Why we exist
The purpose of Olivet is to be used of God to change lives by connecting people to Jesus Christ. We are a disciplemaking church that reproduces the life of Christ in individuals through our commitment to God’s Word, to one another, to worship, to prayer, and to reaching out into all the world with the love of Christ. Our ministry focuses on developing mature, growing disciples who are becoming more like Christ. At Olivet you will meet people who are finding answers to the same questions you have: where can I develop intimate friendships with people who really care? How can I strengthen our family relationships? What is my purpose in life?
Who we are
Olivet is ONE church with TWO campuses.
Our “Harvey Campus” is located near The Lakes Mall area in Muskegon’s Fruitport Township. This strategic location is in the fast-growing corridor where Muskegon and Ottawa counties connect. Because we are only blocks from a major Interstate highway, we are conveniently located near thousands of families, and dozens of businesses. We are a growing church of approximately 400 mostly middle-class regular attenders who come from throughout the Muskegon and Ottawa county area. Olivet is known as a dynamic ministry serving predominantly younger families, with approximately forty percent of the attenders under the age of eighteen.
Our “Marquette Campus” opened in September 2016 in the Muskegon’s “college corridor”, just blocks from Baker College and Muskegon Community College. It is in a community that has few evangelical churches but thousands of families and students. We are excited to have an impact on this neighborhood and beyond!
Where we’ve been
Olivet Free Church got its start in 1886. The church began as a Bible Study composed of sincere Christians who were disillusioned with the dead Orthodoxy of their old-world Norwegian church. On August 27, eight families met to organize, not a church, but a prayer group. They incorporated themselves into “The Norwegian Christian Free Assembly” and, for about a year, met in homes. The new church was (and still is) a church committed to discipleship, with a hunger to know God in a personal way, to win people to Christ, and to help each other grow spiritually.
The first building, a small frame structure, was built at the corner of Southern and Franklin in 1889. They called it their “Bede Huset” (House of Prayer). In 1903 the church joined the Norwegian/Danish Evangelical Free Church Association, which joined with the Swedish Free Churches to become The Evangelical Free Church of America in 1950. The language of the church changed from Norwegian to English in the 1930’s, at which time the name was changed to “Olivet Evangelical Free Church”. In 1949 a more substantial brick structure was built and in 1979 a large addition was built with classrooms, a gymnasium and a “fireside” room.
In 2008 the congregation moved ahead with a vision that had been almost 15 years in the making. They purchased a 21,000 square foot building on 10 acres in Fruitport Township and began the process of fund-raising and construction that resulted in the dedication of that building as our new church/location on March 15, 2009. This modern, barrier-free building opens doors for new ministries to people who may have never found us in a downtown residential neighborhood.
In 2016 Olivet was given the opportunity to open a second Muskegon-area campus as the former Orchard View Congregational Church was in a ministry transition and selflessly voted to be assimilated into Olivet in faith that greater and outreach would happen more quickly if “they” became “us”. The “Marquette Campus” was renovated and began renewed ministry in September of 2016.
Where we’re going
In its 129+ years of history, Olivet has stayed true to its discipleship roots and remains, to this day, a church committed to loving the Lord and making disciples. Olivet does not desire to rest on its history, but is committed to the future and to seeing the Kingdom of God grow in Muskegon and Ottawa Counties. We are a church that loves to see people come to Christ, and that seeks to help each other grow in our relationships with the Lord and with each other. We are a church driven by its purpose, which is that “We exist to change lives by connecting people to Jesus Christ”. Because Jesus told us to “go into all the world and make disciples”, evangelism underlies everything we do. We are in the process of building each other up so that we can all experience God in a vital way and see Him work through us to minister in our community and reach the lost.
The addition of the “Marquette Campus” has given us a vision and passion to share the Good News about Jesus Christ with the students of Muskegon’s two colleges. Relationship building with as many students as possible, and encouragement/support to Christian students attending Baker College and Muskegon Community College is our starting point.
It is our hunger to be obedient to God. We recognize that we are His Church with a need to do His will in living our faith in an authentic way. We love the Lord with all our hearts because we recognize the depth of His love for us. Our hunger is to know Him better and to help others discover the reality of His love and the importance of His sovereignty over us. Olivet Church is not interested in building a great church. Our passion is to become a church that is recognized to have a great God. We hunger to see God do things through us that only He could do, so that His Kingdom grows.
Olivet is a member of the Evangelical Free Church in America