Rev. Bob Johnson

Lead Pastor

Bob's role at First is that of vision development and implementation partnering with the leaders and staff.  Bob grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and met his wife Patti while attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA.  After fifteen years in the field of teaching and being a school principal, Bob entered full-time ministry.  The Johnsons raised their kids in Southern California having ministered in that region for over 25 years. Bob and Patti have three grown children and three grandkids.  Bob loves the Cubs and puttering in the lawn and flower beds and spending time with his Bride.  

Amanda Johnston

Administrative Assistant

Bio...

Andi Dykstra

Worship Arts Director

Andi, originally from Kansas, moved to Pella to play volleyball and the bassoon for Central. There she met and married a Dutchman! They have lived in Pella for 20 years and have been part of serving in several worship ministries. Andi loves music! She plays guitar, sings and composes. Her other passions are cooking and landscaping/gardening. She enjoys being able to put her cooking passion to work at the East Iowa Bible Camp during the summer. Andi and her husband, Jonathan, homeschool their daughter Lily. As a family they love to do everything together including schooling and running JD’s PCs, their computer repair shop in Pella. They like to live life simply so they can say “yes” to God when he moves their hearts to act. Her platform is music, and her strong desire is to share the truths of Scripture and the message of the Gospel through song. God‘s message is simple! We are all wretched sinners in desperate need of a Savior. Jesus is that Savior! He took the punishment that we deserve on himself by dying a gruesome death on a cross. If we repent and put our trust in Jesus, if we put on His righteousness like you would put on a parachute, then we can be assured of salvation. Praise God for his wonderful plan of salvation! This is the message we must sing about, praise God for, and remember every day.

Shalene Zylstra

Director of Care

Shalene was raised in a Christian home and made the decision to follow Christ early in her life. She attended Clarke College where she received her bachelor’s degree in Nursing in 2001. She has taken on many roles at the Pella Regional Health Center in her nursing career. However, her most recent role is a nurse in the Pella Medical Clinic. The Zylstra’s were married in 2001 and have four children: Lydia, Aidan, Norah and Gerrit. They joined First Church in 2018. Shalene joined the First Church staff in 2020. She has a compassionate heart which makes her a great fit for the Director of Care at First Church. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, decorating, connecting with family and friends, watching movies with her family and eating ice cream.   

Jenny Braafhart

Director of Children's Ministry

Jenny joined the staff in 2019 and severs as Director of Children’s Ministry. She and her husband, Joey, have seven children, Riley, Brianna, Bronwyn, Penelope, Elinor, Chip and Josiah. She enjoys spending time with her family and investing in the next generation to know and love Jesus.

Mike Melody

Director of Student Ministry

Mike was raised in a God-fearing household and saved at a young age.  Despite being a follower of Jesus from early in life, Mike explains that his life regularly did not resemble the Christ-like living to which he was called.  God convicted Mike and worked to change his life path during high school, calling him to ministry at the age of 17.  Now, a 2020 grad of Trinity Christian College with a degree in Biblical Studies, Mike's personal mission statement as he pastors at First is to urge students to repent of their religion or rebellion and run toward relationship with Jesus.  In his free time, Mike likes to play softball, disc golf, fish, practice guitar, and hang out with his dog, Rudy.

Deb Uitermarkt

Family Ministry Administrative Assistant

Deb was raised in a Christian home, and attended a Reformed Church in rural Wisconsin.  While Deb always thought she was a Christian, she made that decision her own at a Christian concert she attended with her Campus Life group in high school.  Throughout high school, college, and her single years, she was heavily involved in several different ministry opportunities.   Deb graduated from Central College with a math degree, and worked at Principal Financial Group as a project leader, which is where she developed many organizational skills.  Deb started attending First in 2001 after being engaged to Brad, and has been involved in different children’s ministries ever since.  Deb’s passion is for kids to have their own faith rather than cleaving to the faith of their parents or others.   In 2019, Deb started in this position, and hopes the behind-the-scenes tasks she is doing will better allow the leaders to focus on bringing lives to Jesus.  Deb continues to volunteer in our GEMS and KidsQuest ministries, and loves seeing kids get excited about their faith. Deb is married to Brad, and they have 3 children:  Ashley, Morgan, and Tyler.  Most of her free time is spent supporting her kids in their numerous activities.

Mike Van Ee

Technology Director

Mike and his wife are members of First Church. Mike has served in tech role for more than twenty years. 

Jamie Chapman

Director of Building & Grounds

Jamie became a member of First Reformed Church 25 years ago after she married Jason, who grew up in the church.  She has a passion for everyone to know and feel loved by Jesus. Jamie is the site director for Kaden’s Kloset at the church. She helps with the kids' program on Sunday morning as well as middle school and high school youth groups. She joined the staff in 2020. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys spending time with Jason and their eight kids in all their various activities, boating, watching sports, and taking walks. 

Breanne Patel

Marketing Communications Assistant

Breanne made the choice to follow Christ her senior year at Central College in 2003. There she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing. Over the years she has held various marketing positions in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. She and her husband, Stephen, were married in 2006 and have five children. Her primary role and love is homeschooling their children. She and her family became members of First Church in 2018. She joined staff in 2019 and appreciates the opportunity to serve in this capacity. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family by going camping, hiking, or anything outdoors.