Betsy and I met in 1984 at Oral Roberts University (Tulsa, OK) where she was studying Elementary Education and I was working on two pre-medical degrees: biomedical chemistry and business. My initial plan to was to go to medical school, practice as a doctor, and then move into hospital administration. I felt like there was a real disconnect between practicing doctors (working to save lives) and the administrators (working to save dollars). In preparation for my future, I began to work at an urgent care center in Farmington, MI. I met some excellent doctors there, and received invaluable training. I had an opportunity to learn how to take x-rays, draw blood, use my lab training to run simple diagnostic tests, assist the doctors in medical procedures, and learn about the bedside manner a physician needs to have. I also learned the behind-the-scenes stuff: how to bill an insurance company, how to protect yourself from a lawsuit, and the like. It was this behind-the-scenes stuff which began to lead me in a different direction. I loved working with patients, but I could not stand the politics and the red-tape. So I began to focus on my business training.
I worked for a financial services company in the Detroit area for a couple of years, and then I joined my parents in Grand Rapids, MI, in a family-run business called Office Concepts. This business originally was a secretarial services company which also offered some limited telephone answering services. As time went on we began to specialize in the telecommunications services, particularly voice mail. We developed a unique service that allowed us to tailor-fit voice mail services to any sized business in any location, without requiring them to make any telephone hardware changes. God blessed our efforts and we expanded from Grand Rapids throughout much of the lower peninsula of Michigan. The success in business freed me up to be involved in other areas, and I especially gravitated toward non-profit, church-related, and para-church organizations. Back to my pre-med training, I was drawn toward organizations that helped people at their point of desperate need.
In 2001 the Michigan District of the Assemblies of God asked me to pray about coming to the District office to oversee their two campgrounds: Fa-Ho-Lo Camp and Conference Center (Grass Lake, MI) and Lost Valley Bible Camp (Gaylord, MI). This required us to move away from Grand Rapids, where we had lived for 10 years, in order to be closer to these campgrounds. For the next three years we developed some incredible leadership teams which, in turn, took our campgrounds to incredible heights. One of my greatest thrills was investing in our team members and seeing them soar! While running the camps we moved to Whitmore Lake, MI, and began attending Brighton Assembly of God. In addition to my camp responsibilities, I began to take on ministry assignments at Brighton A/G, until eventually Pastor Brad Trask asked me to pray about coming on staff full-time as the Campus Pastor. After about a year of prayer regarding this move, we did so.
For three years I worked at Brighton A/G, and I began to feel God drawing us more and more to this ministry of working with people in more depth. As Betsy and I prayed about this more, we felt God calling us to serve as lead pastor for a congregation. I am grateful for the experiences and training God has allowed me to have, as all of them have prepared me for where He has ultimately placed me: Calvary Assembly of God in Cedar Springs, MI.