For the last nearly half-century, Focus on the Family, through our radio broadcast and host of other resources has been introducing you to all types of individuals with compelling and redeeming messages offering help and hope. Many of these resources are available online or in our magnificent retail store here in Colorado Springs.
Now, I’m delighted to announce that Focus is expanding outside of Colorado to western Michigan and the beautiful town of Holland, home of Hope College.
We’ve just opened a new bookstore there in the middle of the city. It’s called “Family Central,” and it won’t just feature books and other resources – but will be home to an Adventures in Odyssey play area, as well as being used for engaging lectures tackling some of the most pressing and debated issues of the day.
Here is a video capturing opening day festivities:
Isn’t that exciting? If you live in the area or find yourself nearby, I hope you’ll stop in and say hello.
Speaking of saying hello, you’ll want to ask for Brad Hultink, who serves as the store manager. Over the course of the last few months, Brad’s been making friends and getting to know the good people of the city. He’s also been fielding some complaints from individuals who object to a Focus bookstore operating in the city.
In response, Brad penned an opinion piece which ran in the Holland Sentinel, the city’s local paper. Here is the article. Please keep Brad and his team in prayer as they minister to those whose paths they cross:
Holland thrives when people of faith are welcomed and invited to help make a difference
By: Bradley Hultink
Ever since the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte and his band of followers seeking religious freedom and a new life arrived on the shores of Lake Macatawa in February 1847, the city of Holland has served as a unique oasis and refuge of opportunity.
A lot has changed in our community since that first, cold winter, but in the years between then and now, the town retains that same entrepreneurial and welcoming spirit of diversity. Indeed, our city shines brightest when individuals and organizations of various viewpoints are invited to contribute to the ongoing Holland dialogue.
Which is why I’m pleased to serve as manager of Family Central — the city’s newest Christian bookstore and the first satellite retail store for the Colorado Springs, Colo., based ministry, Focus on the Family.
Books have the power to encourage and educate, challenge and entertain — and teach and transform us in ways big and small. While I was raising my own children, my wife and I found many of Focus’ resources to be invaluable, especially Dr. James Dobson’s book, “Bringing Up Boys.”
Any parent will acknowledge that raising children is a challenge and we can use all the help we can get — including books and recordings that promise to answer difficult questions. As mothers and fathers, we’re always eager to find better and more effective ways to prepare our kids to launch into the world.
In recent weeks and months, these very pages have highlighted some objections to the opening of our store. It seems some interpret our presence in Holland as something of an anathema to our city’s history and standing. In fact, the opposite is true. The presence of a faith-based store provides a strong link to the very motivation behind our city’s Christian Dutch founding, which was a quest for the free expression of faith.
Indeed, over the course of the past 174 years, Holland is at its best when people of faith stand to serve others and are permitted to practice and live out their deeply held biblical convictions with generosity, and without fear of harassment.
Conversely, division and dissension are corrosive, alienating neighbors and sowing discord in the community.
We envision far more than a bookstore on Central Avenue — we want to help couples with their marriages, parents raise their kids and provide a safe and reliable venue for both family entertainment and provocative, thoughtful lectures and discussions that will challenge and build healthy and robust friendships along the way.
As people who profess the Christian faith, we embrace the scriptural admonition to “love one another” and “make every effort to live in peace with everyone.” In that same spirit, all are welcome in our store. We recognize that some may disagree with some tenets of Christianity, but pluralism is a strength, and we welcome healthy dialogue.
Albertus Van Raalte’s settlement of Holland wasn’t without its challenges, too, but his perseverance and commitment to the group’s higher ideals won the day — not just for himself and his friends but ultimately, the community that is now present-day Holland.
It’s my hope and prayer that Van Raalte’s admirable example reminds us that good things come when people of goodwill and the Christian faith live out and pour themselves into the task of serving the needs of others.