Alumni Profile: Ben Hoekman

Ben Hoekman
FYF 2013

A career in vocational ministry had been on Ben’s mind for a while. He felt an undeniable pull towards ministry and wanted a space where he could explore that calling. In middle school, Ben was introduced to the FYF program and had his eyes set on attending ever since. When his friends, mentors and pastor urged him to apply for the program, Ben was all in.

FYF was the perfect fit for Ben. He loved engaging in theological discussions, forming meaningful relationships and further discerning his calling with his peers and leaders. To this day, Ben still thinks about and reflects on the incredible impact of his FYF experience.

“FYF was probably some of the three best weeks of my entire life. The formation that took place during those weeks and the affirmation I received in my calling to ministry [allowed me to see] God working in powerful ways. I can’t put into words how amazing that was.”

For Ben, friendships were one of the most special parts of FYF. Tight bonds quickly formed between Ben and the other FYF students as well as with the program’s live-in mentors. To Ben’s great delight, these strong connections allowed others to affirm his ministerial calling and gifts in profound ways.

This affirmation brought much clarity and relief to Ben’s heart. Through prayer, conversation and the power of the Holy Spirit, FYF created the space and time for Ben to wrestle with his vocational calling.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt so affirmed and encouraged in such a short period of time. Three weeks isn’t that long, but it was so transformational to know, yeah this is exactly what I want to do.”

FYF also gave Ben the space to learn about the different shapes and forms of ministry. Before FYF, Ben tended to think about ministry as something that only came alive in the context of the church. Daily lectures at FYF, however, revealed that ministry can happen anywhere. Ben realized that ministry was not limited to becoming a pastor or a worship leader; rather, ministry could be any type of work that makes God’s name known. Ben realized that he could become a chaplain, a church planter, a Christian Higher Education teacher, or a cross-cultural missionary while still doing vocational ministry.

Ben’s idea of ministry was also expanded during his excursion to Portland, Oregon. During FYF, students and leaders were sent to excursion sites across the U.S. and Canada. Ben’s trip to Oregon was his favorite part of FYF because it opened his eyes to the ways in which ministry responds the hurts of the world. He learned that serving food at a homeless shelter is a form of ministry just like preaching a sermon is a form of ministry. The excursion trip to Oregon allowed Ben to see how all Christians are called to be ministers in their own corners of the world.

“The opportunities I experienced at FYF helped me to explore [areas of ministry] where I couldn’t see myself before.”

If it were not for FYF, Ben would not be where he is today. FYF ignited a deep love of the church in Ben’s heart and brought him to Kuyper College to earn his Music and Worship degree. Ben also became heavily involved in the worship ministries at his church, Madison Square CRC. FYF gave Ben the desire and tools to put his ministerial gifts into action.

Upon graduating with the Kuyper College Class of 2017, Ben plans to attend Calvin Theological Seminary, the very place where he attended FYF. Whether he becomes a pastor, teaches in Christian Higher Education, or serves as a church planter, Ben is confident that his gifts and his passion for Christ will be used for the glory of God’s kingdom.