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Mark Van Valin
I have been married to Linda (Johnson) for 33 years and we have three children.
Kristin is married to Ben Kriesch. They live nearby in Jackson and have a daughter, Abigail (age 2) with a little one on the way. John David and Brianna now live in east Indianapolis where JD is lead pastor at First Free Methodist Church. Andrew is finishing at Spring Arbor University and is studying education and history.
Growing up in Michigan, I have never shed my Michigan sports loyalties. I was at Tiger Stadium the night they clinched the pennant in 1968 and have been a fan ever since.
I enjoy reading, history, music, and fishing. (Catching anything is a bonus!) I was raised in a solid Christian home. My father, Frank, was a Free Methodist pastor and my mom (Joyce) was a great partner in ministry. I was always surrounded by loving, caring people in the churches where I grew up. It was easy and natural for me to trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior from an early age.
I did not sense a call to ministry early on, and yet, looking back, it is clear that God was preparing me for it. I majored in Psychology and Music in college and was preparing to go to grad school for clinical or counseling psych when I served as a youth pastor for one year following college. I loved the challenge and variety of ministry and chose instead to attend seminary. After graduation from Asbury Theological Seminary, I pastored urban churches in St. Louis (6 years) and Indianapolis (14 years) before coming to Spring Arbor in 2003.
I am thankful for God's faithfulness throughout my life, for a loving partner in Linda, and for three wonderful children, all of whom are serving Jesus. I continue to learn how to shepherd a church. The Word of God continues to take on greater and greater proportion and weight in my life and ministry. God has been so good to me.