Jack Kooyman

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.

I presently serve as Executive Director for The Holland Deacons' Conference


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

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What Changes for Deacons?

Instead of functioning largely as "lone rangers", the approved changes invite deacons to equip and provide opportunities for members of the congregation to participate in diaconal work. 

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Updated Deacon Job Description

Here is an updated version of a job description for deacons in the CRC. Use it as a template to develop or update a job description for deacons from your congregation and in your particular setting and context.

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A Letter From 1939 About Deacons

76 years ago a humble deacon from Neerlandia, Alberta, clearly expressed his concerns and challenged his church to examine the importance of the role of deacons. Check out his letter...

  • Thanks for your good and important work as well as your comments here, Mark. I am not surprised, however--I presume you aren't either--that the push-back and criticism would be strong and at times...

  • Thank you for this prayer! I will share and pray it with others. Shalom!

  • Presently reading the following books:

    Poverty of Spirit by Johann Baptist Metz

    To Alter Your World: Partnering with God to Rebirth Our Communities by Michel Frost and Christiana...

  • Greetings! I live in Grand Rapids and work in Holland, MI.

  • This is the most recent version of this slide presentation. I also included a link to the Google docs version.

  • What a great idea and resource! Do you happen to know whether and how Zach was included in the decision-making process about doing this? While it is a great idea, I think anything that involves...

  • Thanks, Corey. I look forward to it and will share this with a few others who might be interested as well.

    posted on: Prayer: Why Bother
  • Wow! Talk about leaving us hanging! Did you intend for this to be a teaser? It certainly felt that way to me. Not to mention that I am fairly certain that some people, especially those searching...

    posted on: Prayer: Why Bother
  • Thanks for sharing this information and making deacons and others aware of the resources already available to support them in their increasingly important work and responsibilities in today's...

  • Thank you, Shannon, for this important reminder that justice is something we do and pursue, not merely talk about. Your post made me think of Isaiah 58 where God seems to make pretty clear that...