USA (MNN) — It is with heavy, yet hopeful hearts that Mission Network News staff and several of our ministry partners say “goodbye for now” to Lee Geysbeek, a godly man who had a resounding impact on the ministry world and passed away on December 1.
Geysbeek most recently served as the Radio Marketing Director for Compassion International. Previously, he worked for Cornerstone Radio as the Vice President for Broadcasting. Thanks to Geysbeek, MNN was acquired by Cornerstone Radio in 1995.
He also started WAY-FM and Children’s Sunshine Network, which later became HisKids Radio and is now known as Keys for Kids Radio. Geysbeek was a Keys for Kids Ministries board member when he passed.
Greg Yoder, Keys for Kids’ Executive Director and the former Executive Director of MNN, had a meaningful professional and personal relationship with Geysbeek. He says Geysbeek’s example of discipleship and leadership in missions is an influential model to Christians of what it means to love people and love Jesus well.
“Lee Geysbeek was obviously just a great man of God…. He was a friend to a lot of people. He loved the Lord. Everything he did was about sharing the Gospel with people.”
From a ministry standpoint, Yoder says, “He has just had a huge impact on the [broadcasting] industry. Not only was he a part of the West Michigan radio scene, but he really had a national presence. When he secured Mission Network News, he became a part of the missions world and helping radio stations understand their role in the world and seeing people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
A Heart of Discipleship
In Geysbeek’s various ministry roles, he exuded a heart for discipleship and intentionally invested in people.
“Whenever you’re talking about discipleship, the first thing is leading people to Christ — that’s the important thing — but then, following along with them and watching them grow and encouraging them in their walk. That’s what Lee did.”
On a personal note, Yoder shares, “He was the kind of man I went to when there was trauma in my life, when there were problems in my life, [or] when I just needed someone to bounce ideas off. Whether it be my kids or my walk with my wife or my walk with the Lord or struggles personally or professionally, Lee was the guy I picked up the phone and called.”
A Heart of Leadership
Geysbeek’s approach to leadership was also an inspiring example to others. Yoder witnessed this most recently through Geysbeek’s role at Keys for Kids.
“His leadership on our board was amazing, but also the way he mentored me in leading people. You don’t lead from the top. You lead alongside each other. At least, that’s how he taught us. He taught us that everybody’s ideas were important no matter their position.
“I always made fun of Lee because he always said, ‘Hey, we’re going to have a half-hour meeting,’ and it always turned into an hour and a half! Usually, it was because Lee had a good idea, but he wanted it to become our idea. He was just a master at creating that type of atmosphere within an organization.”
Yoder says Geysbeek’s model of leadership has influenced his own approach to ministry. “That’s what I’ve tried to do at Keys for Kids — to let everyone know, from the interns up, that their ideas are important.”
Pointing Others Back to Christ
Every Christian can learn from similar models in our lives — mature believers who lead with care, disciple with intentionality, and point others to lasting hope in Jesus Christ.
“Lee wasn’t anything without Christ, and Christ alone. He would be the one to say that.”
Yoder encourages believers with this challenge: “Lead like Jesus did. He washed people’s feet. I mean, think about that. He washed dirty feet, and that’s the true sign of a leader — people willing to do that.”
Geysbeek’s celebration of life will be held this Friday, December 7. Please pray for his family members during this time.
“There are a lot of people that have surrounded them and we’re thankful for that. But just be praying for Lee’s family — his wife, Janice; and his kids, Kelly, Chris, and Corey.”
Header photo of Lee Geysbeek and Greg Yoder, courtesy of Greg Yoder.