Community Builder
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.


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.

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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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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...

Newsletter or Periodical
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World Renew Newsletter for Deacons

World Renew is offering an online newsletter just for deacons known as Deacons Link to which you can subscribe for free. This issue of the Deacons Network is providing readers with a copy of the November issue as a sample of what you will receive when you sign up.

  • 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...

  • Perhaps as troubling, if not even more so, are the excuses and explanations made by so many supporters of this president for not only his language, but also many if his views on and about...

  • Here's an easy and shortened link to copy and share the 2016 Form for the Ordination of Elders and Deacons:   (the link to to the form in the job descriptions...

  • Thank you, Danielle, for providing some helpful background and perspective on the Synod discussion about articles on Do Justice. Thanks too for encouraging us to listen, dialog with, and learn...

  • Thanks so much for these resources and information about this year's Disability Week. Hopefully, pastors, worship planning teams, church educational leaders and others will use and share this so...

  • I highly recommend doing a search right here on The Network section for Deacons on the subject. There have been a relatively large number of posts, at least one webinar and resources--including...

  • A lot of good resources and suggestions have already been shared here. The Network site for deacons itself contains a wealth of information, ideas and resources. Simply type in what you're looking...

  • Thank you for sharing your perspectives and insights with us regarding the recommendations from the Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon. I also appreciate that you took time to...

  • Thanks for sharing this with our readers Bernita! I especially appreciate that you acknowledge that we are all equally broken and need to extend Christ's mercy to others just as Christ has shown...

    posted on: Grace or Disgrace