Welcome DC Alumni!
For over 100 years, Denver Christian School has graduated students prepared to love and serve in God’s world, working to transform it for Jesus Christ. We consider you, our alumni, not only our success stories, but also our extended family. Our goal is to keep DC alumni connected to each other and to DC. We’re here to help you organize a class reunion, connect you with former classmates, and keep you informed about what is happening at Denver Christian. Because we want to stay in touch with you, please keep us up to date with your contact information by filling out the form below, or if you prefer, by emailing Jill Kalkman, our Development and Alumni Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also include life updates and stories of what you are doing for future publications and our website — feel free to email a photo of yourself engaged in the work or volunteer activity to which God has called you. Thanks for sticking around. We love our alumni!
Check Out Our Incredible Alumni Stories/Updates
Joel Pelsue’s Story
Joel Pelsue graduated from Denver Christian in 1988. In the past 34 years, the Lord has taken Joel on a journey in ministry and the arts. Joel and his wife, Michelle, are the founders of Arts & Entertainment Ministries. They currently live in Los Angeles with their three children. They have traveled to over 31 countries, ministering to artists ranging from the beginning of their career to veteran creatives who have won Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, Tonys, etc.
Developing a calling for creatives in High School
During his time at Denver Christian, Joel was able to engage in a wide variety of opportunities, ranging from sports to band and music. Joel appreciated that DC culture encourages academics, athletics, and the arts. Joel was exposed to thinkers like Francis Schaeffer and saw how Chrisitian faith is expressed through architecture and culture.
In high school, Joel was a part of the chorale that performed in Europe. This experience made a huge impact on Joel. “The architecture and décor seemed to preach to those present about the grandeur, holiness and beauty of God. Sadly, churches today seem to be the opposite. It is as if they forget to embody the beauty of God and the beauty of the Gospel. Our culture is driven by beauty and aesthetics and yet church architecture is often boring and uninspiring. That trip to Europe was a wonderful taste of how cultures see God as more than merely True and Good. They also see God and the Gospel as beautiful.”
Even from his time in high school, the Lord was preparing Joel for his future. Joel says, “Little did I know then, I would end up living in Los Angeles, mentoring filmmakers, actors and other creatives how to be salt and light through the arts.”
College and the Early Stages of Ministry
After graduating from DCHS, Joel attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. He met his wife, Michelle, who was acting and producing Shakespeare Festivals while at Westmont. Michelle’s involvement in the arts was what sparked Joel’s interest in bringing Christ to the arts. As Joel played in a jazz band at locations from the UC Berkeley Jazz Festival to cafes and clubs, he and Michelle were able to begin leading other artists to Christ.
It became clear to Joel and Michelle that the Lord was calling them to minister to artists and creatives. As Joel completed his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary, they began ministering to artists at Disney, Universal, and in other venues. Next, they moved to New York to plant a sister church of Tim Keller’s Redeemer Presbyterian. The Lord opened doors for them to teach a group of artists at the forefront of mainstream culture–right across the street from Carnegie Hall.
Arts & Entertainment Ministries
After helping bring stability to a church plant in Los Angeles, the Pelsues were called to step out in faith and start their own ministry. Joel and Michelle disciple and mentor Christians in the art world, the media, and the entertainment industry. Joel says, “We have the privilege of encouraging and mentoring all kinds of artists – from dancers to video game developers, and from fine artists to filmmakers.” Joel and Michelle are able to nurture creatives to inspire and speak truth to culture and to the truth. They have spoken to think tanks and churches alike to help leaders understand how to better engage the arts as Christians.
Art and the Kingdom
Joel’s ministry and story are a powerful reminder that we all long for a world that is heaven. He remarks, “To reflect what is true, good, and beautiful about God will always require artists and creatives. They are the members of our churches and our society who have a gift for telling stories and creating art that awakens our hearts. They are the ones who write music that speaks to the soul. If the church is going to speak effectively to a broken world, then we must speak through the theater, the novels, the songs of our time, and the pulpit.
Joel is currently writing a book on the Theology of Beauty. To learn more about Arts & Entertainment Ministries, check out their website or blog! We are so thankful for the way that the Lord is using our alumni to impact the world through every industry they engage in. Our alumni in the arts, business, the medical field, and all other fields, are an inspiring reminder that the Lord will use us when we are willing to surrender our career and calling to him!
L – R: Jill (VanderArk) Kalkman/1980, Kara (Peters) VanDyke/2005, Kristyn (Borger) Everett/1998, Matt Olson/2001, Aric Aman/2015, Joan (Suwyn) Burkett/1964, Not pictured: Ron Forseth/1981, Kelsie (DeNooy) Ruter/2005, Jon VanGorp/1987
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