Ben has been serving on the Production Team at Hoboken Grace, for nearly thirteen years. Unless you know where to look for him — in the back, behind all the equipment — you might not notice him on Sunday mornings. But working behind the scenes, Ben makes sure that the worship and message are heard, both in service and online. For years, Ben has gotten up early almost every Sunday morning. He’s there long before the first service starts and is rolling up cords well after the last service ends.
Ben became a father for the first time in December of 2014, and he says that since his firstborn Gabriel came along, serving has never been more of a sacrifice, or more important. Since Gabriel, Ben, and his wife Vanessa welcomed two more children, Jude and Violet.
On every occasion that Ben and Vanessa welcomed a new baby, they dedicated their newborn at Child Dedication.
When baby Gabriel was born, it wasn’t hard to tell how Ben looked at Gabriel as the center of his world. Ben described Gabriel as his special little friend and says he’s grateful and honored to be his father.
“Gabriel is a gift, and I can never take for granted the time I get to spend with him,” says Ben.
Despite this, at Gabriel’s baby dedication, Ben and Vanessa, promised that Gabriel would come third in their lives – vowing to put God and their marriage first. That’s a counterintuitive promise at best for most parents who would gladly give up anything and everything for their children.
This same process repeated itself again when Jude and Violet were born. The Broermans know that God loves their children even more than they do. And the best way to help them grow close to God is to live lives that put God first.
Looking back on when Gabriel was born, Ben remembers what it was like:
“It would have been so easy to stop serving when Gabriel was born,” says Ben. “It was a really challenging year at work. During the week, I would often have just half an hour in the mornings with Gabriel, and then at night, I would have to fight to make it home in time to read him a bedtime story. The weekends were really the only chance I got to spend much time with him.”
Ben says that he used to think about what he does on Sunday mornings as volunteering — going above and beyond, extra credit on life. But with that mentality, serving would be the first thing to get crossed off the to-do list when Ben’s time and energy are in short supply.
“I’ve come to understand that serving is not something I do for a gold star. It is something else, something central to my life,” he says.
These days, when Ben does has a Sunday off, he admits it feels kind of weird going to church and not serving. It no longer feels like worship to just sit there, and Ben wants to make sure his children see what worship really is. As important as it is for Gabriel, Jude, and Violet to know how much their dad loves them, it is just as important that they see that Ben loves God, and comes to know that love for himself.
“I want my kids to grow up watching me serve,” says Ben. “I hope they will understand how important it is to give to God’s purpose so that others will know how much God loves them. I hope my children will learn to truly give themselves to God at an early age, and I also hope they will see that serving brings me joy. Even when it’s challenging, and you feel worn out, when you find a way to serve God well, your heart is full.”
At Gabriel’s dedication in 2015, Justin Michael prayed these words over the Broerman family: “I pray that Gabriel will see how much Ben and Vanessa love you and serve you and care about you. And that he will catch that fire in his own life. We pray that he will follow you with everything, and grow up to become a man after your own heart.”
Now, seven years and two more children later, Ben has seen how important it has been to continue serving and setting a beautiful example for Gabriel, Jude, and Violet. On Child Dedication Sunday, when Ben and his family were up on stage with baby Violet just a few weeks ago, Pastor Chris remembered the first time this very article was published in 2015 and how he has seen Ben serve through all these years, even with his daily responsibilities as a husband and a father and how important this is for his family.