He ( the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23 ) had his rod and his staff. The staff was a long crooked stick. Always the shepherd walked with it in his hand, and, when a sheep showed signs of straying, he would stretch it out and pull them back with the crook. He carried the rod at his belt. It was a stout piece of wood, perhaps three feet long, with a lump of wood the size of an orange at one end of it. With this the shepherd fought the battles of the flock, using it to drive off wild beasts and to defend the flock against the robbers who would steal the sheep. – taken from William Barclay’s commentary, Jesus As They Saw Him.
PASTOR John Lowder came to Frontline in 1996 as an assistant to the former Senior Pastor, and currently serves as Pastor of Preaching and Worship. John grew up as the son of a pastor, and even though he had many great experiences as a “PK” never felt God’s call on his life to become a pastor himself. After starting a degree in business management, God changed his heart toward vocational ministry, which led him to change majors during his junior year. He graduated from Grace Bible College in 1998 with a Bachelor of Theology degree in Pastoral Ministry, and can’t imagine NOT being a pastor now. Even though pastoral ministry can be stressful and exhausting at times, being used by God to bring the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to someone is all the motivation he needs to keep serving. John married Melinda in 1998, and has seen their marriage just keep getting better every year. They are blessed to have two children – Jared and Mallory – and have been so blessed to live and serve in the Byron Center community.
DIRECTOR OF YOUTH MINISTRY Caleb Grund moved from Minnesota to Michigan in the fall of 2012 to pursue a Business Management degree from Grand Valley State University and immediately became involved with Frontline through his family ties. He’s the nephew of Michelle Campos; cousin of Nathan Campos. He has an evident heart for youth ministry, and spent the summer of 2016 interning under former Youth Pastor Dwayne Huff. He’s been active in one of our NextStep discipleship groups for over three years, and has been leading his own discipleship group – three of our current high school guys – for over two. We’re excited to see where his heart and energy will lead our students.
OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR Bev Blando has been working in the church office for over 10 years. She started back in the days of Pastor Jack Dean, when John Lowder was just an intern who she shared a phone and a computer with, using an old 6 foot folding-table as a desk. Her goal then was simply to take some of the mundane off their plates. Today she serves as Frontline’s office administrator, and still enjoys using her organizing skills and the “interaction with our unique family” for the betterment of the church.
BUILDING MANAGER Lynn Thomas has attended Frontline since 1998, serving as its custodian for the last 7 years. He also serves on the church board, the men’s leadership team, and as the coordinator for Coached by Christ. Being “retired” and having four children and eight grandchildren, in addition to being on staff and volunteering in several leadership positions here at Frontline more than keeps him busy. Lynn has also served in the military and worked in municipal government his whole life, providing him with a unique experience which helps him to better know and understand people. He believes relationships are the key factor in life providing the opportunity to influence and impact people for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and that being a follower of Christ means being a servant leader as He was.