Pastor and missionary Ken Van De Griend was a passionate, diligent, enthusiastic and humble man who did not want any praise or acclaim. He had a heart for missions, at home and international. He loved engaging people about matters of faith and helping them grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ken, 79, died Nov. 22, 2023.
After graduation from Dordt College (now University) and Calvin Theological Seminary, Ken was ordained in 1969, and served for four and a half years as a missionary in Taiwan with Christian Reformed World Missions (now part of Resonate Global Mission). Returning to the U.S., he pastored Ackley (Iowa) Christian Reformed Church; Peace CRC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Shawnee Park CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Rock of Life CRC, Willmar, Minn.
For the following five years Ken worked for The Bible League as director for Southeast Asia and then pastored First CRC, Waupun, Wisc. During the years in Waupun, Ken was also part-time director for Southeast Asia for Leadership Resources International, now called Word Partners, a global ministry for equipping and encouraging pastors. Although he officially retired in 2007, starting in 2008 until his death, Ken continued to work full time for LRI and part time as a pastor at First Byron CRC in Byron Center, Mich. “Ken did not retire from his love of serving in God’s kingdom and did so right up until he died,” said his wife, Wanda.
Ken was fluent in six languages, loved the outdoors, especially fishing with family, and enjoyed discussing theology.
He will be lovingly remembered by Wanda, his wife of 60 years, three children and their spouses, 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.