Helpless or Hopeful: An Interview with Gary Bauer

Written by WMCN Editor on . Posted in People

garybauerMany of us lament the state of politics these days. Some of us remember better days, when great leaders roamed the earth, elections could be won by either s ide, and good thing happened on the political front.

Gary Bauer, today a leading spokesman for pro-life, pro-family, pro-Israel values and standards, remembers the first time he heard one of those great leaders, Ronald Reagan, give a speech. It was 1964 and Barry Goldwater was running against Vice President Lyndon Johnson.

Eighteen-year-old Bauer turned to his father and said, “That Goldwater will never win, but this Ronald Reagan will be President some day, and I am going to serve in his Administration.” Bauer remembers his father, who had as yet heard neither of Focus on the Family nor of raising your children with encouragement, said, “You’re nuts!”

Christians in Business: Physical therapist trusts God’s timing

Written by Amelia Rhodes on . Posted in People

MelissaA college recruiter’s talk about a physical therapist’s work with athletes changed Melissa (Nephew) Meiste’s life. “When I heard how an athlete could have shoulder pain that was related to a joint in the foot, I was hooked,” Meiste recalled. She graduated from Andrews University with her Master's of Science in Physical Therapy (MSPT) by the age of 23. However, the next few years were anything but smooth sailing.

It took a year and three attempts for Meiste to pass the state board exam. A significant change in Medicare the same year also made it difficult to find a physical therapy job. “That season was a big test of faith. I had to move home and ask for help, which was hard for me because I’m so independent,” Meiste said. She began the journey of learning to trust God’s timing and growing in the process. It’s a lesson that would carry her through the next seven years and into owning her own business.

Meiste worked a variety of physical therapy jobs for seven years, but always had the dream of starting her own business before she turned 30. After getting laid off, Meiste began to go after contracts on her own. She eventually took another job, but the seed for her own company was planted.

A Look Behind The Leader: Tim Carter

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in People

CarterTimUsually the summer months are a bit more relaxed for church music-creative arts leaders. But not so for Tim Carter." We do an intern program here each summer,” said Carter, 43, from his office at Grand Rapids First church on 44th St. SW.

“They go through classes and work alongside us, joining us (for worship) on Sundays as well as Tuesday rehearsals,” he said of this year’s crop of teen and college age students.

Carter is entering his third year as associate pastor for creative arts at GR First. And the internship program is a teaching/training function that Carter sees as part of his ministry, which includes mentoring volunteers and moving them toward positions of leadership.

The New Mexico native is responsible for “anything creative” that happens at the church on Sundays or during the week – that includes drama, music, video and other audio-visual arts. He reports to Grand Rapids First executive pastor Eddy Brewer.

Christians in Business: Counselor weathers storms, offers hope

Written by Amelia Rhodes on . Posted in People

TU_martino_joeJoe Martino believes that changed lives are the message of the gospel. The hope of change isn’t just something he believes; it’s something he’s lived. He now passes that hope on to clients through his counseling business.

In a leap of faith, Martino moved his family to Grand Rapids from Ohio in 2007. After a dark season in ministry, Martino says he was in danger of becoming a “nominal” Christian. It was a pastor’s conference in Grand Rapids that prompted a calling to move his family to Michigan to attend Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

A Look Behind the Leader: Mark Loring

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in People


LoringMarkSecond Congregational Church on Grand Rapids’ northeast side still features the organ as its primary instrument for worship.

“There’s no better instrument to support and uplift congregational singing than the organ – you can use it for a variety of (musical) styles,” said director of music ministries Mark Loring.

Second Church, with roots going back to 1869, has a “traditional-dynamic” style of worship at its two Sunday morning services.

“It’s pretty upbeat – my philosophy is that wherever the scripture is leads our selection for music; and we shoot for a variety,” Loring said.

Christians in Business: Coffee shop owners serve with a heart of hospitality

Written by Amelia Rhodes on . Posted in People

iconWhat started as a quest to find exceptional coffee turned into creating Icons Coffee, Inc. for the father-and-son business team of Rob Betts and son John Betts.

 “John and I visited a few shops. I’m a researcher by profession, and I was looking for higher grades of coffee and custom roasting when I saw an opening in the market for good, gourmet coffee,” Rob Betts said. “At the time, John didn’t even like coffee, but then he tasted the good stuff and realized there was no comparison.”

Influential Women: Sharon Garlough Brown

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in People

SharonBrown5Multiple strands make up life’s calling for spiritual direction guide

Sharon Garlough Brown has multiple threads weaving through her busy life, all of them complementing the others and creating a tapestry that pictures how God directs every aspect of her life.

Brown is co-pastor with her husband Jack Brown of Redeemer Covenant Church in Dutton, where she works primarily in pastoral care and leading small groups. She also offers guidance to about 10 individuals who come to her for spiritual direction. Those two strands of her life segue into additional threads as well.

Brown is teaching half a class on spiritual formation at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. The first half of the class, taught by GRTS professor Jeremy Grinnell, focuses on the theological aspects of spiritual formation. The second half, taught by Brown, focuses on the experiential side.

Christians In Business: Videographer remembers tough times, God’s provision

Written by Amelia Rhodes on . Posted in People

JohnPottengerJohn Pottenger of Coastline Studios understands the challenges of starting and growing a company during a rough economy. What began as photographing a friend’s wedding ten years ago has turned into a successful wedding videography business, but not without numerous bumps along the road.

Pottenger formed Coastline Studios as a side business in 2003 while still employed full-time at a local university. Word of his talent spread like wildfire. By 2006, he realized he couldn’t maintain both jobs, so he began to cut back Coastline Studios. In an untimely turn of events, the university soon laid him off. “I immediately shifted back to Coastline and didn’t even look for another job,” he recalled.

A Look Behind the Leader: Kevin Soodsma

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in People

SoodsmaKevinChurch music directors approach Christian holidays with a differing sense of anticipation than the average church member. “Let’s just say Holy Week is going to be a very busy week for me,” said Kevin Soodsma, director of music and worship arts at Beckwith Hills Christian Reformed Church on Grand Rapids’ northeast side.

“For our Sunday morning Easter service, we’ll be pulling out all the stops,” he promised of this year’s March 31 celebration.

Influential Women: God uses Speaker’s Past to Lead Women Toward Truth

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in People

Cindy5Cindy Bultema never thought she’d be a public speaker, stand in front of a camera, write a book or, perhaps, even be alive. But this smiling, vibrant mother of four is decidedly alive and has done things she never dreamed of.

“God rescued me,” said Bultema. “I said to him, ‘OK, this is your story. I’ll share any time, with anyone and wherever you lead.’ I never thought I’d be speaking, but if God asks me to go, I’ll go.”

Bultema is founder of She Sparkles, a ministry to and for women that invites them into community, Bible study, and knowing God better. Bultema’s She Sparkles blog was voted one of the Top 10 Christian Blogs in 2010. “She Sparkles is a welcoming, safe and fun place where I can point women to Truth,” said Bultema. “Women crave authenticity; blog responses go through the roof when I talk about real things.”

A Look Behind the Leader: Mark Courtney

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in People

MarkCourtney2Mark Courtney is responsible for preparing and producing worship each Sunday at Daybreak Church in Hudsonville. Yet you’ll rarely see him on the platform leading the congregation.

“I think of myself as a painter who is in the room painting a work of art, trying to paint the best picture possible,” said Courtney, Daybreak’s creative arts director.

Courtney is a producer, working behind the scenes providing leadership and direction for the group of volunteers that assists in worship leadership.

Influential Women

Written by Ann Byle on . Posted in People

InfluencialWomenNancy2Life is an adventure for director of nonprofit that sends theological books abroad

Dr. Nancy Arnison sees life as an adventure. “We can seize those opportunities that come our way and fly with them,” she said, “or miss them all together”. She has spent her life seizing opportunities and flying exactly where God leads her.

Arnison is executive director of Theological Book Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing access to educational resources for Majority World theological institutions that are training church leaders who will serve in those countries. Many times such schools are woefully lacking in books and other resources from the West. TBN finds those resources and ships them to the institutions in countries such as China, Paraguay, Central African Republic, and Belgium.

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