Community Builder
Real name: 
About Me: 

I was born in 1953 as the third and final child of John and Elizabeth Kooyman in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My parents were Dutch immigrants who came to the U.S. shortly after World War II. I grew up in Grand Rapids attending both public and Christian schools--graduating from Grand Rapids (East) Christian High School in 1972. I began working full-time for Zondervan Publishing soon after graduating from high school--I had no interest in or plans to attend college at the time. I was laid off from this job early in 1973. After being unable to find "gainful" employment, I decided to attend Kuyper College (fka Reformed Bible College) and ended up staying, eventually graduating with a bachelor's degree in religous education (B.R.E.). 

After college, my wife Debbie--whom I married during my Junior year of college--and I moved to Denver to live and work with adolescent boys who had been removed from their homes by the court. While in Denver, I began attending Denver Seminary—known then as Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary. After two years in Denver, we moved back to the Grand Rapids area where I served a local RCA Congregation as Director of Youth and Education for a year and a half. I then continued my seminary education enrolling as a part-time student at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS) for the next five years. While attending CTS, I was hired as the first full-time Executive Director of Degage Ministries (a ministry with the homeless community in Grand Rapids, Michigan).

I eventually realized that I was not called to "full-time ministry" within the local church and left seminary. I came to discover that my gifts were more in the areas of administration and organizational leadership. As a result, I began graduate studies in management at Aquinas College in GR and then transferred to Western Michigan University where I completed a M.A. in Educaltional Leadership.

From 1987 - 1994 I served as an administrator at a small private college (Jordan College) which closed its doors in 1995.

After leaving the college, I was hired to serve as the first full-time Executive Director of Camp Tall Turf (aka Tall Turf Ministries), a Christian urban youth ministry with a mission focussed on racial reconciliation and youth leadership development. I served in this position from 1994 - 2013.

Presently I am serving as Executive Director for The Holland Deacons' Conference and also as a part-time chaplain for Workplace Chaplains U.S. at two factories in Zeeland, Michigan.

Interests: 

Fly fishing; Reading just about anything that is somehow edifying; Having conversations with friends over coffee/tea/chai, etc; Blogging and reading blogs of interest.