Crossroads - Staff
Role: My job is to love kids. I am the Crossroads Kids Assistant. I help prepare, organize, and plan so that the Crossroads' kids experience God's love for them each week. I want the kids to have God's truths planted in their hearts.
Best Part About My Role: Seeing the kids on Sunday when they are doing an activity or hearing a story and they truly understand how much they are loved by God is the best thing to be a part of. I love seeing things 'click' in their little minds that are foundational for them to trust their lives in God and His promises for them.
My Faith Story: I am passionate about loving people. I'm not saying that I have it all figured out, but with God's help I am learning how to love people. I want my neighbors, my family, kids at crossroads, orphans, homeless, and the world to truly know and feel God's love for them and know how He sees them. I want God's truths to become real to people and myself.  "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:4-5,10
If I Were A Color: Dark Purple because it reminds me of winter, cool temperatures, ice, and snow. It also looks cute with pink, which is my favorite color.
What Makes me Laugh:  My daughters, Hayleigh and Alivia. When they start laughing and giggling it becomes contagious!
My Quirky Habits: Shutting all the shades in my house. Tinted window on my car. Wearing sunglasses on days with even a hint of sun. Anything to get the sun out! I love rainy, snowy, cloudy, dreary, dark days! Some people would call this quirky, but I just LOVE days like these!

Role: Worship Pastor + Elder
Your faith story? I was born and raised in Northern California. My father is a pastor, and as a result I grew up attending church. In fact almost every time the doors were open, we were there.
I surrendered my life to Christ around the age of five, but really had no clue how to access the power I needed from God to navigate life successfully. So as I began my junior high years I also began a fast and hard search for anything that would give me a sense of well being or lasting satisfaction. The problem was I never found it; everything I grabbed on to seemed to fall right through my fingers. As hard as I tried I came up empty time and time again. But several months after graduating high school, on a foggy day in Santa Cruz California, high on LSD, God in his mercy revealed himself to me.  He showed me just how truly bankrupt I was without Him. He showed me that all I needed to do was call out to him and He would come and rescue me.
That was the beginning of real life change for me, and the beginning of an adventure that has produced rest and satisfaction in my soul like nothing that I could have imagined. There is no turning back and no other option than to live my life entirely for Him.

Role: Women's Focus Team Leader
What is the best part about your role? Getting a front row seat in watching how God is moving and working through our Crossroads Family!
My faith story:  In college I felt a strong call on my life to full time ministry, whatever that may look like.  Over the years God has brought me to depths and heights in my journey with Him that have both highlighted and strengthened my passion for His Word.  I get SO excited to share this passion with others, specifically when God allows me to help teach, equip, empower or encourage them to dive into His Word and grow in their love for it themselves...and then, that they in turn want to share their love with others.  That (and good cup of hot coffee) "wake me up in the morning" :) 
If you were a color, what color would you be? Why?  Ocean blues.  I love the depth, tranquility, vastness and thoughtfulness they convey.
What do you count as the greatest invention of the last 100 years? Why? You know, I'm going to have to go with the mobile phone.  All of our family is out of state, so we love the quick, in-the-moment phone calls that allow us to stay connected.
What is your favorite place on the earth? Anywhere along a wild, untamed coastal shoreline (sitting next to my hubby).
What makes you laugh? Talking with my husband about funny things our kids have said or done and inside jokes with my two brothers. And "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".
What makes you cry? Baptisms
Do you have any quirky habits? I forget to close the cupboards in the kitchen when I'm cooking, so halfway through almost every single one is wide open.  It's actually a dangerous quirky habit because those corners really hurt when they hit you in the head.


Role Community Life Pastor
Best part about my role? I think that one of the best parts about this role is to be given the opportunity to have a front row seat at watching God use people to bring movement and growth in his Kingdom.  I get so pumped when people catch God’s vision for both their lives and the lives of their neighbors.  Nothing in this world is more exciting than seeing someone follow Jesus, grow in that relationship with Him and then pass that on to others...just as they are.  The reality is that God uses simple, broken people who are in process...and it is so exciting to be in a role that allows me to see the dynamic movement of God in a person’s life and in tern see the Kingdom of God grow through them.
Faith story? While I was raised in a Christ-centered home where I was taught the importance of reading the Bible, praying and pursuing a relationship with Jesus, my relationship with Him never reached a point of true depth or focus.  My relationship with Christ was never more than surface level and was always more about appearance and influence than truth and genuineness.  I lived this way for many years and it caused me to become judgmental and hypocritical.  This continued into college until God brought me to a place of complete brokenness...a place where my weak and shallow foundation caused me to walk away from the Lord for several months.  During what has been the darkest time of my life, I felt alone...but God never left me...he was present through all of it...I just didn’t see it. ??In a month that would signal the end of that desert time, I began to see God for who he truly is.  I began to understand his deep love and passion for me, his care and concern for me life.  I began to know His Son, Jesus, in an intimate way.  For the first time, I began to see the Bible as alive, as a story of God’s love and salvation for His people.  Prayer became a real conversation with a loving Father, who desires to know and speak to our hearts.  He brought me out of darkness and into light and He has never stopped revealing things to me about Himself.
If you were a color, what color would you be? Green...don’t know why...just think it is a great color.
What is your favorite place on earth?
My favorite place on earth is Cape Town, South Africa.  I have never been to a more beautiful place...beaches, mountains, wildlife, people.  So beautiful.
Makes you laugh?
Do the Zimbabwean Chicken much better than our American Chicken Dance...but don’t expect to see me do it any time soon.  This only happens when I am actually WITH Zimbabweans.


Role: Pastor of Student Ministries (6th-12th grade students)


Best part about my role? Helping students understand and apply the Gospel to the most broken areas of their lives.  There is nothing more satisfying than applying God's truths to my own heart and helping others do the same.

Faith story? I came to Christ near the end of my time in high school.  God grabbed ahold of me and honestly just overwhelmed me with who He was and how futile my other endeavors were.  I realized that nothing in this world was as satisfying as knowing Him.  It has been well over 10 years and that fact still remains true; God is still God and nothing else compares.

What do you count as the greatest invention of the last 100 years? Why? The forward pass, because it totally reinvented football and provided me with years of entertainment and sadly a surgically repaired knee.  Regardless of injuries, I still love football, especially college football....Boomer Sooner! What is your favorite place on the earth?  I would say it is a tie between Bali, Indonesia and Cape Town, South Africa.  Both places have amazing beauty, great local people and culture, and a plethora of things to do.  You can be surfing some of the best waves in the world one minute and on a safari the next.

Do you have any quirky habits? Sometimes I fear that I am full of nothing but quirky habits; but hey, weirdness is the new spice of life...or at least in my mind.  As evidence of my quirks, one needs only look around my office at the strange objects and the accompanying stories.  Come on in and ask me sometime.

Role: Communications Assistant
Your role at Crossroads? I am the Connections Assistant at Crossroads Bible Church.  I take care of such things as the weekly newsletter, updating the website, designing flyers, and anything else that needs to be done.
Best part about your role? The best part of my role is seeing projects through to completion; I love to be able to check things off a list.  I also love that I get to organize things. I have this weird sense of calmness inside when things are organized (ask me how I feel about the Periodic Table of Elements sometime).  Most of all, I love how I am able to use the gifts and talents God has given me to serve the body of Christ at Crossroads.
Your Faith Story? I have believed in God for as long as I can remember, but it is only recently that I have become passionate about Him.  My husband and I stepped out in faith and moved away from Grand Rapids for a year.  It was during that time when we were away from our families, friends, and comfortable life that we were able to learn how to truly trust God.  It is so much better to trust in Him than to try to rely on ourselves.  My prayer is that in all circumstances I may be able to say “God is good."
Greatest invention of the last 100 years? Spell Check!  I am the worst speller ever, which is kind of funny since my role is communications!
Makes you laugh? My kids!
Makes you cry? Especially since my kids were born, the thought of all the children who don’t have someone to love them the way I love my kids.  

My Story: LAUREN Mlaker
Role: Assistant to Youth Pastor = helping Brandon do what he does best, by doing what he likes least… the detail stuff! But that’s not all, I also am blessed with opportunities to develop relationships with some pretty sweet people in the junior high, senior high and college groups. It’s fabulous.
What is the best part about your role? Although I enjoy organization and helping things run smoothly, the best part of my role is the opportunities for  relationships and getting to know people.  The relationships challenge me, inspire me, shape me and bless me. It’s truly a gift to have this opportunity to serve at this capacity. It is a joy to be a laborer of the gospel of Christ and witness Him at work in lives around me.
Briefly share your Faith Story or tell about a passion God has given you. My heart’s cry is this, “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30). Apart from my Savior I am nothing. It is only because of His grace and mercy that I sit here and write a story of redemption and transformation and of deep love. My love began with a seed planted early in my life. This seed was planted by my Creator and Gardener, the Lord Jesus Christ the seed of His astounding gospel. Throughout the years, this seed has taken root in His love, and unfathomable grace. It’s been amazing to experience through the sunny days and rainy days, times of abundance and famine, His all-sufficient, steadfast love.  My passion is to daily seek a life abandoned to Him as I daily fight and struggle with selfishness and sin. “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
If you were a color, what color would you be? Why? Anything bright and cheery because I like to see people smile!
What is your favorite place on the earth? Sighisoara, Romania. I lived in this beautiful Transylvanian town for four months a year ago and truly enjoyed everything from the cultural emphasis on relationships, to walking everywhere, to the slower pace of life, to following a herd of sheep home to sipping coffee and talking (with lots of hand motions!) with the elderly, and living life and serving alongside some dear Romanian friends.
Do you have any quirky habits? Not necessarily a habit but more a quirky interest- I love accents.  And I will let you in on a little secret- often times when I am nervous, I revert to a British accent to disguise my inner qualms! But of course my accents are not limited to moments of insecurity. I immensely enjoy speaking in accents with anyone who cares to listen or even join along in the banter! In all honesty, I think it would make my day if you carried on a conversation with me with an accent! Consider that an open invitation, I will not judge even the feeblest attempt! :)

Role:  Executive Pastory
What is the best part about your role?  Work within a community that lets Him lead.
Briefly share your Faith Story:  I was blessed to grow up in a home that attended church and held to a set of biblical values.  However, my relationship with God was thin and separated from everyday life through college and into my adult life.  Through the motions I gained knowledge about God without truly KNOWING HIM.  God used a desert season in my life to lift my head to see Him and His design for me - to follow where He would lead - and I will never be the same.
If you were a color, what color would you be? Why?  I have no idea, I'm just not that good with colors...
What do you count as the greatest invention of the last 100 years? Why?  The trampoline, everybody who can use one should have one...
What is your favorite place on the earth? Anywhere my wife is
What makes you laugh? I'm very ticklish, so that does is, otherwise random acts of clean foolishness
What makes you cry? Thinking of my brother Derek.  Or, nearly any story of personal redemption, regardless of how trivial - I cry every time I see It's a Wonderful Life.
Do you have any quirky habits? Lots of them, most odd is my nervous habit of "tapping syllables with my fingers" (9 syllables)
What would your co-workers say working with you is like? New

Role: Senior Pastor + Elder
Your role?  My role at Crossroads is to point people to Jesus.  As senior pastor, I want to see a people give themselves wholeheartedly to the Great commandment and the Great Commission.
Great thing about your role?  Someone once said, “Ministry would be a lot of fun if it weren’t for the people.”  I actually love the people.  It is what I like most about my job.  God has brought authentic people to this church, and it is a privilege to partner with them in the gospel.
Your faith story?  I have parents and siblings who have the “real thing” going on with the Lord.  So I began my pursuit of Jesus at a young age.  However, it was five years into my marriage – a marriage that was completely falling apart – where I “tasted” the goodness of God and His grace, and drank deeply of the Living Water.
Your favorite place on earth?  My favorite place on earth would have to be my home.  I love my family.  However, I absolutely love to travel, and to explore new places and cultures.  So any grass-roots adventure where I am intersecting with the locals would be a close second.
Makes you laugh?  What makes me laugh… people just being themselves.   It probably starts with myself… if we can’t laugh at ourselves, we take life too seriously.
Makes you cry?  What makes me cry… life.  The good, the bad, and the ugly are worthy of tears.

Role: Crossroads Kids Director
Job description: My role at Crossroads is to make sure that everything we plan, purpose and propose to do for our children is an intentional, prayerfully considered fulfillment of the Crossroads Kids mission statement: Our community contagiously reflecting the love and truth of Jesus to kids.
The best part about your role? The absolute best part of my job is being in the Crossroads Kids hall on Sunday morning to see all the planning and hard work of the previous week fall into place and to see God show up and draw these kids to himself in a supernatural way … it is such a privilege and a blessing.
Your passion? God has given me three main passions and pursuits as I have journeyed with Him. The first is my husband Rod. I would not trade our experiences together in ministry for anything. Through all of the ups and downs, God has been and always is so faithful. I have been awestruck by how He shows up and takes over leaving me speechless time and time again. The second passion is my awesome three children who have revealed myself to me and taught me so much about God. They are an incredible gift. The third passion that God has granted me is ministry. He has enlarged my heart in surprising  ways as I have journeyed with Him and the thought that He would entrust Crossroads Kids to me is both sobering and encouraging. I love this church and its children !
If you were a color? If I were a color, I would like to be blue. Blue is refreshing and peaceful while being both reflective and lively at the same time.
Greatest invention? The vacuum cleaner, because life is messy.
Favorite place on earth? My favorite place is on earth is the Aegean Sea … the blue of the water is inspiring and the mountains that rise out of it are awesome.
Any quirky habits? I cannot smell anything, ever, and never have been able to, and I could eat Middle Eastern food 24/7.

Role: Worship Pastor
What is your role at Crossroads?I get the awesome opportunity to lead in worship every Sunday morning. I work closely with Greg Dempster and Jessi Wetherbee to ensure that our bands are full of talented worshipers who are ready to lift high the name of Jesus through song.
I also lead the Crossroads College Ministry. With the help of Lauren Mlaker, I plan and prepare our weekly gatherings where college students in the area can come and pursue Christ through worship and God’s Word.
What is the best part about your role? Two of the things I like to do most in the world are play guitar and study the bible. My role at Crossroads requires me to do both!
Briefly share your Faith Story or tell about a passion God has given you. I was raised in the Catholic church, which provided me with a great knowledge of God, but I never knew what any of that knowledge had to do with. It wasn't until I was in high school that, with the help of two specific people (one of those people happens to be my lovely wife), the Holy Spirit help me realized that all the truths I knew about God were meant to lead to a relationship with him. I gave my life over to Jesus when I was 15 and since then have been passionately going after him

What is your favorite place on the earth? I had the opportunity to go to Israel with a trip led by Rod VanSolkema, and would have to say that the shore of the Sea of Galilee beats any other spot I have been to.
What makes you laugh? I would say that my wife and daughters make me laugh the most.  There is always something fun coming out of those girls mouths!
Do you have any quirky habits? I am always playing with my wedding ring. It’s a miracle I haven’t lost it yet. I take it off my finger and flip it around countless time each day.



My Story:  Jessi Wetherbee
Role: Worship Assistant to the Worship Pastors
What is the best part about your role at Crossroads? I love details, organization and lists! I can remember the little girl in me playing office and organizing all the time. :) Now, it’s the real thing!  So any way I can help Greg and Will with the detail stuff to allow worship to run smoothly, brings joy to my heart!
What is something you are passionate about?  Worship is my passion!  It is one of the closest ways I connect with God.  Since the age of 5, music has been core to who I am - it is my second language.  It wasn't until I rededicated my life to God at the age of 17 that I used my passion for music in the form of worship.  From this place has grown a deep desire in me to see a generation of people that worship God wholeheartedly, in Spirit and in truth like it talks about in John 4.
What is your favorite place on earth? Hmmmm… Can you have a favorite place that you’ve never been to??!  If so, mine would be Africa. The people and culture intrigue me. The orphans there have a special place in my heart.  And when I think of Africa, I think of vivid colors and beautiful smiles!  Someday, I hope to live there!
What makes you cry? With my empathetic and passionate personality, lots of moments make me cry. It is the beautiful moments that take my breath away, the moments that are with sorrow, and the moments where I’m so filled with joy that tears fall!
Do you have any quirky habits? When there is music on, I’m singing.  If there isn’t music on, I’m still singing.  Basically, there is always a tune running through my head, which I can’t keep silent - gotta sing it out!!!

The Gospel changes people from the inside out. Christ gives us a radically new identity, freeing us from both
self-righteousness and self-condemnation.