Who We Are

At The Meeting Place Church in Nanaimo, we like to say that we are a church for people who aren't into church.

We don't pretend to have it all together or know all the answers. We've just experienced the amazing difference that Jesus Christ has made in our lives and in the lives of the hundreds of people that call TMP home.

Together, we keep walking on this journey of life that we've all been invited into, supporting one another and always looking for opportunities to share love, kindness and hope with everyone - regardless of race, religion, orientation, politics, ethnicity or anything else.

We are on an all-out mission to learn how to live life with faith, peace, confidence and joy... and to fully share Christ's love with our world. There's always room for you to join us!


Staff

Rod Kolke

Lead Pastor // Email

Rod Kolke

The thing I love most about TMP is that it is the most positive, encouraging and life-changing place I have ever been a part of.

TMP has grown to become a source of hope to so many people from so many different backgrounds - it truly is amazing!

Getting up early on a Sunday to spend time with my friends as we set up the Avalon theatre for church is the highlight of my week. I love encouraging all sorts of different people to use their God-given abilities and gifts and celebrating with them as they find their place on a team full of people who love them.

My favourite things are hot summer days, books that challenge my assumptions and riding Triumph motorcycles. Ever since traveling to Thailand I like hot peppers on everything - breakfast, lunch and dinner - a preference that has strangely never caught on with my wife or kids.

Garry Firth

Associate Pastor // Email

Garry Firth

I've served and been involved in church for most of my adult life. The thing that I absolutely love about TMP is that everything we do is geared toward creating a safe place where people who are skeptical about God can come and discover God's unconditional love and acceptance - no matter where they've been, no matter what they've done, and no matter what's been done to them. 

I have seen God's creativity up close, having spent over 6500 hrs underwater working as a commercial diver. I'm married to my high-school sweetheart for over 30 years and have three daughters who are all married.

When it comes time to unplug from it all, I slip on a motorcycle helmet and hit the road ... and if I'm not hitting the road I'm trying to hit a small white ball into a little wee hole in the grass.

 

Julian Bakker

Music Director // Email

Julian Bakker

TMP is amazing because it creates an amazing space of potential to serve, be encouraged, and learn about life, love, and God.

Some stuff about me: I really (really) like pizza, the band Oasis, and the movie Hot Fuzz.

In my spare time, I study geography, urbanism, music, and photography. I won't be surprised if you tell me I probably read more than I should.

 

Miranda Prescott

Kidz Place Director // Email

Miranda Prescott Nanaimo Church Childrens Ministry

One of the things I admire about TMP is the feeling of acceptance you have as soon as you walk in the doors. It's a community of people that allow you to feel loved and welcomed as you are, flaws and all. It is a place where you don’t have to wear a mask. 

I feel like all kids have a voice that should be heard. My goal is to be a support and encourager, equipping them with the tools they need to become their future best. 

I'm from Kelowna, BC and ventured to the island in pursuit of Marine Biology. I am a bit of a fish nerd, and love spending my spare time splashing around in tide pools. Tea and popcorn are my kryptonite, and I cherish my family and friends who have built into who I am today.

 

Peter Bird

Youth & Young Adults Pastor // Email

Peter Bird - Nanaimo Church Youth Director.jpg

My name is Peter and I am the Youth and Young Adults Pastor here at The Meeting Place! I love playing music, listening to music, going to see bands, watching band documentaries … you get the idea. As well as doing anything music, I can be found playing hockey and having adventures with friends. 

I started attending The Meeting Place in September, 2012. My first Sunday in town I showed up and it is all history from there. What really attracted me to TMP was how genuine and kind everyone was, and how they worked hard to create an environment that gave people space to explore their questions about who God is. I am so excited that I now get to work with great people to support the purpose God has given us to bring His love and message of hope to the people of Nanaimo and the world. 

 
 

Lauren Whitworth

Spiritual Formation // Email

Lauren Whitworth

My favourite thing about TMP is that it is a church full of people who are normal, real, broken and authentic.

I love that you can come just exactly how you are and no one will make you feel weird.

Being an entrepreneur is in my DNA. I love starting new projects and helping new ventures grow into something meaningful that brings value to the lives of others.

My favourite time-off activity is hiking in a wilderness area with my family (including our dogs).


Leadership Team

 

Tim Christensen

Leadership Team Chair

Tim Christensen

When I'm not shooting arrows, jigging for cod or chasing furry creatures through the woods you’ll likely find me sipping java somewhere, happily dreaming about the next camping trip.

Between outdoor adventures, I serve the community of Penelakut Island, and play dad to our boys Alex and Nathan, sculpting my beard and marveling at my incredible wife, Julie.

I love being part of the team at The Meeting Place and watching people experience those ‘aha’ moments when something new about God’s love for them is finally grasped.

Seeing so many people bring their skills and gifts together with the goal of helping spiritual seekers become followers of Christ is one of the highlights of my life.

 

Eric Kuehnel

Leadership Team

Eric Kuehnel.jpg

I’m a husband, father, son, brother, friend, student, teacher, dreamer & doer.

Whether it’s business and philosophy, or just casting a line in a beautiful river somewhere, I love both people as well as thoughtful, peaceful solitude.

I love TMP because I’m regularly challenged to try something new and interesting, whether it’s in my music or strategizing new initiatives. Plus, we laugh a lot and that helps balance out my serious side. I can easily get lost in thought trying to solve the puzzles of life for myself or others, so I’m grateful for my TMP friends who remind me that I’m unconditionally loved by God and can just enjoy being who I was created to be.

When members of Christ’s church live in loving unity, and embrace the purpose God has called the church to, there isn’t anything that cannot be accomplished!

Faith Lam

Leadership Team

Faith Lam

After working in the social services field for 30 years,  I am very excited about serving at TMP with like-minded people who have experienced the magnificent power of God in our community,  and his love and compassion for humanity.  I look forward to every Sunday where we can come together to explore God’s intentions and purposes in our lives and encourage one another. The topics are so down to earth and applicable to our daily lives and I love how you can ask any question without being judged.

Originally born in Hong Kong,  I love traveling to different parts of the world and experiencing various cultures. Traveling to Turkey and Venice to attend cultural weddings are highlights. With my adult children,  Michael and Jessica, flying the coop, I now enjoy new found interest in hiking the Alpine Rockies in the summer and day hikes around beautiful Vancouver Island. Community gardening has also  added flavour to my life!

 

Shawneen Walker

Leadership Team

Shawneen Walker

TMP has felt like home since the very first service I attended in 2009. I love the unique dichotomy of TMP – it’s relevant for seekers and followers, you can be anonymous or completely connected, you can bring your own coffee or share some of ours! 

It is amazing to be part of a church that makes the word of God uncomplicated, understandable and accessible.

My husband Dustin and I have a crazy, beautiful little girl, Elliott. I have a pretty cool job as a biologist – I have travelled all over the country to catch fish, count animals from helicopters and play in the mud. Some of my favourite things are spreadsheets, tacos and sasquatches. 

 

Bill Pranke

Leadership Team

I was born in a little log farm house in eastern Saskatchewan, attended a little one room country school and after high school married Sonia, the love of my life. We are proud parents of four, with seven grandkids and six great-grandkids. 

I worked as a Service Training Manager with Chrysler Canada for 32 years, and retired and moved to Nanaimo in 2009. Over the years I have served on numerous church and denomination boards, as well as being involved in establishing Kamp Kawakawa in the 70's. After retirement I served for two years as administrator in an International Church in Warsaw, Poland.

For over a decade and a half after choosing to follow Christ at age 15, I struggled with Christian life in a super legalistic atmosphere. I finally discovered that God loved me exactly the way he created me. What a relief! I love that The Meeting Place shares that same message with everyone, and that together we continue to grow in God's grace.

 

Our Values

✪ Love:
We invest in loving relationships in every aspect of life, and practically live out our belief that grace and mercy triumph over judgment. (1 Corinthians 13; John 13:34-35; John 15:12-14)

✪ Authenticity:
We strive to be honest about the joys and challenges we face as we grow deeper in our understanding of how to follow Jesus Christ in our lives, our families, our jobs, and our city.  (Ephesians 4:25,32; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 12:1; Matthew 26:38; James 5:16)

Community:
We pursue life in relationships where we accept each other, share what we have, and joyfully serve one another. (Acts 2:42-47, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 8:7)

 Freedom:
We believe that Jesus Christ came to set us free from living lives as slaves to our past, fear, judgment and death so that we can be agents of restoration between God, people, and our broken world. (Hebrews 2:14-15; Romans 8:15; Galatians 5:1)

Excellence:
We not-so-perfectly but enthusiastically give our best because it honours God and inspires people. (Philippians 4:8; Proverbs 27:17)