History of Volunteers In Service (VIS)

Volunteers In Service was founded in 1986 to be a support ministry for Grand Rapids area Christian Reformed deacons.

In the past 30 years, VIS has expanded its scope to work with many more denominations to help support them with their desire to reach out into their communities.

  • 1986 – Lori Wiersma hired as Program Director by Classis Thornapple Valley and Grandville deacons with seed money from CRWRC. Began in basement of Oakdale Park CRC.
  • 1987 – Supportive Friendship program began
  • 1989 – Service Projects program began.  VIS became computerized.
  • 1990 – First VIS newletter:  “Deacons Directions
  • 1992 – Pat Buist began as first Referral Coordinator.  Offices now located in donated space at 425 Michigan, NE.
  • 1994 – Regular follow-up of cases begun by 2 volunteers coming in to the VIS office each week.
  • 1995 – First annual Deacon Training
  • 1997 – Moved offices to 1725 South Division.
  • 1998 – VIS Car Ministry began
  • 1998 – First fall Leadership Training Event held at LaGrave CRC.
  • 2000 – First Fundraising House
  • 2002 – Offices moved to 2303 Kalamazoo, SE.  First Friends of VIS Banquet held.
  • 2003 – Mission House Fundraiser
  • 2004 – Equipping Church Network (ECN) program began.
  • 2005 – Mission House Fundraiser
  • 2007 – Koetje Fundraising Mission House
  • 2007 – Bernita Tuinenga hired as Connections Coordinator.
  • 2008 – Lori Wiersma retired as Executive Director.  Doug Redford hired as new Executive Director.
  • 2008 – Debbie Jones hired as Connections Coordinator.  Sea to Sea Cycle to Serve bike ride held.
  • 2008 – Offices renovated at 2303 Kalamazoo SE after fire.
  • 2008 – Offices moved to newly purchased and renovated building at 1940 Eastern Ave. SE.
  • 2009 – VIS Car Ministry changed from a vehicle rehabilitation service to a donation service to benefit VIS.
  • 2010 – Doug Redford resigned as Executive Director.  Bernita Tuinenga and Dave Ellens hired as Co-Executive Directors.
  • 2011 – ECN program no longer a VIS program.
  • 2011 – Last Cycle to Serve bike ride held at Millennium Park.
  • 2011 – 1940 Eastern Ave. building sold.  Moved into Providence CRC.
  • 2014 – Jeff Looman Memorial Bike Out Loud bike ride held at Millennium Park.
  • 2015 – VIS Fall Luncheon held at The Prince Center, Calvin College.
  • 2015 – Annual Leadership Training Event moved to Calvin College.
  • 2016 – First Financial Mentor Training held.
  • 2017 – Went back to having a single Executive Director, with Bernita Tuinenga filling that role.