The next addition to the denomination occurred in September 1886 when Rev. Vorst and Elder Boot met with the True Holland Reformed Church of South Holland, Illinois.
Rev. Vorst served the congregation faithfully for fourteen years. Throughout these years Rev. Vorst encountered troubles within the church and in uniting with others denominationally. Despite the destructive bent of sinful human nature, however, his labors were blessed to the glory of God and the conversion of sinners. By the grace of God, Rev. Vorst was a peacemaker much used of God to build up the church.In 1891 Rev. Vorst accepted a pastoral call in Lodi, New Jersey, where he served for four years before receiving emeritus status. He entered into the joy of his Lord in 1898.
One year after the departure of Rev. Vorst for New Jersey, Rev. M. VanderSpek (1822-1893) accepted a pastoral call to the Grand Rapids (Division Avenue) flock.
Rev. VanderSpek was installed in Grand Rapids under the leadership of local elders. Elder Stokkers read a serm ’ on based on I Kings 14:14, “But what? even now.” Elder C. Lindhout read the form of installation. A CRC minister of LaGrave Ave., Rev. VanderBeck also participated in the ordination.
When Rev. VanderSpek arrived in Grand Rapids, he was already in his early seventies. Less than one year after his installation, it pleased the Lord to release this servant from his earthly labors. Rev. VanderBeck conducted the funeral.
In 1896, Rev. Gerrit Wolbers (1866-1922) received a call from the Grand Rapids congregation, which he accepted.
He was installed in November of 1896 by Elder Arnoudse. During his ministry, the congregation’s official name was changed from “The Christian Reformed Congregation of Grand Rapids” to “Nederduitsch Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan”.
Rev. Wolbers possessed an independent and unique character. He avoided denominational ties whenever possible, though he did assist with the organization of a church in Fremont, Michigan in 1899. Nevertheless, he was privileged to have a close walk of life with the Lord. it was said of him that he was walking with his feet on the earth while his soul was above the clouds. He often spoke aloud to God as he walked. Oh for more heart communion with God in our days as well!
After eight years in Grand Rapids, Rev. Wolbers accepted a call to the congregation of Kalamazoo, and remained there until September, 1909, when a second call from Enkhuizen, The Netherlands, caused him to return to his fatherland.
Rev. Wolbers’ successor in Grand Rapids, Rev. Cornelius Pieneman (1863-1912), was a very active minister both here and in The Netherlands. In 1905, Rev. Pieneman had an increasing amount of spiritual exercises about the NRC of Grand Rapids, Michigan, with whom he had entered into correspondence. These exercises included applications of Isaiah 54:5, Habakkuk 2:20, Genesis 38:25, and the Dutch Psalms 95:3 (Psalter 256:4), 116:3-4 (Psalter 426:2-3), and 121:4 (Psalter 344:4). This was also confirmed for his wife from Ezekiel 12:3-4. Even before the pastoral call from Grand Rapids arrived on September 24, 1905, Rev. Pieneman had informed his consistory that he had to accept the call which would come from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The 100th Anniversary summarizes Rev, Pieneman’s ministry in Grand Rapids as follows:“He arrived in February 1906. The next few years were a period of great growth. the consistory met every week, and much of the consistory business was to consider requests by those who wished to become members of the church. Soon after the arrival of Rev. Pieneman, it became necessary to enlarge the building. This was done by building an extension on the east end of the church at a cost of $1,200.”