This year Northwestern hired alum Josh Kuipers as the new Director of Worship. Now overseeing all of the worship teams along with Sunday night Praise & Worship, Kuipers never expected he’d be back at the school he loved attending.
After graduating in 2009 with a youth ministry major, Kuipers spent several years at American Reformed Church in Orange City, working as the director of children and youth ministries. Following his time in town, he went on to work at First Reformed in Sioux Center for two years, acting as the middle school director and coordinating youth groups, Sunday schools, and after school programs.
“When this job became open, it was kind of the dream job that I never really thought would be possible,” Kuipers said. “My time in worship at NW was really formative for me. It’s where I really grew into the gifts and calling that I feel like the Lord has given me in my life. Everything was really solidified here.”
Kuipers has a history of music in his life, with almost all of it revolving around leadership or participation in worship. He played in a worship band in high school and was also involved in worship teams during his time at NW. Additionally, he has participated in a worship ministry in Sioux Center called HOME for the past six years.
Kuipers also has some experience with rock bands, even referring to a MySpace page for his old high school band, Catalyst. (The link could regrettably not be found, although if you asked him, he might gladly find it for you.)
Although this is Kuipers’ dream job, he recognizes there are some challenges that come along with the work. As far as chapel music goes, Kuipers said he works to make “a cohesive worship experience” by “coordinating all the different pieces and bringing them all together as smoothly as possible,” like small pieces in the mosaic of chapel. In arranging this process, Kuipers hopes to create a worship experience for everyone but recognizes the difficulty in doing so.
“Crafting services that speak to everyone’s heart in some way or another as much as possible can be tricky,” Kuipers said.
Despite the challenges, Kuipers has high hopes for his first year.
“I always tell the worship leaders that I think worship is not about perfection, but it’s about direction,” Kuipers said. “We’re always trying to do things with more and more excellence, not because we want to nail the performance, but we want to glorify God more and more by doing things better and better all the time.”
In the end, Kuipers is happy to be back at NW and looks forward to what his years here will bring.