Craig Aven lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he’s served as a lead worshipper at his church, Grace Chapel for many years. In the spring of 2005, he founded Mercy Street Ministries Foundation, with the desire to bring the good news of Christ through worship and compassion. “Our vision is to create an artistic movement, producing projects that glorify God and generate resources to help those who are in need physically, emotionally, and spiritually.”
Craig has spent time leading worship in the Philippines, Belize and India, and has spent many months leading worship in Mexico with Back2Back Ministries. "It's amazing how after shoveling cement all day and interacting with the kids in the children's homes, hearts are more vulnerable and open to God," he says.
Craig’s ultimate passion is to write and perform songs that encourage, lift up,and move others to experience a life of freedom found only in Jesus.
Craig knows first hand the freedom and joy that comes from following Christ; it is his passion, and it is reflected in the heartfelt lyrics of the songs that pour out from his soul.
The Rev. Dr. Trygve Johnson has served as the Hinga-Boersma Dean of the Chapel since 2005. He leads and oversees the Hope Campus Ministries office, whose team of chaplains facilitates programs related to Christian formation. These include a voluntary chapel program as well as discipleship and mission opportunities.
Trygve preaches regularly in Chapel services and a Sunday evening service called The Gathering. He also preaches nationally in churches, at Christian conferences and at other college campuses. Trygve works closely as vice president with the President’s Administrative Council and Hope’s Board of Trustees on behalf of the Christian formation and mission of Hope College.
He is ordained in the Reformed Church of America, is an adjunct professor of Preaching at Western Theological Seminary, and is the author of The Preacher as Liturgical Artist (Cascade Press, 2014).
· Ph.D., University of St. Andrews
· M.Div., Western Theological Seminary
· B.A., Northwestern College
WHY I LOVE HOPE
Trygve loves the worship life of Hope College. He is privileged to preach at many other colleges and churches across the country, but is convinced that nothing compares with the worship he experiences weekly at Hope. What makes Hope College unique and special are the students, faculty and staff who come voluntarily, eager and ready to worship the Triune God of Grace from their hearts. There is a rare authentic vibrancy to the worship of Hope students that inspires his own faith and calls forth his very best as a pastor and preacher of the gospel of Christ. He loves preaching the gospel of hope for Hope, and to do so in the context of worshiping with people he loves.
OUTSIDE THE COLLEGE
Trygve is married to Dr. Kristen Deede Johnson, associate professor of theology and Christian formation at Western Theological Seminary, in Holland, Michigan. Together they have been blessed with a son, Trygve David Johnson, Jr., a daughter, Ella Arlene Johnson, and a Gordon Setter named Whidbey.
An internationally recognized conference speaker, President Stowell has written numerous books, including "The Trouble with Jesus," "Following Christ," "Simply Jesus and You," "The Upside of Down" and "Redefining Leadership: Character-Driven Habits of Effective Leaders." His life is marked by a deep love for Jesus which is reflected in his desire to value people regardless of gender, race or class; to aid the poor and marginalized; to build a strong and vibrant community where the presence of Christ is evident, and; to govern and lead in ways that engender mutual confidence and trust.
Dr. Stowell has a distinguished career in higher education and church leadership. He served as senior pastor of Southgate Baptist Church (Southgate, Ohio, 1970-76); Bible Baptist Church (Kokomo, Ind., 1976-81); and Highland Park Baptist Church (Southfield, Mich., 1981-87). From 1987-2005, he served as the president of Moody Bible Institute, with oversight over the undergraduate and graduate schools, Moody Publishers, and the Moody Broadcasting Network. Following his time at MBI, Dr. Stowell served as a teaching pastor in suburban Chicago before he assumed the presidency at Cornerstone in early 2008.
"This is where my heart is," Stowell said of Cornerstone. "I'm most excited about being around students in this generation. I want to continue the tradition of this university being a community where students are encouraged and nurtured by the environment and culture. I want students to thrive here. It excites me that God's hand is in it."
President Stowell is a graduate of Cedarville University and Dallas Theological Seminary, and was honored with doctor of divinity degrees from The Master's College in 1987 and from Huntington University in 2011. He serves on the Board of Wheaton College.
He also writes devotionals for Our Daily Bread and has filmed Christian historical documentaries, including "The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire," which offers insights into the similarities between the oppression of Christians then and now, and "The Seven Churches of Revelation."
Dr. Stowell and his wife, Martie, are the parents of three adult children and ten grandchildren.
Steve Carter is a pastor, teacher and author in the Chicago area. He is the author of The Best of You where he invites people to step bravely into God's calling even when they feel the least prepared and This Invitational Life where he calls people to risk themselves to align with God's heartbeat for humanity. He is the co-host of the Relevant Sports Podcast, a weekly show that talks about the intersection of sports, culture and faith. Steve lives outside Chicago with his wife, Sarah, and their two kids.
Reverend Dr. David Desforge leads a ministry to international graduate students and scholars connected to the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Lab. He and his team provide friendship and faith building opportunities to these future leaders of the world. David is an ordained pastor with the Presbyterian Church in America and serves with Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship (an interdenominational mission). The vast majority of young adults attending his Bible studies and spiritual discussions identify themselves as atheist or agnostic. David thrives on watching them grapple with and grow in their appreciation for theism and the Gospel.
After first majoring in accounting and later working for a large CPA firm as an auditor, David returned to college to earn a B.A. in interdisciplinary studies (philosophy, history and theology). He then studied at Westminster Theological Seminary and earned his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees.
Upon graduation, David served with various counseling centers and churches. In the early 1990’s, he became fascinated with starting new churches and spent 25 years forming numerous thriving ministries and training young pastors to do the same. He was also a key player in the formation of a classical Christian school and a center for the arts.
Interest in other cultures and countries has been a theme throughout David’s ministry career. He served as a speaker/mentor with Mission To The World and World Harvest Mission for many years, leading seminars in Europe, Mexico, Africa and Asia. He has also been a popular speaker for retreats and conferences in the U.S. and has a wide following for his sermons ( https://soundcloud.com/Desforge/albums ) and blogs. He most recently wrote Learning To Love Like Jesus, a provocative Bible study for international scholars.
David and Maggie have enjoyed their involvement with social service organizations such as hospice, Stephen’s Ministry, urban community development, Habitat for Humanity and others. Now residing in East Tennessee, they have wonderful mountain getaways with one daughter living in the Smokies and another residing in Oviedo, Spain. As a couple, they like hiking, biking, movies, art, music and a hearty round of table tennis.
Pastor Jeremy H. Upton is an anointed and gifted preacher who is passionately committed to impacting a generation to influence their culture for Jesus Christ. Committed to Christ and to being a Godly husband and father, Pastor Upton is dedicated to declaring the Word of God, displaying a Godly lifestyle, and disciplining people to walk with God.
Pastor Upton is a magna cum laude graduate of Morehouse College and a cum laude graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition, he has also studied at Carver Bible College (Atlanta, GA) and New Orleans Baptist Seminary (New Orleans, LA).
In May 2004, Pastor Upton was ordained under Dr. Denny D. Davis, Senior Pastor of St. John Baptist Church, of Grand Prairie & Southlake, Texas. While there, Pastor Upton, formerly the Youth Pastor, served as the Executive Pastor and Preaching Assistant.
In the summer of 2007, he completed postgraduate study in preaching at Oxford University in England.
Returning to Atlanta for a short time, he served as the Chief Ministry Officer at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, overseeing all areas of ministry, outreach, and discipleship.
Then in 2012, he founded the City of Refuge Church in Homestead where he continues to make a positive impact for the Kingdom of God in the community.
He and his lovely wife Brianna have been blessed with three wonderful children and make their home in the southwest region of Miami.