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919 Grand Ave
Spencer, IA, 51301


Hope Reformed Church in Spencer, Iowa


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 Beauty 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 pigs 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 married 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.


Kim Smith

Director of Children and Family Ministries

I'm not one of 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.

Ray Meyer

Director of Congregational Life

1966 was the year that I graduated from Everly High School in Everly, Ia. My parents and I attended the First Reformed Church of Clay County. My major was music education at Northwestern College. It was there that I met my future wife, Noreen Schut.

After graduation from Northwestern I taught instrumental music in the Remsen-Union School District for three years. Spencer became our home in 1974 through my association with the Squire Shoppe.

From 1981 through August of 2012 I traveled within a 200 mile radius selling for Modern Business, Unisource, and xpedx.

On August 20, 2012 I started working at Hope Reformed Church as the Coordinator of Congregational Life. My duties include working with small groups and visitation outside the church building. I am very excited about my new position.

I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior through public profession of faith the summer after my first year at Northwestern.

My wife and I have three married children and eight grand children. They all live out of town, so we have fun visiting them in different locations.


Lori Swanson


I have been attending Hope Reformed Church since I was 2 years old. I am very excited to be a part of the staff here and serve my home church as secretary/office administrator.

I have lived in Spencer all of my life. After high school I went to the Spencer School of Business and graduated from their secretarial and travel & tourism programs. My husband, Chris, & I were married in 1988 and have 2 children, Drake and Piper. In my spare time I love to travel, trying new foods and experiencing new locations. I also enjoy spending time outdoors walking & biking, playing games, scrapbooking, doing craft projects, and DIY projects.

I love Hope Church! It has been an important part of my life since I was a toddler. God continues to work in me and through me daily and I am grateful for the opportunity to be on staff here and use my talents which God has bestowed upon me.




I have lived my whole life in Spencer. I attended undergrad at Dordt College in Sioux Center and double majored in Youth Ministry & Contemporary Film & Music. Ever since I was in 4th grade and Pastor Perry came to school and told about his job, I have been drawn to ministry. I have attended this church since birth and it is such an honor to be a part of it's ministry.

I have a passion for music, video editing, and disc golf! I am married to Kristen and we run two home businesses and enjoy spending our time biking, watching tv, and spending time in God’s word.

I’ve grown up my whole life knowing about God, but in college I had a moment where my head met my heart. God’s love is real, it has lead me through some great times and some hard times. I love digging in and learning more about who God is and what it means to reflect His glory. Music is one of the ways in which I feel most connected to God and am so excited to be able to share that passion with God’s people.

Joshua Hamrick                              

Josh Hamrick Website Picture.jpg


I grew up on a farm by Everly, Iowa and went to the CC-E school. I have always enjoyed the great outdoors with hunting, fishing and playing in the snow! I was married to my wife Krista in 2006. Krista and I have 3 kids: Treyton, Javen, and Anna. Krista begged me to go to church with her and the kids for years but I would never go with her. In 2013 she finally got me to go. I remember the preacher kept telling us not to take his word for it but to read our Bibles for ourselves. So after listening to that for a few weeks I took some of our bill money and bought two Bibles - one for me and one for my wife. I had never even opened one before and could not put mine down. God was truly speaking to me! On March 3, 2014 I was baptized and knew that day I wanted a new life in Christ Jesus and try to live every day for Him. On August 4, 2017 my daughter and I were in an accident. She went to her Heavenly home to be with God the one who gave her to me and the Father of us all. She truly loved Jesus. She had a very special relationship with Him. In that, God has led me to the Hope Church.  I have come to serve God and His people. I want to share His love with people and watch Him change their life as He teaches all of us to trust in Him more and more every day. Trust that God is above all things, made all things and to Him be the all glory, all honor, and all praise!