I came to Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church in September 2008. My main responsibilities include offering guidance and vision for the educational and discipleship ministries of the church; preaching and teaching; working with worship planners and musicians to plan weekend worship services; leading worship and making music and working alongside ECRC staff in areas of children's ministry, small group ministry, adult education and the care of the sick and homebound.
Shortly before I was born, my family moved from Western Springs, Ill., to Grand Rapids, Mich. I grew up within the Shawnee Park Christian Reformed Church family and attended Christian schools. In fact, it was my pastor at Shawnee Park who first suggested that God was calling me to the pastorate-when I was in fourth grade. For many years, however, I was determined to pursue a career in classical music as a bassoonist. But while at Calvin College, God directed me to ministry, and I set aside my bassoon and concentrated on piano, voice, and music composition, all skills that could be used to strengthen congregational singing and community.
My ministry experience began at age 18 as a part-time youth and music minister at Shawnee Park church in 1991-the same year Sarah Boot and I got married. My ministry life continued during my college years when I became part of a team that started an alternative worship experience called the LOFT (Living Our Faith Together). It was a student-led ministry designed to appeal to other college students, young people and residents of the downtown area of Grand Rapids.
After I graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids in 1994 and from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1999, I accepted a position as the Worship and Arts pastor for Granite Springs CRC in Rocklin, Calif. My responsibilities included leading teams of volunteers in worship planning, music, audio and video technology, drama and intercessory prayer. I also gained valuable experience by participating in the teaching and preaching ministries of the church.
In 2004 I was called to Ludington, Mich., to plant a church-Lakeside Chapel-with an old friend from the LOFT ministry. This was an exciting period of seeing God work: people came to Christ more often than I had ever seen before; we baptized people in Lake Michigan (which is the ultimate joy!); and we saw bored Christians rediscover their "first love" for Jesus and develop their relationship with him in this church community.
Seemingly out of nowhere-amid all this excitement-we sensed God calling us to a new adventure. So, from Lakeside Chapel, Sarah and I-along with our two children, Anastasia and William, moved to ECRC.
In my years of ministry, I've discovered that to be a healthy person and pastor, I need to spend significant time and energy in music, leadership, preaching ministry, and developing relationships through which discipleship and pastoral care can naturally occur. I believe the cord that binds those threads together is his call to bring the joy of Jesus to the dark places of human life.
The love of God offers a unique path: namely, to give up on both our badness and our goodness and be transformed by Jesus into something NEW. I've had the pleasure of seeing the changes that God works in human lives: saving marriages, uncovering gifts, encouraging generosity, growing patience, developing faithfulness, even making reconciliation possible.
I have given my life and career to Jesus. The understanding that God's chief order of business is the renovation of the world that he loves motivates me to deepen my personal union with Christ. This is why I read Scripture, why I pray, why I fast, why I study, why I hone my skills in music and ministry. I want my life to be maximally fruitful in the growing of God's Kingdom.
Phone: (630) 600-5030