news? Or did it come across as ‘do more, pray more’?”
As the Dayspring group looks to the future with vision, it hopes to organize next spring and become a more active part of Classis Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, the group appreciates prayer and financial support. Dayspring also would be happy to receive approximately 50 Trinity Hymnals or Psalter Hymnals no longer needed by another church. Financial support can be sent to the deacons at Twin Falls URC or directly to the group, which is already registered as a 501c non-profit:
Dayspring Reformed Church
3527 South Federal Way, Suite 103
Boise, ID 83705.
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 14 of the September 11, 2013, issue of Christian Renewal.
Rev. Van Hoogen reports: “Dayspring will be adding nine new members on November 10th and have its first adult baptisms that same Sunday. We are thankful for God’s faithfulness in gathering his people together.”