I am a native of Northwest Iowa, having grown up in the small Sioux County town of Hospers. I have been the Lead Pastor at Hope Church since 2007. My wife, Beth, and I have four children. 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.
JAY VAN GELDER
I was born and raised in Orange City, Iowa. The plan for my life was to be a hog farmer, but God had bigger plans and called me to youth ministry in 1996. I have been the Youth Pastor at Hope Church since 2008. My wife, Shantel, and I have been blessed with two daughters, Shayler and Kamdyn. My mission statement is to be an influencer for Jesus Christ. I believe in building relationships with others, and I love to encourage and inspire young people to have a personal relationship with Jesus and to walk with them as they discover and grow in their faith journey. My life verse is found in Ephesians 3:20. “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.”
DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN & 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. We have been very happily married for 27 years this spring! We have been blessed with three great boys, 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 12 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 10 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.
DIRECTOR OF CONGREGATIONAL LIFE
Being an introvert by nature, talking about myself is not the most comfortable thing for me. I find listening to other people’s stories much more interesting than mine. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and made profession of faith when I was seven years old. I have felt God calling me to serve Him since then. My passion is helping people know Jesus better and walking beside those going through difficult times. I can’t wait to see how God is going to move in His people!
ASSISTANT YOUTH INTERN
I was born and raised in Fremont, Nebraska and grew up attending First Lutheran Church. I graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2018 with a degree in Psychology. You will often see me wearing red as I am a huge Husker fan, so huge that I was the mascot for three years! I was introduced to Hope Church when the Hope Youth Junior High group came to Immerse Lincoln, where I was an intern, in Lincoln, NE for their 2017 summer work trip. When I was seeking youth ministry positions, I was ecstatic to hear Hope Church had a part-time position opened as of August 2018. I am excited to work with Hope Church! One of my life verses is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” When I was struggling with my plans on becoming an engineer, I prayed to God to ask Him what He wanted me to do. God spoke to me that same week and said I needed to look into youth ministry. I am so thankful God threw this curveball at me and I’m excited to see how he blesses me in my ministry
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 its ministry.
I have a passion for music, video editing, and lawn sports. I am married to Kristen and we own a businesses downtown named Pressed. Enjoy spending our time biking, watching tv, and spending time in God’s word. 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.
I am very excited to be on staff here and serve my home church as office administrator. Hope Church has been an important part of my life since I was a toddler. As empty-nesters, my husband and I enjoy traveling, cooking, and spending time outdoors.
I grew up on a farm by Everly Iowa and went to the CC-E school. I have always enjoyed the the great outdoors 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 3rd 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 4th, 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 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, to him be all THE glory, all honor, and all praise!