Meet the Coram Deo Staff

Pastor Jim Lankheet, Executive Director

Jim’s call into the gospel ministry was defined by the words found in Ephesians 1:23 where it states that the Church is the Body of Christ, “the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” This broad call of Christ to restore all things through his church led Jim toward education at Calvin College (B.A.), then Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and finally to Rutgers University (M.S.W.). He is an ordained minister of Word and sacrament in the Reformed Church in America.  He has served as associate pastor, pastor, church planter and lead pastor and has served in ministry in New Jersey, California, Florida and Michigan.  He has been involved directly and personally and also worked with others to plant churches in California, Florida and Michigan.  He has worked widely with denominational and church leaders to develop new organizations and strategies focused on reaching people for the Christian gospel.  Most recently he served as executive director of a leadership development organization that prepares pastors and ministry leaders for ministry.

 
 
 
Pastor Miguel Cruz, Coordinator of Formation Programs
After completing his Master of Divinity degree, Miguel has served in ordained pastoral ministry since 2004. He has served in churches and non-profit ministries in West Michigan and upstate New York – as a solo pastor, an associate pastor of spiritual development, a worship leader and a program manager at a men’s sheltered housing ministry. In 2007 he completed a Master of Arts in Theology with a focus on Christian Spirituality. Since 2016 he has worked with Jim in leadership formation and church multiplication. He leads a weekly prayer book fellowship, which is under the Coram Deo 501(c)(3). He was ordained as a deacon (2022) and then priest (2023) in the Anglican Church in North America. He and his wife Brien have been married since 1999 and have three children. Miguel is passionate about raising up disciples of Jesus for the glory of God. He enjoys playing guitar and listening to music and is the “techie” of the family. His life prayer is from Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.”
 
 
 
Dr. Chuck Van Engen, Consultant for Ministry Formation
Chuck has served as the Arthur F. Glasser Senior Professor of Biblical Theology of Mission at the School of Intercultural Studies (formerly the School of World Mission), Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.  Born and raised in Mexico of missionary parents, Chuck and his wife Jean founded a seminary in Chiapas, Mexico.  From 1973 to 1985 they were involved in extension theological education, leadership formation and training evangelists for the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico.  In 1981 Chuck was awarded the Ph.D. in Missiology and Theology from the Free University of Amsterdam.  From 1980 to 1985 Chuck founded and administrated “Plan Hebron,” a refugee-relief program in southern Mexico that cared for and eventually relocated 80,000 refugees from Guatemala.  In 1997 he was elected President of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America.  In 2000 Chuck and Jean founded the Latin American Leadership Development Program, a Ph.D.-level graduate program dedicated to forming top leaders of churches, seminaries and mission organizations in Latin America.  Chuck serves as writer and ministry formation consultant for Coram Deo Association of Churches.
 
 

David Beelen
, Formation Mentor
David is a follower of Jesus, husband to Melanie, father to three children, and grandfather to two delightful grandsons. He is also a retired Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church in North America, living in Grand Rapids, MI. David received his Master of Divinity from Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI in 1982. During his 38 years of pastoral ministry, David served as lead pastor at Madison Church in Grand Rapids – a multi-site, multi-ethnic church. In addition, since 2014 David has served as a visiting instructor at Calvin Seminary and works in the seminary’s Vocation Formation Ministry as a Formation Specialist. David has a heart and passion for developing leaders and coaching and encouraging other pastors. His life verse is 2 Timothy 2:2 which says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 
 
 
 
Alejandro Evangelista, Formation Mentor for Equipping Spanish-Speaking Leaders
Alejandro is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America and is currently serving as Associate Pastor of New Hope Church in Shafter, CA.  He is a disciple of Christ, husband to Angie and father to six children.  Alejandro’s call began in El Salvador, his country of birth, where he received his theological studies training.  He pastored a Hispanic community in Vancouver and Calgary, Canada and later planted a church in California’s Central Valley.  Pastor Alejandro has empowered a team from his church to develop a thriving missions program in Central America, which has helped plant two new churches in the last three years in El Salvador and in Guatemala. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 guides Alejandro’s ministry: “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.   Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”  As the Hispanic population continues to grow in our nation, Alejandro sees an opportunity for planting new churches and equipping new pastors to meet this need.  Pentecost reminds us that the good news is given in many languages, and it’s the call of the church to bring the gospel to this population in their native language.  For Pastor Alejandro, it will be a blessing and privilege to empower pastors who wish to be trained, so that they can obtain their pastoral credentials, and thus, be able to witness to the kingdom of the Lord in the world.  May it all be for the glory of God!
 
 
 
Tom Johnson, Director of Equipping Christian Leaders Among French-Speaking People Groups
Tom is a commissioned pastor in the Central Iowa Classis of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and an RCA Global Missions associate since 2001. Tom has worked and studied in Nigeria (9 months) Québec (7 months), Niger (16 years) and Haiti (2 years). In Niger, he conducted leadership and community development efforts in French and Hausa for the church. While in Haiti, Tom trained French-speaking chaplains working for the Christian NGO, Many Hands for Haiti. He is married to Aïchatou, a Nigerien medical doctor and they have four daughters. French is often spoken in their home.
Tom’s training is in rural community development, as he has a B.S. in Public Service and Administration in Agriculture, with a secondary major in International Agriculture from Iowa State University. After working for the Illinois Farm Bureau, he obtained a Masters at Michigan State University and completed the coursework and exams for a Ph.D. in international development before the Lord called him to Niger and the mission field. While a missionary, Tom completed a Certificate in Christian Studies from Fuller Seminary and focused on missiology studies. Later, he enrolled in Coram Deo’s commissioned pastor program – graduating in the spring of 2020.
Tom’s heart is on growing and equipping the global French-speaking church because of his experiences worshiping in Niger and in Haiti. He recognizes the many challenges French believers have in finding affordable Bible training and solid Christian materials and in obtaining needed ministry credentials to lead new and exciting ministries. For many French-speaking immigrants, this task may be extra difficult because of the language barriers in their new countries and their limited time and finances for such studies. Tom wants to help French-speaking Christians become empowered to lead local churches and related ministries.
 
Ben Ingebretson, Director of Church Multiplication and Vitality
Ben is husband to Karen, father to three adult kids and their families, and lives in Grand Rapids, MI.  Since college and seminary days in Minnesota and Scotland (Bethel St. Paul and then University of Aberdeen) he has been a bi-vo church planter, pastor of a multiplying church and served as new church development director with two denominations: the Reformed Church in America (2002-2012) and the United Methodist church (2015-2023).  Over those years he has taken part in the development of over 200 new churches in rural, urban, suburban and multi-ethnic contexts.  Ben feels that one of the primary qualifiers for his role as a planting coach and trainer is the number of mess-ups he has taken part in or witnessed up close.  Each has yielded deep learning and wisdom he can humbly pass on to others.  Ben has published several books: Parent Church Landmines (2010), Multiplication Moves (2012) and most recently Plant Like Jesus, the church planters devotional (2021).  In his down time he loves to tandem bike with his wife, hang out with his growing family and sail the Great Lakes!