Pastor Joel has been lead pastor of Covenant Hope Church since August of 2017 after having previously served as a youth pastor in California. He lives with his wife and two children, and one excitable dog, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Joel graduated from Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan with degrees in Art, History, and a Master of Divinity. He loves to be creative, listen to (and write) stories, and learn about people and places. He regularly rides his road bike throughout the beautiful Michigan countryside and enjoys grabbing a coffee at any moment of any day.
Chris van Balen started as the Ministry Assistant in April 2017 after her retirement from Western Michigan University in 2016. Chris is a life long member of Covenant Hope Church. Outside the office she serves as a church Deacon, on the fellowship committee, and is a family group leader. She also participates in two women's Bible studies. In her spare time she serves as a Day Manager of the Bibles for Missions Thrift Store and participates in the Operation Christmas Child project. Her other interests are her family that live in Traverse City, including her three grandchildren ages 20, 18, and 15.
Kelsey Graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work and a Minor Degree in Health Education. She then attended and graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan with a Masters of Social Work. Since graduating from Western, she has obtained her full license (LMSW) so she can practice social work in the state of Michigan. While her present full-time role is taking care of her 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter (and a crazy little dog), Kelsey enjoys using her work and life experiences for the Childrens Ministries of Covenant Hope. In her free time, she loves to go for runs, take workout classes at the Y center in Battle Creek, spend time with the family, visit with friends and neighbors, and manage her essential oil side-business.
Troy has been the Technology Director and a 24/7 Youth Leader at Covenant Hope Church since 2017. Before that he served in a ministry called YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in Brisbane, Australia for 6 years teaching youth how to become stronger Disciples. When not helping out at the church, Troy loves to play board and card games and getting outside to do things like Ultimate Frisbee, Football, Hiking, and Kayaking.
Gail is both the Worship Coordinator and a 24/7 Youth leader at Covenant Hope Church. In addition to serving in these roles, she is a full-time high school Spanish and English teacher and a graduate student at Western Michigan University. In her spare time, Gail enjoys reading, playing the piano, and learning about anything and everything.
Ashley teaches Preschool for Lakeview Schools for the Michigan Great Start Readiness Program. She loves to read, run, and spend time outdoors. Ashley graduated from Kellogg Community College in 2015 with her Associates in General Studies and The Arts, and in 2016 with an Associates of Early Childhood Education. She will be graduating May of 2018 from Liberty University with her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education.
Craig is currently serving the church as the manager of facilities. He has made this church his home all his life taking care of it for the last few years. Having been retired for a couple of years gives him more time to do the things he enjoys like golfing, mowing, and his newer adventure: kayaking. Serving others has blessed him in many ways because God always provides for those who serve him.