Service With A Smile
A chat with Doug Pruim '97
leaves little doubt that when God was handing out funny bones, Pruim got
in line twice.
"Humor is part of my upbringing,"
he says. "It's the overflow of joy in our minds, and Christians should
enjoy more humor. If you saw someone who never laughed, you would question
if they are human."
It may be difficult to think
of humor as an invaluable asset in his career as an associate pastor, but
it helps to alleviate some of the anxiety that people feel when he meets
"People have told me that
they never expected a pastor to crack jokes," says Pruim, who serves at
Palos Heights Christian Reformed Church, "but that lets them see that I'm
Pruim practiced Christian
comedy on a small scale during his days at the College, where he majored
in communication arts and minored in psychology. He formed a group called
"The Lumberjacks" with Curtis Draper '98 and David Vandermeulen '99 that
played to rave reviews before Trinity audiences.
Trollstock, the students'
annual springtime rock concert, got its moniker from Pruim. He acted in
four plays at the College and was a pioneer for big theater productions
at Trinity. Teaming with Jeremy Heyboer '98 (producer) and Teresa Wierenga
'97 (manager), he directed "To Kill A Mockingbird" in the spring of 1995.
"We wanted to prove there
would be interest in big productions," he remembers. "We played for two
nights at Chicago Christian High School, and our audiences totaled more
than 600 people."
The Oak Forest, Illinois,
native lives behind Palos Heights CRC with his wife, Jennifer (Anema '96),
and children, Elizabeth and Bryan. Although he has known since high school
that he would embark on a career in ministry, he chose not to major in
church education, theology, or another program traditionally associated
with his field.
"I knew I was going to seminary,
so people advised me not to get an undergraduate degree in something I
would study in seminary," Pruim says. "It was good for me to broaden my
horizons, which would prepare me better for ministry, and my background
in communication and psychology has helped me with preaching and pastoral
Before completing his master's
in divinity at Calvin Theological Seminary in 2001, he served as the youth
director at Palos United Methodist Church. Returning to Palos Heights gave
"This is a safe place for
me to grow and learn under a great pastor," Pruim says, referring to Rev.
Sam Hamstra. "Since this is very close to my hometown, there is a good
comfort level for me to start my ministry. And the opportunity to re-connect
with Trinity for some projects is a plus."
He taught a public speaking
class at Trinity during the fall semester in 2003. He also wrote a play
titled "Quite Possibly The Best Middle School Play Ever" for a Chicago-area
middle school. Whether as a playwright, a part-time professor, or a preacher,
Pruim's personality gives evidence of his strong faith.
"What I learned in the communication
arts program falls in line with Jesus' message for us to go out as sheep
among wolves. He tells us to be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves,
so we need to know how to best present the truth in the world we live in
without being consumed by it.
"I use humor as a reminder
that nothing in my life is ever going to be too much for me to handle.
I always believe that things will be OK. I don't have to be in control
because God is in control. He created us, He created humor, and our capacity
to enjoy humor rests in our being created in His image. That allows me
to flow through life laughing."
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