Minister of the Word
Joel has served as the Minister of the Word at First CRC since 2006. Joel is responsible for the preaching and worship ministry of First CRC, offers pastoral care to those who are sick or struggling, and also oversees our staff. In his free time, he enjoys reading, cycling, skiing, and spending time in the mountains with his family. (He also spends more time watching Netflix than he cares to admit.) Joel and his wife have three school-aged children and also serve regularly as foster parents for refugee children. Joel received a masters degree from Calvin Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing his doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Communications + Administrative Assistant
Rebecca J. Schaefer was named after her mother, Jane, a lovely Irish dancer and teacher of Christ's love. Her family settled in Omaha, where her father worked for Peter Kiewit. Rebecca's favorite Kingdom assignment is mother and nanna. Her "Top 5" on the Strengthsfinder: Connectedness, Empathy, Input, Adaptability and Learner equipped her to serve in Caring Ministry (Cherry Creek Presbyterian), and Congregational Care and Executive Administration (Colorado Community), before coming to First in 2014. Rebecca is a trained Stephen Minister, and Spiritual Director. She graduated from four years of Biblical Studies through Regis University, studied at Colorado Christian, then earned a second Spiritual Direction Certificate for Complicated Grief and Trauma Care. She studies Chaplaincy at Denver Seminary. Her hobbies are: Bachata and West Coast Swing dancing, writing, sailing and singing choral music with Canto Deo. Mary of Bethany, and Brunette Becky, "Word Girl" on PBS Kids are her heroes.
Worship and Music Coordinator
Kyle began serving at First CRC in 2016 after graduating from Azusa Pacific University. He enjoys working with the staff and volunteers here at First Church to plan worship services and lead our fantastic group of volunteer musicians! Throughout the year, he also works with tech volunteers, our visual arts team, and our choir.
While not at work, he enjoys writing and recording music, spending time with friends, and hiking in the mountains.
Kyle began taking guitar lessons at the age of 6 and his love of music has grown since then. Over the years, he has enjoyed the opportunity to learn other instruments as well and study music in college.
At a young age, Kyle was diagnosed with a vision disability called Retinitis Pigmentosa. This has been a life-long challenge for him, but he recently received a newly-available treatment that has provided significant improvement! Kyle is grateful to God for leading scientists and doctors to this exciting advancement.
Director of Faith Formation
Bret has served as the Director of Faith Formation at First CRC since 2017. Bret oversees all of the educational and outreach ministries at First CRC and works closely with many volunteers in children’s and youth ministries. In his spare time, he enjoys woodworking, hiking, being with his family, and watching movies. Bret and his wife have two teenage children and an adopted son and granddaughter in California. Bret received a masters degree from Calvin Theological Seminary and a doctorate degree in youth and family culture from Fuller Theological Seminary.
At First Christian Reformed Church, all staff and programs come under the supervision and direction of a governing board called "Council." The Council is comprised of individuals who are elected by the congregation to serve three year terms as either "elders" or "deacons." The elders serve as shepherds of God's people and lead in prayer, care and ongoing discipleship. The deacons help equip and encourage the congregation in areas such as outreach, financial stewardship, service and social justice. Elders and deacons also serve together in teams to provide direct care for members of their regional areas. If you are a member or regular attender of First CRC and would like to know who your elder or deacon is, or to which area group you belong, please contact the church office.
North Area 1
Deacon Suzanne Natelborg
Northeast Area 2
Elder Milt Lanser
Deacon Donn Hansum
Southeast Area 3
Elder Dave Cady
Deacon Craig Lohmann
Chair of Council - Dave Cady
Chair of Elders - Jim DeHaan
Chair of Deacons - Donn Hansum
Programs and Office Administrator
Mark started at First CRC in 2020 and is responsible for the operations of the church. At work, he most enjoys envisioning and implementing new or better ways to drive growth and organizational development. Mark comes from higher education administration where he has served in student development as a Director of Residence Life and Dean of Students. He has masters degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary and Taylor University. Mark is married to Sarah and has two children, Chase and Livi. He enjoys spending time with his family and working out (Ironman triathlon, lifting, etc.). Finally, Mark may be an introvert, but he loves meeting and working with people so don't be afraid to introduce yourself!
South Area 4
Elder Cathy Van Donselaar
Deacon Davina Lyons
Southwest Area 5
Elder Jim Dehaan
Northwest Area 6
Elder Fred Ritsema
Deacon Jill Newcombe