Staff

Patrick Gill

Patrick Gill

Senior Minister

Patrick Gill was raised in Southern Illinois and first came to Kentwood Christian Church as a 20 year veteran in the ministry. After graduating from David Lipscomb University with a major in New Testament Theology (emphasis in preaching and minor in Greek), he ministered full time for over two decades bringing growth to the churches he led. He has been serving Kentwood Christian Church as Pastor for eight years along with his high school sweetheart and wife Danielle, whom he married in 1984. Their family includes their son, Jabez, daughter Ashley, son-in-law Jonathan, and the newest addition a beautiful grandson named Caleb.

With the birth of his first child, he felt a call towards ministry that was confirmed during his years in seminary and beyond. He brings a passion for Christ, having known in his own life what it means to be redeemed by the grace of Jesus. His desire is to encourage people to trust Jesus with their lives. Patrick brings a great love of preaching and his enthusiastic style relays the message in a passionate way that encourages and challenges all who listen to follow Jesus.

He sees in Kentwood Christian Church a wonderful heritage of service to the community, a great wellspring of giftedness in the congregation, and the opportunity for the church to be a blessing to many.

He loves working with couples who are engaged to be married. He offers his own unique premarital classes that are both relevant and practical. He shares insights, humorous stories, and illustrations from his 30 year marriage that are thought provoking and serve to guide couples into a realistic picture of marriage. His sessions are exciting and engaging! He uses the meetings to get to know and build a relationship with each couple so he can design a ceremony and write wedding vows that are tailor-made for each special couple. He enjoys officiating local, destination, beach, or church weddings.

Finally, Patrick is an avid cyclist and gardener. He enjoys watching movies, cooking, and spending time with his family.

If you are looking for answers to life, or a church to call home, or a Pastor that will be your friend, our hope and sincere prayer is for The Lord to lead you to Kentwood Christian Church.

Mathue Zittel

Mathue Zittel

Worship Minister

Matt has been serving with Kentwood Christian Church since 2015 and is always looking for another way to make the name of Jesus known through his ministry here. He is passionate about helping others discover and use their gifts for the glory of God and is invested in using music, technology and other creative arts to express the truth of God in our community.

Matt accepted new life in Jesus when he was fifteen and identifies closely with the call of Isaiah when God asks, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” and Isaiah responds by simply saying, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8) Matt knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by God’s calling, but is reminded over and over again in Scripture that God uses the ordinary to reveal His extraordinary nature – all He asks is for us to surrender to His will!

In 2012, Matt graduated from Great Lakes Christian College with a double major in Bible Theology and Youth Ministry, studying here under the “one and only” BJ George during his internship in 2011. Matt had the opportunity to serve with the Bangor Church of Christ from 2010-2015 where he worked as both the teen and worship pastor; and though he now only works with music, he is always ready to accept a challenge from any student in a game of ping pong.

Matt has been leading worship with the love of his life, Kayla, since before they started dating in 2009. In fact, he claims the only time he’s used music outside of the church was to woo her to go on a date with him. (She’s WAY out of his league!) The only song Matt has written was for his bride on their wedding day, August 19, 2011. Kayla graduated from GLCC in 2011 with a double major in Bible Theology and Communication, earning a minor in music as well.

On Christmas Eve, 2014, Matt and Kayla received their favorite Christmas gift ever – Ellie Renee Zittel. More than anything, he enjoys his family time and being a dad, even if that means driving a minivan. Matt also likes hunting – A LOT – and invites you to stop in anytime to meet his friend Marvin who his hanging on the wall behind his desk.

Justin O'Dell

Justin O’Dell

Student Pastor

Jesus is awesome, and sports are fun. He has called me and has been preparing me to be in ministry since I was young. I grew up in a pastor’s family serving in the church since I can remember, and I’ve also played sports from day one. Any sport with a ball, I love it. God eventually led me to Ozark Christian College where I graduated with a double major in Bible and Leadership, and it’s also where I met my wife, Shiann.

We have a young son, Parker, and we moved up to Grand Rapids following where God called us. We’re so excited to be on the team here at Kentwood Christian Church, and we can’t wait to see what God does in the lives of the students here.

John Gooch

John Gooch

Associate Minister

John isn’t quite what some would think of when thinking of a minister. Entering the ministry later in life, John accepted Jesus into his life in 1990 at the age of 39 at Kentwood Christian Church where he served in several capacities. During that time frame, his love for the motorcycle community and Jesus led him into taking the Word into the local motorcycle clubs. That evangelistic desire became his passion resulting in his accepting his call to ministry in 2000, graduating from Great Lakes Christian College with a Bachelors of Religious Education and starting Roadbed Ministries Inc., an outreach ministry to bikers and truckers. Keeping his close relationship with KCC, John also serves as the Adult Bible Education Minister.

One of the most notable points about John’s life is until age 37; he had never lived anywhere longer than three years. Born into a military family, John upon graduating from high school followed his father’s footsteps into the military life. He served in the U. S. Navy submarine forces for thirteen years attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer and earning several degrees and awards along the way. Marrying his high school sweetheart Amy in 1971, they have two sons, Scott and Seth, of whom they along with their families are very proud of.

John believes strongly in the Saving Grace of Jesus Christ as his own experiences in drugs, alcohol, the sometimes violent world of motorcycling and his subsequent redemption attests. No one is beyond the love of Christ and he believes it is the responsibility of Jesus’ followers to take that good news out to them. He couples relationship evangelism, a passion for preaching and teaching God’s Word and a love for people to reach out to a very difficult part of today’s society as well as serve at KCC. This all works together as John feels today’s church, more than ever, needs to strongly disciple those who come to Christ through sound biblical teaching and mentorship.

Whether John and Amy are riding their motorcycles with Roadbed, filling in at the pulpit or helping organize and equip teachers to disciple others, John sees Kentwood Christian Church as critical link in God’s plan for its community. His belief in that is summed up in the tattoo on his right arm, a cross with John 3:16 emblazoned beneath it.

Bernie Long

Bernie Long

Children’s Minister

Bernie was raised in Caledonia and has been a member of Kentwood Christian Church since the age of 2. Her family knows that loving God and loving others means serving. Her dad serves as an elder, her mom leads women’s ministry and a women’s Bible study, and her brother has spent years working with high schoolers. And even though her sister attends another church, you’ll still see her serving during VBS. Growing up in the church, Bernie was always serving somewhere; whether it was helping with VBS and SuperStart, teaching Sunday school, or teaching in Open Skies.

Bernie graduated Caledonia High School in 2004 and moved on to Baker College to work on her degree in Early Childhood Education. After being there for a year, Bernie felt God calling her to go and do something different. So she headed south to attend Johnson Bible College. While attending, she interned at Woodlawn Christian Church in Knoxville. Bernie graduated from JBC in 2008 with her degree in early childhood education and children’s ministry. After moving back to Michigan, she put her early childhood education degree to work at a local child care center, where she became a director.

Bernie was hired on to the Kentwood staff in 2010 and absolutely loves her job. Bernie’s passion for showing God’s love to children is evident as she plans and teaches everything from weekly lessons for the CREW, to family events, to a week-long vacation Bible school.

In addition to leading children’s ministry at KCC, Bernie enjoys being mom to her twins Zeke and Naomi. She and her husband are passionate about teaching their own children to be lovers of God and to show that love to the people around them, and it’s something they try to instill in the children at KCC every Sunday.

If you have any questions about the children’s ministry at KCC, Bernie would love to talk with you.

Amy Gooch

Amy Gooch

Administrative Assistant

In 1955 Amy’s parents purchased a service type business, remodeled the existing building to accommodate living quarters for the family and raised their children “while working at home.” Amy’s mother and grandparents made sure the children attended church on a fairly consistent basis but it was not a priority.

In 1971 Amy married her high school sweetheart and proceeded to follow him all over the world, complements of the U.S. Navy, while raising their two sons Scott and Seth. Despite the constant moving both boys became Eagle Scouts and both graduated from Western Michigan University. However, no matter where they were living, Amy knew something was missing. There was an empty place that people, place and things could not fill.

After the 15th move, this time to Kentwood, MI, Amy along with her husband, John and their youngest son, Seth, started attending KCC in February of 1991 and all three were baptized in March. Their oldest son, Scott, while home on leave from the Navy, accepted Christ and joined KCC in 1995. They finally found the emptiness could only be filled by the saving grace of Jesus Christ and through a relationship with God. Jeremiah 29:11-13 11“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Everything her parents taught her about customer service, the financial aspects of running a small business, organization, persistence and some tough life lessons, are all being used to serve the Lord. .” Joshua 24:15 became the verse they lived by – “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Amy has been serving as KCC’s Administrative Assistant since Feb. 12, 1992 and the Lord continues working in John and Amy’s lives. They also continue to serve in the ministry they founded in September of 2000, Roadbed Ministries Inc. (www.roadbed1.org), an evangelistic outreach to bikers and truckers. They are passionate about sharing the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ with others especially those who ride a motorcycle. When asked what is next, Amy’s answer is always “I don’t know, but the Lord does and he will let me know when he is ready. So far it has been an awesome roller coaster ride – we’ll just hang on and have fun.”

Laura Anderson

Laura Anderson

Administrative Assistant

Laura Anderson is a Zeeland, MI native and received her Nursing Degree from the University of Michigan. She worked at Holland Hospital in labor and delivery for 28 years before retiring in 2014. She is married to Mark, the mother of four children, grandmother of seven, and the proud owner of 2 dogs and five chickens. After being invited to church by her daughter Jen Mansfield, Laura and Mark were baptized by Pastor Patrick Gill. Laura is a dedicated and active Christian lady who loves serving the Lord in many ways. Through Compassion International, she sponsors five children, is very involved in the Children’s Ministry teaching 3 year olds, and began serving as part time Office Administrator with Amy Gooch in March 2017. Laura says, “My spiritual growth and deeper relationship to Jesus has resulted form fantastic worship services, Biblical sermon series, Adult Sunday school classes, and being connected in the Small Group Ministry of the Kentwood Christian Church.”