Called To Serve

How did you learn

to spell your last name? Phil Vander Ploeg learned to spell his last name by singing the theme song to the Mickey Mouse Club! Try it – V-A-N-D-E-R-P-L-O-E-G! In case you are not a vocalist, you might like to know that it is pronounced Vander Ploog and is Dutch in origin.
    Phil and his family moved to Spartanburg from Wooster, Ohio. He had been a pastor in Goshen, Indiana, and then went to Ohio for seminary. God called him to move south and join the staff of SCBEST, teaching Bible at Dorman high school. “I love being with students and helping them understand the Bible,” says Phil. “I want to help prepare them for college and grow strong in their faith. Then when they are challenged they will be able to stand strong.” Part of his responsibilities included writing curriculum the students used.
    April Bussey was in Phil’s classes at Dorman. She says, “Through Phil’s class and getting to know him as a person I’ve been able to become so much more confident in my faith through the knowledge he has given me. He’s been a great mentor figure because he’s so real about what he’s thinking and the details of his life. I really love how he told us various situations he had been in and then told us exactly what he did and said at those times which helped me know how to apply my faith to more situations in my own life.”
    Phil and his family joined our church and began to volunteer in the student ministry. “FBS kids are solid. They live their faith. When I had them in my classes I was always very impressed when I met a FBS student.”
    Recently Phil was called to full time service at FBS as Associate Minister to College and Young Adults ages 18-28. “My passion is to help people understand the Bible. With this age group, it is critical for that to happen. They need a solid foundation on which to build their lives. I love helping young adults and students answer tough questions.”
    One of Phil’s responsibilities is to Merge, the weekly worship service for students and young adults. “I hope students will walk out of Merge knowing more about the Bible. My desire for students who attend Merge would be for them to be secret weapons on the college campuses in town.”    
    Our students and young adults are very excited that Phil will be part of the FBS ministry team. “Phil always goes beyond the surface with his answers which has been a huge help in my own walk with Christ,” says April. “I’m very excited that he’s at First Baptist now so that he can share with others what he’s shared with me.”
    In his free time Phil enjoys reading and writing instrumental music. When he is not in the College and Young Adult office, you may see him around church with his wife Corinne and two boys, Corban and Silas.
    If you have a minute, stop by the Hangar and welcome Phil and his family to our church staff or send him a note at