In 1 Peter 5:2, Scripture calls elders to "shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight . . . willingly, as God would have you." Missio Dei Church is a presbyterian church. The term "presbyterian" originates in the language of the Greek New Testament and describes a church led by elders. Elders are elected from the congregation to shepherd the church. We have two types of elders: the pastor (Teaching Elder) who is a full-time minister and who does most of the preaching and teaching at the church, and the Ruling Elders who assist him in providing executive leadership and pastoral care for the flock. Together they form the Session.
Paul Vroom - Pastor/Teaching Elder*
Family: Married to Laura November 24, 2001. Our daughter Grace was born in November of 2003. Isaac completed our family in October of 2006.
Personal History: I was born and raised in Pella, IA. I've lived my entire life in beautiful cornfields of the Midwest. I went through Christian schools all my life and became somewhat disgruntled with the Christian faith because what I was seeing the church and schools was not lining up with what the Bible was saying. Needless to say, I did my best job at running from God. It wasn’t until I went to Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, IL, and got recruited to work at Camp Manitoqua did it all come together. I put my faith in Christ as my Savior at the age of 19 there at Manitoqua. I graduated from Trinity Christian college in 1992 with a BA in Elementary Education.
Using the gift of teaching I'd been given, it became my passion to give back. I began to teach at Lansing Christian School. I soon found out that God had other plans in store for me. I was being called out to be a missionary in the public schools. I took on of the best jobs that I had ever had (not including the current position) as a fifth-grade teacher in the Mokena Public Schools. During that time, I got reacquainted with an old friend from Trinity, Laura Van Dyken. Little did the two of us know that God had something in store for us… marriage!
Key People: Laura, wife: My best friend, my love, my constant encourager, my sanity some days. Laura and I have been through a lot together over the years. Through personal struggles and our struggles together, we've come out stronger due to our relationship with God and our commitment to each other. There is absolutely no one I'd rather spend my life with. She is my God-send. Gracie, daughter: At the moment I'm writing this, she's just a young woman (a pre-teen at that!), but there is so much I've learned from her. My need for patience, my need to enjoy life, my responsibility of passing on what I've learned, and just how precious this life is. Isaac, my first son: The Vroom family name will now continue on into history with this handsome young man. He is all boy who has a huge passionate heart! He plays hard. Laughs hard. Cries hard. He is all in! It is amazing how these two children have changed our lives immensely. There are so many other influential people in my life that I could never name them all and stay succinct, but if you're ever curious sit down with me because I'd love to share.
Favorites: Food, especially red meat. A triple grande Carmel Macchiato. A good glass of wine or a very dark beer. A good pair of broken-in jeans and a t-shirt. The sound of my family laughing (with me not at me). Time with friends. Time alone with God. The sound of an acoustic guitar.
Jake Mudde - Ruling Elder
Family: I have been married to my best friend, Shawna, since 2006. We both attended Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and got married shortly after graduating. After a couple of years of Shawna teaching at Timothy Christian School in Elmhurst, we settled in Mokena in 2009. We keep busy on the family front with our five children – our oldest was born in 2008 and our youngest was born in 2015.
Personal History: I was raised in a Christian family, so I grew up knowing God even before I can remember. I grew up in Palos Heights and attended a Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in Evergreen Park and Christian schools in Oak Lawn and Palos Heights, through high school.
I had a great spiritual foundation provided for me by my parents, extended family, and church/school community. I grew up loving the Lord, but also experienced some challenging phases of doubting God's goodness and plan for my life, particularly during my teenage years. It was during my college years that I affirmed my commitment to live for God and seek after Christ in all things.
As mentioned above, I attended Calvin University where I obtained a degree in civil engineering. After 10 years of working as a consulting engineer/project manager in the Chicagoland area, my career path shifted towards finance when I joined Edward Jones in 2016. I enjoy helping clients, with biblical stewardship principles in mind.
Key People: There have been many key people in my life, but my parents were foundational in introducing me to God and displaying to me what it meant to be a Christian. I count it a blessing that I came to know biblical truth and have that codified in my heart at an early age. Marriage has been a growing blessing, as Shawna has been a partner in Christ that I have so appreciated walking through life with. The older I get, the more I appreciate God's beautiful design for marriage and the family.
Favorites: Connecting with my kids, date nights with my wife, hikes and bike rides, traveling to visit family, vacationing, working on house projects, listening to music, reading a good novel, pizza, and more recently raising chickens.
Nathan Phillips - Ruling Elder*
Family: My wife Sarah and I got married on January 12, 2002. We have two amazing girls and one son that have been a blessing to us. Abigail was born on February 1, 2005 just a few days after my birthday and is the best birthday present I have ever gotten. Mia was born March 11, 2007, she is full of life, energy, and has been a source of great joy in my life. Breck was born March 20, 2010, and it has been fun watching my little boy grow up into a little man.
Personal History: I was raised in Frankfort, IL on a street where everyone knew everyone. Some of my best childhood memories are playing games with the neighborhood kids until well after dark on warm summer nights. I graduated from Lincoln-Way High School in 1997 and went to college at Western Michigan University. It was not until I was at college that I realized that I had a choice to make, I could continue to run from God and think that I could do life on my own or I could live into what He was already doing in my life. You see I grew up in a Christian home, went to church and Sunday school but after I was confirmed I did not often give God a second thought.
When I was in college I met some people who invited me to an Intervarsity gathering, I went. It was there that I realized that if I was going to make God real in my life, if I was going to live into His plan for me I had to make a decision. My sophomore year of college, through the help of some key people in my life, my now wife included, I really gave over my life to Jesus and decided that it is not about me but about giving glory to our Lord and Savior. Since then God has provided some amazing experiences in my life from working summers at camps, to being on staff full time at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center to becoming a husband and father to now being an elder at Missio Dei Church. I could not have done any of this on my own, but only by the grace of God!
Favorites: Family nights, mountain biking with my buddies, snowboarding with my wife and our friends, mountainboarding and playing in our front yard every season of the year with my girls, spending summer days at my dad’s lake house behind the boat on a surfboard or wakeboard, seeing my children and their cousins play together and learn together, worship with other people who know what it is to love a God and savior who gave for us first!
* Denotes Elders Currently on Session