Bob Vander Plaats is President and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER. His passionate leadership for the betterment of America’s family has earned The FAMiLY LEADER the “Family Champion” award presented by CitizenLink, an affiliation of Focus on the Family.
His leadership and voice for the family are frequently noted and his comments are widely requested by a vast array of national and international media outlets. The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, and many others have referenced Bob as, “Kingmaker,” while Bob prefers the designation of “Standard Bearer.”
Bob is the author of Light from Lucas, a true story of how God uses the weakest among us to have the greatest impact. The book, recently updated after Lucas went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in November 2022, gives a poignant account of Bob’s son, Lucas, who although severely disabled at birth, offers important life-changing lessons. Light from Lucas is a Barnes and Noble “Recommended Read” and has earned the authentic “Chuck Norris Approved” seal.” Learn more here.
In addition to being an author, Bob is a highly sought after speaker. His passion to make a difference is contagious and his insight is intriguing as he weaves lessons from his various experiences and leadership successes in education, health care and human services, politics, business and ministry.
Bob’s most recent book, If 7:14…An Urgent Call for Revival…It’s Time, is an urgent and compelling call to revival based upon 2 Chronicles 7:14, a passage that gives God’s people a glimpse of His heart and a template for revival. Visit www.if714.com.
As well as being an author, sought-out speaker, and President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, Bob has recently become an Executive Producer of the highly acclaimed Nefarious movie, which debuted in theaters on April 14, 2023.
Bob received his Master’s and Specialist’s Degrees from Drake University in Educational Leadership. He is a recipient of Northwestern College’s (Iowa) “Distinguished Alumni” in the area of professional achievement.
Bob and his wife, Darla, have been married for nearly 40 years and have been blessed with four sons.
Darla Vander Plaats is a farm girl from northwest Iowa. She received a degree from Northwestern College in Orange City and worked for several years as a CPA before taking the opportunity to stay home with the four sons she and Bob raised together. She joined Bob at The FAMiLY LEADER in 2015 and has loved the opportunities to travel and minister with him.
The FAMiLY LEADER places a high priority on the pursuit of cultural transformation, and Darla has been convicted by the belief that our only hope lies in the individual and collective turning of our hearts and minds back to the Lord. The hope of revival is the purpose and motivation for her work on If 7:14, and it has been an unexpected joy to meet and work with many others around the country who have the same hope and purpose.
Chuck Hurley has been a Christian since 1977, and a licensed attorney since 1983. He spent 15 years in private practice, and now uses his legal experience to defend religious liberties, family values, and the sanctity of life.
He ran for the Iowa Legislature for the first time in 1988, in part on a platform of defending the sanctity of life, school choice, strengthening marriage, and repealing no-fault divorce laws. He served for six years in the Iowa Legislature, 1991-1996, and was Vice-Chair and Chair of the House Judiciary Committee from 1993-1996.
In 1996, he and Governor Terry Branstad introduced a bill which would have repealed no-fault divorce, and passed it out of the House Judiciary Committee.
Governor Branstad appointed Chuck as Vice-Chair of the Iowa Board of Parole in 1997, where he served for a year and a half.
Chuck was President of the Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) from 1998-2010, and is now Vice-President and Chief Counsel of its successor, The FAMiLY LEADER.
Chuck and his wife, Chris, were married in 1982, and do marriage mentoring. They have been both foster and adoptive parents to several special needs children, and are now the parents of ten children, ages 10 to 35 years, and foster parents to several children. He has special passions to share the gospel, make disciples, and to restore culturally the Biblical truth that “children are a blessing (Ps. 127).”
Chuck is an elder and teacher in the Church of Christ. His hobbies include family fun (especially Ultimate Frisbee), cutting and splitting firewood, and reading.
FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF CHURCH AMBASSADOR NETWORK
FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF CHURCH AMBASSADOR NETWORK
Greg grew up in Earlham, Iowa, and is a 2009 graduate of the University of Iowa. His inspiration to make a difference in government began in his high school years. His passion stemmed from the strategy necessary to pass legislation and to win elections.
But Greg’s pursuits in government were transformed by his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in April 2010. His focus took a sharp turn from self and political party to becoming an ambassador of Christ in the halls of government. Greg’s spiritual journey and maturation meshed with The FAMiLY LEADER’s needs in July of 2011.
Greg is charged with developing a dynamic network of churches and believers throughout Iowa to engage government in a manner modeled out in Scriptures, rather than partisan politics.
Greg and his wife, Ashley, were married June 2012 and reside in Des Moines.
Kristin Phillips was born in upstate New York, raised in Michigan, and lived in Colorado, Indiana, and Virginia before landing in the great state of Iowa in 2006. She and her husband, Chris, graduated from Michigan State University and have two children – Sidnee and Dutch. Together, they enjoy hunting, snowboarding, cooking, watching Spartan football, and having a good conversation on the porch, daily.
Kristin credits her strong faith in Jesus to her husband, Chris, and his family: “There was just something different about him/them.”
This difference led her to pursue “a life worthy of the calling.” Wherever she lived, she sought out Bible-teaching churches, Christian friends, and Bible studies to learn and grow in her relationship with Jesus.
Kristin values family, growth, and impact. Together, those values align to her work as the Director of Advancement at The FAMiLY Leader. As an advocate for strengthening families, she looks for ways to move the mission forward through the power of relationships and ultimately to advance God’s kingdom.
Connecting hearts to our mission is her strength and mission. Connect with her today!
Brian was born and raised in Van Meter, Iowa, and is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in Industrial Engineering.
Brian has spent most of his career as a quality engineer overseeing the manufacturing of farm equipment in Des Moines. Through his friendship with Greg Baker, Brian’s passion grew for the vision and mission of the Church Ambassador Network. Following God’s call in 2021, Brian joined The FAMiLY Leader team as the Associate Director of the Church Ambassador Network. Brian is excited to use his skills to advance the vision and mission of the Church Ambassador Network in Iowa and nationally through The Daniel Impact.
Brian is married to Colleen, and their 3 children reside in Des Moines and are members of Walnut Creek Church-Downtown. Outside of work, Brian enjoys cycling, hiking, camping, and all things automotive.
In her role with The FAMiLY Leader, Denise Bubeck provides for pastors and clergy to engage with elected officials at the state and federal level. Her career is marked by devoted volunteerism at numerous other organizations including the local food pantry, an advisory board member for Iowans Supporting Israel, refugee organizations, and her church. As a recent cancer survivor, through a local non-profit organization, Denise passionately partners with cancer patients on their journey. Denise is a Christian delegate to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and is currently serving on the AIPAC National Council.
Danny has been married for 38 years to Joy. They have three grown children who all live in Ankeny with their families. Danny worked as Director of Community Relations for Iowa Telecom in Newton from 1999 through 2009 when the company was sold to Windstream Communications. His family owned and operated a small family business near Grinnell known as Carroll’s Pumpkin Farm from 1991 through 2011. Danny and his wife have been active members of the Grinnell Christian Church since returning to Iowa in 1975.
He was elected to the Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors in 1984 and re-elected in 1988 and 1992. It was here he learned some of his most valuable lessons about government at the local level. He served six terms in the Iowa House of Representatives as Assistant Majority Leader from 1996 through 2002 and then as Speaker Pro Tem through 2006.
Danny and Joy work together in property management and Danny represents THE FAMiLY LEADER as an advocate at the Iowa Legislature.
“Serving the Lord and working in a Godly environment is an amazing blessing, especially when families – like my own, are enriched and strengthened,” says Glen Cornell. “My wife, Jill, and I cherish our twin girls, Nora and Lily.”
Glen graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Creative Media Arts, and he also studied performance and composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Glen was Assistant Director and Graphic Artist at KCCI-TV and then worked at Wells Fargo’s Global Market Department. Glen has also served as Graphic Artist and Program Coordinator at Walnut Creek Community Church and currently play keyboards in the praise & worship band for multiple services every Sunday.
Anastasia Hibbs grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa. After a semester at DMACC, Ana decided it wasn’t where God was calling her to go and started working for her dad, Steve Deace. Soon after she started working for her dad, she joined the TFL team as a Media Specialist. Ana is married to her wonderful husband, Steven, and they reside in West Des Moines with their cat Olive. In her spare time, she enjoys playing guitar, singing, and reading.
Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Léo has been living in Des Moines since 2010 and has been part of the Church Ambassador Network since the fall of 2018.
It is Léo’s passion to make the gospel relevant to modern kings as they seek to shepherd the communities in Iowa, and it is his heart’s desire to inspire the Church to see government as God’s institution to serve people and bring glory to Himself.
While a foreign from Brazil living in the United States with absolutely no interest in government or politics, the Lord convinced Léo through the Scriptures and His work through the Church Ambassador Network that government is His institution (Romans 13:1), that He designed it to be a servant for people’s good (Romans 13:4), and that God calls His people to pray, honor, and minister the gospel to them (1 Timothy 2:1-4; Acts 9:15). As it has been in his life, Léo trusts that the gospel is the power of salvation and the only hope of restoration to Iowa’s communities and government.
Léo also serves as a community group leader at Walnut Creek Church in Des Moines and is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at Faith Baptist Theology Seminary. Léo is married to Débora and they have a joyful son, Isaque. Léo and his family enjoy going out on walks together and sharing meals with friends.
Bryan is originally from Selangor, Malaysia. Bryan first made his way to the USA in 2012, where he pursued a Bachelor of Finance from Drake University. Later, he furthered his education by obtaining a Business Information Systems degree from DMACC. He worked as a Salesforce administrator at Cognizant for two years prior to joining The FAMiLY Leader.
Bryan found the Lord when he was a student at Drake University and eventually served as a Bible study leader at an international students Bible study, started by folks from Walnut Creek Church. Bryan met Melissa at Drake University, and they were married in 2018.
In his free time, Bryan enjoys fishing, using his BBQ, cooking delicious Malaysian food, and watching and playing sports, especially soccer.
Angie Long, an Iowa native, grew up in Grimes and later graduated from Iowa State University. Angie met her husband, Chris, who is a Texas native, in 2006. After six short months, he proposed and was persuaded to build a life and raise a family right here in Iowa! Chris and Angie are blessed with two beautiful daughters, Ava and Ashton.
Angie joined the TFL team in 2021. Long says, “I’m so grateful God called me to the TFL team. Working with these exceptional people has been such a blessing to myself and our family.”
In her spare time, Angie enjoys time with the family, traveling, cooking, and reading.
Nick grew up on a sod farm in western Michigan before joining the Army in 1998. After a break in service where he met and married his wife, Elaina, Nick re-enlisted to serve in the Iraq War. Stationed most of his career in Texas, Nick deployed to Iraq twice, Afghanistan once, and the Republic of Korea twice.
Relocated to Ames, Iowa, to serve as the Senior Military Science Instructor for the Iowa State Army ROTC, Nick was called to transition from serving an earthly kingdom to serving a heavenly kingdom and retired from active duty in 2021.
Nick started at The FAMiLY Leader in 2021 as Assistant to the President and loves the Christ-centered focus: from daily prayer with co-workers to devotionals during team meetings, with emphasis always on advancing God’s kingdom. Currently living in Ankeny, Nick enjoys Red Wings hockey and story time with his wife, his two boys, Cavin and Levi, and two girls, Brynlee and Mara.
Noah was born in raised in Des Moines, Iowa and graduated from DMACC’s Iowa Culinary Institute in 2018. Since pursuing a career in culinary arts through highschool and college, the Lord has been directing Noah’s life through changing one best laid plan after another.
Noah married his high school sweetheart Beth in the fall of 2018, and together they pursued the Lord in a small group at Walnut Creek Church. As they matured and were discipled by many patient saints, Noah began to see more and more clearly God’s plan for His Church, and to grow in desire and willingness to serve God. This chapter has brought Noah to the Church Ambassador Network where he is excited to see God be glorified more and more in and through the Church as it engages with government.
The Lord has blessed Noah and Beth with 3 beautiful, energetic girls, Layla, Finley, and Emerson. Their family is also active in Walnut Creek Church in Windsor Heights where they lead a small group together and serve in kids ministries in various capacities.
Kate grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, an artsy, only child with big-city dreams and ad-agency aspirations. After graduating from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, with a degree in advertising and what she describes as “the best first job ever,” love is what actually kept her here.
Kate continued her career growing and managing the advertising department for one of Iowa’s largest retail stores, and in 2007 left that position to obtain an MBA in Marketing and Business Development and start her own consulting business. Having worked for various small business clients throughout the Midwest, it was becoming a wife and mother that she considers to be the biggest privilege of her life.
Being a mother opened Kate’s eyes to the ways of the world she had not recognized before, and once both her daughters were in school full-time, she felt called by God to seek a higher purpose for her professional life. Following God’s call in 2022, Kate became the Events & Marketing Coordinator at The FAMiLY Leader.
Kate resides in Des Moines with her husband, Shane, and their two daughters. They enjoy their time as a family traveling to visit relatives and spending time outdoors hunting and fishing near their camper at Lake Rathbun in Iowa.
Duane Nordquist of Panora, Iowa, graduated from Buena Vista with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Psychology. Nordquist has six children and four grandchildren and has been married to his wife, Eileen, for 22 years. In his free time, he enjoys going to church, spending time with family, hunting, golfing, and competing in triathlons.
Before TFL, Nordquist worked in sales for 43 years. But in 2011, Nordquist was invited to a pro-life rally where he was introduced to Chuck Hurley and Bob Vander Plaats. After the rally, he was invited to a meeting in Winterset where Bob presented on TFL. Nordquist felt drawn to TFL’s mission. In August of 2017 the Lord had him start praying that a ministry like TFL be in all 50 states. Little did he know TFL was launching The Daniel Initiative to accomplish just that!
Bob invited Nordquist to a staff meeting in June of 2018, and Nordquist knew then that he was supposed to be at TFL. Nordquist started working part-time in January 2019 as part of the advancement team, raising support for TFL’s mission.
At 64, Nordquist is excited to go to work. He’s passionate about TFL’s vision. Nordquist enjoys that TFL starts every day by praying together.
“I love being part of the team with all the different, godly associates,” Nordquist says. “And I’m excited to be used by God to further His kingdom.”
Favorite Bible verse: John 14:12 – “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
A native Iowan, Rebekah grew up in Central Iowa surrounded by six siblings. Despite wrestling with God and telling Him she didn’t want to study business, she received her Associate of Applied Sciences degree in Business Administration.
A graduate of TFL’s LEAD program, Rebekah served as an intern for three legislative sessions on the Elections and Policy team at the State Capitol. Her passion for politics was birthed after a visit to the Capitol in which she job-shadowed Danny Carroll for the day. What started as an escape from the pumpkin field became her dream job.
Following her college graduation in 2021, Rebekah joined the TFL Family as Project Coordinator and serves in assisting day-to-day operations in the office and helping various departments where there are needs.
In her free time, should she have any, Rebekah can be found on her family farm with her nose in a good book or helping with various chores. Unless it involves the killing of snakes, then Rebekah can be found with a torch threatening to burn the barn down.
Terry Pollard graduated from Kansas Christian College in Overland Park, Kansas, in 1980 with a B.A. in Religion and has continued his graduate studies at Nazarene Theological Seminary and Moody Theological Seminary. He is currently completing studies at Saint Paul School of Theology.
He has served for over 39 years in varied full-time Christian ministry responsibilities as a senior pastor, Bible college associate professor, denominational editor-in-chief, denominational magazine editor, free-lance writer, Sunday school curriculum editor and writer and Christian school administrator. He is also a published writer and author of two books entitled “24/7 Living: Hard Truths from James” and “Getting It Right: The Ten Commandments for Today’s World.”
Terry has served as a pastor since 2005 in the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church in Schaller, Alta, and New Sharon, and currently serves as part-time pastor at First United Methodist Church in Colfax, Iowa.
Prior to coming to Iowa, he also pastored in several denominations, having served multi-staff churches in Washington, Louisiana, Alabama, and Missouri. He has also trained pastors, teachers, school administrators, and community leaders nationally and internationally, as well as mentored pastors along with church revitalization coaching and consultation.
He and his wife, Diana, live in Des Moines and are the joyful parents of five married children who have blessed them with 16 grandchildren. Terry enjoys officiating high school and college basketball and is an avid fan of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Royals!
“I’m serving with the Church Ambassador Network and TFL because I believe, as pastors and leaders, we are called to engage the shepherds of God’s Church with the shepherds of God’s government,” Terry says. “I’m blessed to be called at this season of my ministry to TFL to help engage the Church in the marketplace of the world and seek to be a difference maker and world changer.”
Favorite Bible verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths” – Proverbs 3:5-6.
Kathy Van Soelen lives in Cumming, Iowa, with her husband, Greg. Together, they have four children and two grandchildren.
Prior to working at The FAMiLY Leader, Kathy graduated from Dordt College with a degree in biology, was a stay-at-home mom, and worked as a teacher’s associate and substitute teacher in both California and Iowa.
When Kathy and her family moved from California back to Iowa, she connected with Darla Vander Plaats. The two shared in their passion for prayer and revival. When the If 7:14 ministry launched, Darla encouraged Kathy to join her. Kathy has been the prayer ambassador for the If 7:14 ministry at The FAMiLY Leader since 2015 and joined the CAN team in 2019.
Kathy notes, “The TFL team is blessed with servant-hearted people who love God their Savior and seek to make Him known. I am blessed by each of them.”
Favorite Bible Verse: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:3-6
Drew Zahn grew up in northeastern Iowa, a Mississippi “River Rat” from McGregor. Later he would serve as solo pastor of two Evangelical Free churches in the rural cornfields of northern Iowa and as youth pastor of a Baptist church in central Iowa. His guest preaching has taken him all over the state.
A graduate of Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Drew has also been an assistant editor with Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal and news editor for WorldNetDaily. He has a passion for the movies, and in addition to covering red-carpet events in Hollywood for WorldNetDaily, his column on examining the worldview of popular films was published at WND.com for years.
Drew married a pastor’s daughter in 1992, and together, he and Debi have 16 children and are now officially grandparents!
In his free time – were he to find any – Drew enjoys writing fiction, directing theater productions, sitting peacefully by swiftly running water, and engaging in any sport that enables him to hit, throw, chase after, or watch a ball in play. Except for soccer. Anything but soccer.