Pastor John Bifoss - My Story
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
The Long and Winding Road
With full apologies to the Beatles and their song, it really has been a Long and Winding Road that brought Pastor John and his wife Pam to Vanderbilt Community Church.
After graduating from Houghton Lake High School – where he met and fell in love with Pam his high school sweetheart – John joined the U.S. Navy and spent over 20 years on submarines and in submarine support. Retiring from the Navy in 1994, he spent another 15 years in Florida as a defense contractor working at Patrick Air Force Base in the business of launching rockets into space.
Although involved in church life his entire life, it wasn’t until March 2006 that John received an immediate and personal call from the Lord to enter pastoral ministry. After a 2-year process of training and examination from the E Free church, John was ordained by his local church in Florida, and licensed by the national Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) as a pastor.
Through the events of a story too long to tell here (although he would be happy to share if asked…) Pastor John accepted the invitation to fill the pulpit of Vanderbilt Community Church and started his ministry here in Jan 2010.
John was very familiar with Vanderbilt and the surrounding area as his mother was born and raised here and graduated from Vanderbilt High School. A story to show how God in His sovereign will decided to complete the circle in John’s life: he and Pam now live on the hill, that used to be a ski resort, where his mother tobogganed while 5 months pregnant with John – some 70 years ago.
Pastor John is passionate about his love for Pam and his family, but even more so in his love and devotion to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and knows without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord has called him to pastoral ministry in Vanderbilt. Where, it should be noted, that we really do love the 4th of July in small town America.
Director of Children's Ministry - Kaelyn Eves
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it
Kaelyn grew up in Flushing, MI and has had a heart and passion for teaching God’s Word to children since she was very young. She started teaching Sunday school for toddlers at her church when she was nine years old. Kaelyn would take her little brother to Sunday school and noticed that the children were just playing for the entire hour. She asked the teacher of the class if it was alright to teach the children a Bible lesson since she was just sitting there with her little brother. This eventually led to Kaelyn teaching the toddler class on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights. She also was involved in assisting with the children’s Christmas plays, Trunk-or-Treat, and Vacation Bible School. After graduating high-school, she went to college to get a degree in accounting and started working at a local credit union in Swartz Creek.
Kaelyn often came to Vanderbilt to visit her aunt and uncle and attended VCC with them. In 2016, she was asked to direct Vacation Bible School at VCC to which she happily agreed. After three years of directing VBS, in 2018, she felt called to travel to Vanderbilt every weekend and teach Sunday school. She comes every week to teach any children who come to the church and continues to direct VBS every summer. The Lord has blessed the children’s ministry at VCC and last summer Kaelyn and the entire VBS team were excited to have 75 children attend. Kaelyn loves northern MI and truly loves sharing Jesus with the children of Vanderbilt and surrounding communities. Kaelyn joined VCC in 2021 and is now the director of children’s ministry for VCC.