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Leadership at First CRC

Our leadership structure at First Christian Reformed Church reflects our commitment to maintain a heathy functioning body. Find out more about the council and staff below.

First CRC Council:

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 "Grow Groups." 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 Grow Group you belong, please contact the church office at #303-733-4936, or email shirley@firstcrcdenver.org.

Staff:

  • Joel Schreurs
    Minister of the Word
    Joel Schreurs

    I came to First CRC in 2006 to serve as Minister of the Word after graduating from Calvin Theological Seminary. Since that time, my primary responsibilities have been preaching on Sunday mornings and providing pastoral care and support to our members throughout the week. I love that my job gives me an excuse to do two of the things I enjoy most--digging into God's word and having meaningful conversations with people.

    I also love that I get to do these things at First Church! I have found First CRC to be a a rich intergenerational family full of people who are eager to encourage, support, and challenge me and my family as we grow in our life with Jesus.

    I consider myself incredibly blessed--maybe even spoiled!--to be a part of this family. When I am not working at church, I also enjoy the blessings of good novels (I'm always looking for recommendations!), spending time in the mountains skiing, cycling, and camping, and above all, spending time with my wife, Jill, and our three young children.

  • Shirley Van Heukelem
    Programs and Office Administrator
    Shirley Van Heukelem

    I am the Programs and Office Administrator, which essentially means that I make sure all the details of our ministries, programs and office are managed, delegated, and running smoothly.

    I have been a member of First Church for more than 45 years. I moved here from Michigan when I married my husband, Cal, who has been a member here all of his life. We feel that First Church is our "home." Cal & I have four adult children and 9 grandchildren. All of them light up our lives and we are so grateful to God for the gifts they have brought into our lives.

    I attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI for 2 years as a traditional student, then moved to Denver to follow my heart. I waited many years to complete that education, but I finally graduated from the University of Denver in 2011 with a Bachelors degree in Global Studies. I discovered anew what a privilege and joy it is to never stop learning.

    In addition to spending time with my family, I love to read - primarily fiction, but I also enjoy memoirs, biographies, and books that teach me something about subjects I am curious about. I belong to a book group that actually reads and discusses the books we read and it is the highlight of each month. I also love to travel to places where I can not only relax, but also where I can learn something new about history, a specific culture, or some interesting socioeconomic information about an area.

    I have been a part of the staff here at First Church since 2005. The positions I have held here have been a good fit since they allow me to use the administrative and creative sides of my brain. But the best part of working here continues to be the people I work with - both those on staff and those within the church.

    • 303.733.4936 ext. 104
  • Rebecca J. Schaefer
    Communications/Administrative Assistant
    Rebecca J. Schaefer

    I am grateful to be serving First Church Christian Reformed Church with communications, and as administrative assistant. My mission statement is... "I am a woman of God who abides in Christ; relies on His Word and receives His children in love and with service." My (blended) family consists of six grown children and 12 grandchildren all living in Colorado.

    Our Lord lovingly provided and supported me throughout my married, single-parent and widowed years by drawing me to local church families, where I served with incredibly gifted staff, in a variety of ways (vocationally and avocationally). Being born a mercy-gifts person, Caring Ministry was a good starting point, and from there I branched off into youth ministry, teaching/mentoring, Sacramental preparation, prayer care, Spiritual Direction and Grief/loss recovery ministries. My hobbies are: reading, dancing (everything from Bachata to West Coast Swing), singing second soprano with Canto Deo and Sailing!

    The first single parent I ever knew was my father, so I have a deep desire to come alongside the grieving, those parenting solo and widows/widowers. I seek to learn more in ministry among those navigating life trauma and complicated grieving, with the supervision of the Holy Trinity and my peer supervision group. A four-year program in Biblical Studies, Stephen Ministry training, two certificates of Spiritual Direction, Grief/Soul Care in Trauma training and over 20 years of serving with God's people in Denver has/is spiritually transforming me. I am excited to be in a Reformed, denominational church again, among people who clearly love God and intentionally care for one another.

    • #303-733-4936
  • Kyle Cooper
    Worship and Music Coordinator
    Kyle Cooper

    I began serving as the Worship and Music Coordinator in May, 2016, after graduating from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Music and Worship. APU was an amazing place for me to learn and grow in my faith, and I am thrilled to now be at First Church!

    A unique part of my story is I am legally blind, with a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. By God's grace, I still have enough vision to do the things I love most––making music, leading worship, hiking in the mountains, and spending time with people. Vision loss can certainly make life difficult at times, but God is teaching me how to walk by faith and not by sight. His mercies are new every morning, as he has provided for me abundantly by surrounding me with gracious people to help out when I need it.

    First Church has been an amazing example of the Body of Christ for me. Here, you will find a fantastic group of people who love the Lord and are full of grace and hospitality.

    • 303-733-4936 Ext. 105
  • Dr. Bret Lamsma
    Director of Faith Formation
    Dr. Bret Lamsma

    I joined the staff of First CRC in February of 2017 as the Director of Faith Formation. This is the third church I have served since graduation from Calvin Theological Seminary in 2004. My positions have always focused on youth, education, discipleship, and outreach. I am excited to be a part of all of those things here as well as we discern together God's direction for the faith formation of this community.

    In 2016 I finished my Doctor of Ministries degree from Fuller Theological Seminary with a focus in Youth and Family Culture. My dissertation focused on creating a intergenerational, covenantal, and adoptive community in the local church. I am very excited to put my studies in church community and passion for intergenerational community together here at First CRC.


    When I'm not in my office I can usually be found reading at a coffee shop, hiking in the mountains, gardening in my yard, or spending time with my wife Julie and my kids Sam and Karissa. I am very blessed to be a part of the First CRC community and I look forward to ministering together.

    • 303-733-4936