Glenn Van Noord Short Term Urban Missions Program

The Glenn Van Noord Short-Term Urban Missions Program enables students to serve in urban Grand Rapids each summer.

Thornapple is committed to responding to the needs of the urban community in Grand Rapids. We want to be God’s hands and feet to help. But how does a church located in a suburban setting do that? That question was asked back in the year 2000 by members of Thornapple’s Love Mercy Do Justice team. They wanted to help ministries operating in our city and also to give students a chance to serve and be exposed to the realities and needs present in the urban community. Out of that desire came the Glenn Van Noord Short-Term Urban Missions Program.

Through this program students serve in short-term placements (over the summer) in Grand Rapids. Local urban ministries receive free help and our students gain invaluable experience. The positions are open to Thornapple Covenant Church college students and fall juniors and seniors in high school who feel called to serve in the inner city. Students must have their own transportation to get to and from work and each student earns a stipend, the amount of which depends on how many hours are worked (part time is 125 hours and full time is 250 hours, and the hourly rate will be at least $10.00). Scroll down to read more about the application process and program details.

The application window opens each year the first week in March.
Contact Laurie Guikema if you have questions about this program.

2021 Program participants

  • Zach Guikema served at Heartside Ministries
  • Claire Vanderwall served at Degage Ministries
  • Jackie McLaughlin served at West Michigan Refugee Education Center
  • Josephine Koch served at Family Promise AND Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF) 

who was glenn van noord?

Glenn Van Noord was a family physician in Grand Rapids and a member of Thornapple Covenant Church from 1993 until 1998. He liked the idea of continuing a legacy of his grandparents, who into their 80s volunteered at Degage Ministries in downtown Grand Rapids. He started a youth group trip each month to Degage, feeling it was important for his and other kids at Thornapple to be exposed to lifestyles and opinions and experiences which were different from their own. He also volunteered at the health clinic at Heartside in Grand Rapids’ homeless community. At age 51, his love for adventure and new experiences brought him to Central America, where he died suddenly of a heart attack. The Glenn Van Noord Short-Term Urban Missions Program combines some of the things that made Glenn who he was: new experiences, serving the poor, love for teenagers and the gospel.

Program application
and summer Process

1. Each student first completes the online application.

2. A coordinator will contact students within 2 weeks of receiving an application to set up an interview.

3. The interview will be a time for the coordinators to get to know the student, answer questions, and talk about the various urban ministries where they might want to work.

4. The coordinator will set up a time for the student to meet the supervisor at the urban ministry that the student is interested in.

5. The student meets with the supervisor at the organization they are interested in to be sure that it is a good fit for both the organization and the student.
6.  Each student must attend the orientation session with the program coordinators the first Sunday in May. This is required.

7. Once the placement is set and orientation is complete, then the student communicates with the urban ministry supervisor (where they will be working) about when they will start, hours they want to work and any weeks that they cannot work.

8. After the student completes all of the required hours at the end of the summer, they write a reflection paper (one page) describing their experience and what they learned. The paper must be turned in by email to the coordinators.

9. Once the hours are complete and the paper is turned in, then the coordinators request the church accountant to make payment of the stipend to the student.