This month’s spotlight alumni, Tim Van Stelle, (Class of 1976) has been an active part of the Denver Christian community since graduating. Tim’s life is a testament to the way that God uses our gifts to bless others. We only need to be willing to be his hands and feet in the world.
Growing up with a tight knit circle
Tim attended Denver Christian through his graduation in 1976. He and his family benefitted from the tight-knit community. Tim says that the sense of community has been consistent from the time he was a child. There is something special about school being more than your place of education. DC is a place where you truly belong and participate in an authentic community. “As a child, my parents’ entire circle of life and my circle were friends at DC.”
Most of Tim’s memories at Denver Christian have to do with the people who uplifted him, including his teachers and coaches: Mark Swalley, our former track coach, came to Denver Christian when Tim was in High School. While Tim says jokingly that he was only a “blossoming track athlete,” at the time, Mark embraced the team and challenged them to become better. Tim says that while track could have been a “mundane part of high school life, it was Mark’s engaging personality that took talents to a new level.” Eldon Dyk (teacher and coach) is another person who made a big impact on Tim’s life. While there were no AP classes at the time, a few students wanted to take advanced chemistry and physics. Mr. Dyk took it upon himself to develop a curriculum and teach these few students. To Tim, this speaks to his “quality and commitment as a teacher–that willingness to take on all that extra time for just a couple of students.”
Building Skills & Blessing Others
After graduation, Tim pursued a career as an electrical engineer and worked in electrical contracting. As Tim became more established in his career, he decided to also pursue business ownership. Tim bought the business that he worked at, Duro Electric, in 1996. During his time as a business owner, Tim saw more than ever how God uses our skills to bless others in the workplace. While Tim doesn’t miss the work side of things, he says, “What I miss is the employees.” In leadership, you have a special glimpse into people’s lives and play a huge role if you are willing to. Tim says that when employees would “come into the office with a major problem—marital, financial, a trauma–you could quietly use your gifts to assist them. You let them know the faith base of your company and your life.”
When Tim and his wife, Kim’s two children, Elliott and Kaitlin began attending school, they came to Denver Christian again. (This time as parents!) Through his friendship with staff and others at Denver Christian, Tim realized Denver Christian’s need for someone with his skills. He began helping with construction projects throughout the three campuses. Tim believes that his skill set “was a gift given to me,” for him to share with others. Tim sees God’s hand at work throughout his time volunteering at DC. To this day, Tim and his wife serve as volunteers at Denver Christian. (Many of you will recognize them from the front desk, where they greet families and staff every Wednesday.)
Serving on the DC Board
In addition to his work volunteering, Tim served on the board. This was during the pivotal transition from three separate campuses to our unified Teller Campus in 2012. During this process, Tim played a pivotal role in the construction process, sacrificing countless hours to make the new building an operational school. While the work was extensive, Tim’s passion made it energizing. He says, “I would have done it 30 hours a day if I could have.”
Tim says that working with a diverse group of people with different skills and perspectives was essential to making the move successfully. There were disagreements, negative reactions, and tensions throughout the process. However,Tim was also blessed to see the way that the community drew together and became even stronger. He says, “The core community that committed to Denver Christian during this time showed that we were one community” despite having been disjointed on three campuses before. There are fond memories from moving week. Tim recounts seeing kids running up to each other and hugging.Joyous, chaotic energy filled the whole campus. Tim says of this moment, “What could have been a divisive, destruction of the school turned out to be exactly what God had wanted all along.”
The Ever-Growing DC Community
Tim converses with families in the front lobby weekly. He says that the deep joy of what is happening at Denver Christian is evident. Tim jokes, “It’s just stunning–it’s almost like people are writing a script instead of being honest.” We have more powerful diversity and an “equally powerful sense of community” than ever before. We are so thankful for alumni like Tim. They do not just leave our school better than they found it as students, but who return year after year with their time and talent to pour into our school.