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9 AM Worship - 919 Grand


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10:30AM - The Junction

  Harbor of Hope Room

Meet the Staff


Russell Muilenburg, Lead Pastor

I am a native of Northwest Iowa, having grown up in the small Sioux County town of Hospers.  I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1994 (go Panthers!) and graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School outside of Chicago in 1998.  From 1998 to
2007 I was the solo pastor of Pleasant Valley Reformed Church outside of Holland, IA.  In the summer of 2007 I came to Hope Church in Spencer to assume the role of Lead Pastor.

I met my wife, Beth, at college at a church we were both attending.  Our first date was to see the Disney movie Bea
uty and the Beast.  She claims that she was just looking for a car ride to the mall, but I knew I could win her over.  We have been married since 1994.  We have four great kids: Austin, Kayla, Jordan, and Ellie.

As Lead Pastor my primary responsibilities are vision casting, leadership of the staff, leadership of the overall direction of the church, and preaching.  I am passionate about the church being a place of joy where we can experience the very best God has for us even as we serve Him.  I also love to help people see how the Bible speaks to their lives.  I don’t think God is boring, and so I don’t think church should be boring either.

I am excited about the desire the people of Hope Church have to serve Jesus, and I believe that together we can have a major impact for His kingdom in NW IA and around the world.

Jay Van Gelder, Pastor for Students
I was born and raised in Orange City, Iowa. I attended Ellsworth Community College to get my degree in Hog Management.  After playing with pig
s for 5 years and raising 5000 pigs a year, God said that was enough and called me to youth ministry.  I moved to Arizona in 1996 and became employed as the youth person/janitor at Christ’s Community Church while going to school at Grand Canyon University, majoring in Christian Leadership.  I graduated with my Bachelor Degree in Christian Leadership and became a commissioned pastor.  I was the full-time Youth Pastor till July of 2008 when God called me to Hope Church to serve as Youth Pastor.  I am what I like to call the Pastor for Students here at Hope Church.

Shantel, my lovely bride, and I met my senior year in high school at a youth conference, Rocky Mountain. High, in Estes Park, CO.  We dated for 3 years, and I finally got the nerve to ask her dad if I could marry her.  (Yes, that was the scariest day of my life!). But it sure paid off.  I am very happily m
arried and have two wonderful, fun, cute, and loving little girls named Shayler and Kamdyn, who love hanging out with dad.
 
My Personal Mission Statement is:  To be an influencer for Jesus Christ.
In carrying out my
mission statement, I desire to build relationships.  By building my relationship with Christ I can in turn build relationships with others and encourage others to build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I desire to influence, motivate and inspire young people along as they discover and grow in their faith journey. 

I am so glad God called me to Hope Church to be the Youth Pastor because I love the young people here and am excited to see all that God has in store.  My life verse is found in Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) 
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”
I can’t wait to see what God’s big plans are for the youth ministry here at Hope Church.  I am just so glad to be a part of it.


Jean Blok, Worship Coordinator
I was born and raised on a farm outside of Milford IA and attended the country church, First Reformed Church of Clay County.  It was here that I met my future husband, Phil, who is the son of the pastor that came in 1975.  After riding his bicycle on the gravel road past my farm several times, he finally stopped in for a visit and the rest is history.  We were married in April of 1980.  I attended the Spencer School of Business.
 
Phil and I have 3 wonderful children:  Amy, who is married to our favorite son-in-law Aaron; Emily; and Timothy.  All have graduated high school.   God led our family to Hope Church in the spring of 1994.  We were already well acquainted with several of the families and were involved with the softball program, etc. 
 
I have always felt called by God to serve Him and now I can feel affirmed in that in this position.  As Worship Coordinator, I work closely with the lead pastor on each service with the total planning.  I also organize, order, and plan the music.  I meet with the worship teams and assist them with their needs.  I organize their binders for them each week.  I work with the choir directors to assist them.  I create and produce the projection that is used in the services and the information for the bulletins.  I oversee the sound equipment and recording projects. 
 
I am excited to see how God is using the people of Hope Church as a family and the people as individuals.  It is great to be "used" by HIM!  I believe that if we continue to walk in faith and focus on God, He has great plans for us - both within and out in the community.  It is great to serve and ser
ve Him together.

Kim Smith,
Director of Children and Family Ministries
I'm not one o
f those people who have an "I was born and raised in _________ all my life" story, as my dad worked for a seismograph/oil company and due to the nature of that industry, we were transferred frequently.  I have moved about 39 times, 12 different states (I prefer the ones that have lots of snow!) and attended 11 different schools before graduating from high school.  This would explain my "shyness"!  When you're the new kid that many times you learn to speak first!

I met my very patient husband, Ronnie the month before he graduated from college. The Baptist Student Union and the Cowboys for Christ happened to be roller-skating on the same night and I think my skating abilities impressed him!
 

We have been very happily married for 22 years this spring!  We have been blessed with three great boys, Taylor who is an amazing artist, Reed our extremely social kid who is always on the go, and Graham who counts the days between baseball seasons!  Being the only female in the house of all males has been an interesting, usually rewarding, and quite often puzzling experience for me.  But I think I have adapted fairly well---most of the time!
 
We have lived in Spencer for over 8 years (a really long time for me) and have loved being a part of this community.  Between fun snowy winters and the Clay County Fair, I couldn't imagine raising my family anywhere else!  We have been members of Hope Church for over 5 years and have been busy serving here since we arrived.  I was added to the staff as the Director of Children and Family Ministries in September of 2007.   

I love working with kids and seeing them discover Jesus and what He has planned for them.  Helping kids, and adults as well, find their gifts and putting them to use is what gets me most excited about serving at Hope Church.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and work with the great staff here and the other people God has blessed Hope Church with.

Lynda Schmidt – Office Manager
I have lived in Northwest Iowa all my life and we moved to Spencer in 1978.

My husband and I have two children and one granddaughter.  Our daughter and family lives in North Carolina and our son lives in Oregon.

I’m responsible for performing secretarial duties related to the ministry of Hope Church. Some of my responsibilities include receptionist, preparing the bulletin and newsletter, other correspondence, scheduling events and keeping the church records up to date.

I truly enjoy working with the congregation and staff of Hope Church. I have developed some wonderful friendships. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to serve this church.

Allan Hansen—Custodian

I was born and raised on a farm near Redwood Falls, MN.  I attended country school for eight years and graduated from Morgan High school in Morgan, MN.  After high school I farmed my childhood farm for 30 years and then drove tour bus and visited all 50 states except Hawaii and all provinces of Canada.

I moved to Spencer in 1993 and in 1995 married my wife Ruth.  I worked at Maurer Manufacturing in Spencer until I retired.  I have a daughter Trisha who lives in St. Louis Park, MN and a son Todd who lives in Willmar, MN.  I have 4 grandchildren.

As custodian at Hope Church I take pride in sharing the responsibility of maintaining the church inside and out.

I am excited about my position because I feel I have a closer walk with the Lord and have had a chance to get to know the people in the congregation better.  I also enjoy working with the staff.

Karmen Brown—Custodian
I grew up in Evergreen, Colorado.  Moved to Orange City, Iowa to attend Northwestern College in the Fall of 1978 - and have stayed in the beautiful state of Iowa ever since. I have been a member of the Hope family since 19-- and served in many areas, I came on staff in the Spring of 2007.
 
I met my husband, Rick, at college and we have been married since 1980. We have been blessed with two children who are now grown. But the pitter patter of dog feet will always be heard in our home.
 
As custodians our job is: to keep up the property and grounds; to meet the needs of the many functions that are going on at Hope Church; to prepare the Church building for His people to come and Worship - that is an honor.
 
I love serving the Lord at Hope Church. I love my job and all the folks I work with and serve.