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Our Staff

Derek Zeyl (M.Div) - Lead Pastor

Derek serves as the Lead Pastor and contributes to our formation through preaching, worship, and strategic leadership. He mentors our ministry staff and leadership teams and loves to encourage people in all stages of their spiritual journey to passionately live out God’s Story. A student of missions and the church, Derek is a doctoral candidate in missional leadership at Missio Seminary in Philadelphia. In his free time, he enjoys home improvement projects, reading historical biography, cooking new recipes, playing his guitar, and following the Michigan Wolverines.


Caleb Vanderhill, Director of Youth & Children's Faith Formation

Born in Kalamazoo in ’92 and attended Third CRC until 2011, Caleb went to college at Dordt University. He has a degree in Theology: Youth Ministry, and studied Communication, film and worship arts. Having played sports through high school, Caleb had the privilege to be on the Dordt soccer team for his first two years. As things got busier, he left the team to intern for Bridge of Hope Ministries in Sioux Center, IA. Caleb also worked for campus ministries and a local coffee shop. It was a lot of work, but Caleb made lasting relationships and learned so much. One of his fondest memories from college was developing a mission trip to Cambodia where he taught English for three weeks. Michigan is his home. He loves the lakes and forests. His wife, Meredith, echoes this, and they often remark about how lucky they are to have a spouse from Michigan who loves it just as much as the other. To read more about Caleb, please click here.





Ben Hoekman, Director of Worship Arts

Ben was born and raised in West Michigan, grew up in the Christian Reformed Church, and has been a follower of Christ for as long as he can remember. It is evident through Ben's commitments and experiences that Jesus is the center of his life. His other passions include music & worship, Lake Michigan beaches, youth mentoring, and travel (planes, trains & automobiles). Currently, Ben is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree through the distance learning program at Calvin Theological Seminary. To read a short bio on Ben, please click here.

Agshin Jafarov (M.Div) - Director of Outreach


Agshin shares a fascinating story of how he came to Christ and subsequently to Third Church. His Christian journey is filled with trials and loss. However throughout, Agshin has felt the enduring presence of Christ, which has blessed him with rich ministry work. Ordained in the Reformed Church in America, Agshin has been committed to talking and preaching about Christ. Currently, he is a member of the Steering Committee of Strong Tower Ministries in Grand Rapids, and serves on an international mission team of the Bridge Church in Portage. Besides his cross-cultural mission work, Agshin has other interests that include writing, speaking five languages, and practicing law. To learn more about Agshin and his relationship with Christ, please click here.   



Cyndee Viel

Cyndee Viel, Kids Hope USA Director

Cyndee Viel is another of our "home grown" staff members.  After working eighteen years as a director of volunteers and activities at senior housing-facilities, Cyndee joined our staff in 2003 as our Kids Hope USA Director.  An encourager and leader, she has built our Kids Hope USA ministry into one that now involves nearly forty mentors and an additional forty prayer partners - all dedicated to reaching out to at-risk children at our neighborhood school, Winchell Elementary.  

Marcia Taylor, Administrative Assistant

Marcia Taylor joined our staff in the spring of 2005.  A member of St. Thomas More Catholic Church, she came to us with a wealth of experience in office administration in a variety of marketplace and church settings.  As our ministries continue to expand, we value her skills in managing the growing administrative challenges we face.  We also value the broader ecumenical perspective that she brings to our staff deliberations and planning.  Marcia received her B.S. degree from Michigan State University in Urban Planning and her M.A. in Anthropology from Western Michigan University.  Go Broncos!

Jane Lockwood, Facilities Manager

Jane grew up in Williamston, and is a proud graduate of Michigan State University. After moving to Kalamazoo in 1990, Jane worked for Catholic Diocese before coming to 3rd CRC. Jane oversees facility cleaning, maintenance, and scheduling, as well as lending her musical talents to Sunday services. Jane loves spending time at the lake and driving her convertible with a poodle in the backseat.