Get to know Battle Creek's Officers
Major Christie S. Van Zee
I am a fourth generation Salvationist (member of The Salvation Army) and have a great admiration for the Christian legacy left to me by both of my parents. Although my parents were divorced when I was young, I was raised by a loving mother who instilled in me the importance of following God’s will for my life. I was always encouraged to participate in the ministries of our church, The Salvation Army. I have only one sister who is also involved as a lay leader in The Salvation Army, and she has always supported me in ministry.
I met my future husband while attending The Salvation Army School for Officers Training, 1979-1981. Kevin and I were married in 1982, and have served in ministry together for thirty-six years as Salvation Army officers. We are currently appointed to The Salvation Army Battle Creek, Michigan Corps. We have three adult sons. John has worked for The Salvation Army at an Adult Rehabilitation Center, and will soon return to full time Camp Ministry at Gene Epply Camp in Omaha, NE. Adam works for Homeland Security as a Customs and Border Protection Officer in Detroit. His wife, Amy is a Social Worker for the University of Michigan Lung Transplant Team. Our grandson, Luke, is 2 years old the love of our life! David lives in Kingsport, TN and currently works for the Tennessee Welcome Bureau.
Commitment to Jesus Christ
Growing up in a Christian home was a tremendous blessing as I was constantly reminded of God’s love and salvation. It was during a Salvation Army summer camping ministry at Music Camp in Kansas City that I recall making that first conscious decision for Jesus to be my Savior when I was nine years old. There have been many defining moments in my spiritual walk since that initial conversion. Each experience reinforces the Truth that God is always with me, and desires the very best for my life as I surrender daily to Him.
At the age of fourteen, while attending a youth retreat with The Salvation Army, an artist displayed a potters’ wheel with a lump of clay. The artist carefully transformed that lump of clay into a vessel. That was a visual picture illustrating what God wanted to do with my life. It was at that youth retreat that I was called by God into full time ministry. Very recently, at a Salvation Army Women’s Ministry retreat, another artist with a potter’s wheel reminded me again that this lump of clay is not finished! God is still making and molding me to His purpose and usefulness. I am so thankful for my calling to be a Salvation Army Officer, and have been given many opportunities to serve God daily in this ministry. Whether it is planning and preparing for Sunday worship, various programs and activities, or praying with those in our congregation and community, God is at work.
The work given to me to do in any given day is different, challenging, and rewarding. I could find myself in a hospital room with a mom who just delivered a stillborn baby, and later the same day find myself celebrating life of a 90 year old member of our congregation! Sitting with families in their darkest hours of life, and also rejoicing with them is part of ministry that is unscripted.
The office hours, leading programs, handling business and employees is just the outer edges of officership. Investing into the lives of people is where the real reward will be found. Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in practical ways through life may lead someone to the Kingdom of God. This ministry is not something that takes place in any one single event or day, but is a lifetime of giving and living out God’s Word wherever He has placed me. That is the desire of my life and I’m so appreciative of my ministry partner and husband who shares the daily joys and sorrows in our journey together.
We serve God through the ministry avenue of The Salvation Army, and currently enjoy the people, the programs, and the possibilities of Battle Creek, MI.