LEADERSHIP

  • Lisa Blystra

    President/CEO

  • JR DeGroot

    Vice President of Operations & Finance

  • Dave Gilman

    Vice President of Advancement

  • Brenda McGowan

    Vice President of Programming

Lisa Blystra

President/CEO

Lisa Blystra has been the leader of Crossroads Prison Ministries since 2015.

Previously, Blystra was a vice president at Prison Fellowship, serving as the director of church engagement and reentry. During her tenure at Prison Fellowship, she was instrumental in expanding the network of churches involved in prison ministry across the nation. Prior to that, she served as pastor of global and community partnerships at Ridge Point Community Church in Holland, where she expanded 70×7 Life Recovery, a reentry program that connects men and women returning home to Christian mentors in their communities. This faith-based model has received state recognition for significantly reducing recidivism.

Blystra has a passion for the local church and believes it has the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of people in prison.

“My past experiences have opened my eyes to the amazing, untapped, restorative capacity of the local church to bring hope and healing to the broken things of this world,” she said. “Faith-based nonprofits play a unique role in unleashing the power of the Church.”

JR DeGroot

Vice President of Operations & Finance

With a BA in business and accounting from Calvin College and 30 years of business experience, JR lives for financials, budgets, forecasts—anything that can live in a spreadsheet. Before coming to Crossroads in 2015, he worked for 23 years in the private corrections industry, managing finances and operations of multiple facilities across the country. He has been married to his wife, Laura, for 30 years and has twin daughters who are both Calvin grads. He’s a native of Chicago but grew up in Colorado, where he developed a passion for the Rockies, Broncos and University of Colorado Buffaloes.

Dave Gilman

Vice President of Advancement

Dave leads Crossroads’ marketing, communications and fundraising efforts. He’s worked with nonprofit ministries for eighteen years and loves to see people’s hearts embrace great needs as they find the joy of generous giving. Dave and his wife have four kids, in every stage. His extracurricular activities include listening to music of every sort, thinking about sailing and working on his ninety-year-old house.

Brenda McGowan

Vice President of Programming

A proud native of the south side of Chicago, Brenda graduated from Spring Arbor University with a BA in family life education. She obtained her master of public administration from Walden University. She has worked across systems to build public-private partnerships in twenty-nine states, primarily in the field of criminal justice reform and effective family programs. She began her career in criminal justice reform while serving as advisory council chairperson for the St. Joseph County Michigan Prison Reentry Initiative in 2006. Before coming to Crossroads, she served with Prison Fellowship as a director, serving in twenty-six states, and she later served as national director of church and community engagement. Brenda has a passion for building collaborative, strong and caring communities, both inside and outside prison walls. She is a national trainer and consultant for Nurturing Parenting Programs. She enjoys her time at home nurturing her plants and a twenty-six-year marriage to her husband, Robert. She has four adult children and four grandchildren.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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