Satellite Church Ready for Lift-Off

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in People

CaldasLeoLeo Caldas is excited to be in on the ground floor of a brand new worshiping community.

The Brazilian native and local college student is the worship leader for the launch of the Wyoming satellite campus of Kentwood Community Church (KCC).

“I started at Kentwood as a volunteer, and then an intern and then was officially hired for this new position,” said Caldas, 22, a worship arts major at Grace Bible College.

The first worship at their facility - the former Wyoming Adult & Community Education. building at 2950 Clyde Park - is at 11 a.m. Sun. Oct. 6.

A major gift allowed KCC to purchase the building, and they’ve been working on interior renovations in preparation for the launch.

The associate pastor for the KCC Wyoming campus is Chase Stancle, who is transferring from the Kentwood campus.

“There are classrooms here we’ll be using for children and student ministries but some will be dedicated to adult activity,” said Stancle.

“But they’ll be other space we hope to use for meetings or for businesses….we really want to be as connected and engaged as possible with the community.”

There are also some other churches beginning ministries in the area this fall and perhaps they can share some of the space, he added.

They’ve already made some community connections. Volunteers hosted a parking lot sale/car wash in early September as a way to help get out the word about their soon-to-begin church. The event piggy-backed on the neighboring Rogers Lane Association sale held the same day.


The venture is not a new church plant. It is a satellite model, which means it’s directly linked to KCC and will carry its name. The message/teaching portion of worship will be on video, taped at the Saturday evening service back in Kentwood. But music, prayers, announcements and everything else is live at the new site.

Caldas in his part-time role is responsible for all the music and will begin with worship team members from the Kentwood campus.

“I will be singing and playing and running rehearsals,” said Caldas, who formerly was a volunteer in Hispanic ministry at Grand Rapids First on 44th St.

Brant Porter, pastor of worship arts at KCC had been Caldas’ mentor and continues as his supervisor.
Stancle is pleased with Caldas and is upbeat about the new location.

“Leo has an amazing heart as well as gifts to lead people authentically in worship,” he said.

“And he’s a real good people person and connects well with the congregation as well as community."

Caldas is tri-lingual. His first language is Portuguese, but he also speaks Spanish and English.

“We know given the demographics of Wyoming that Spanish will be a large part of our worship – whether it’s singing or prayer time or sermons (which will have optional Spanish translations), and that various Hispanic cultures be represented,” Stancle added of the multicultural component of KCC’s mission.

The supportive satellite model is bringing more than a hundred regular attendees of Kentwood Community who have pledged to make Wyoming their primary worship location.


Caldas first came to the U.S. in January of 2012 – 10 years after a Grand Rapids-area uncle had applied for a “green card” for the entire family, including Caldas’ parents (who are pastors) and brother.

Leo had investigated Grace Bible College, where a family friend was an instructor, and decided to come here to enroll. He came to the U.S with his high school-age brother. His parents, still pastors in Brazil, come for visits several times a year.

“I try to take care of my brother and do the parent stuff,” he said of his brother, a student at Potter’s House Christian School in Wyoming.

Leo even left a girlfriend of four years behind in Brazil to come to West Michigan.

“We were about to get married when we got that letter (approving his visa),” he said.

“We thought it would be better to wait, because we definitely see this as God’s will for our lives.”

Caldas heard from a college instructor about the possibility of working with KCC. He connected with Porter, who early this year was searching for a worship leader for the developing Wyoming site.

He had long been involved with music and was leading youth worship in Brazil and giving music lessons when he left for West Michigan.


Stancle says he will continue some work in his former worship arts area. But much of his time will be in the “shepherding” ministry, connecting with people, following-up inroads into the community and making sure a welcoming and inviting atmosphere is consistently maintained.

Excitement is building as the launch approaches. There’s even a countdown “clock” on its website,

“We get to sit back and be part of what God is doing in Wyoming,” Stancle said.

“Not necessarily to lead out with our initiative and our plans, but leading out with faith because that’s what we’ve really got right now – a bunch of faith and some willing people.”
Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

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