Jakob and his wife, Lorie, were both born and raised in Hamilton and reside in the north-end of the city. Jakob was raised by godly immigrant parents in Mission Baptist Church and the Romanian Baptist Church. In his sixteenth year, at a youth conference in Winnipeg, he sensed a distinct call that started him on a path towards pastoral ministry and mission work. Lorie came to Christ during university years and met Jakob at Mission Baptist Church. They were married in 1985 and the Lord has blessed them with three children, Timothy (married to Siobhan), Robert (married to Roxanne), and Nicoline (engaged to Isaac).
After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology at McMaster University, Jakob studied at Tyndale Seminary and completed his Master of Divinity degree at the North American Baptist Seminary in Edmonton. The Kochs’ early formative years of ministry were in Cameroon, West Africa, where he served as the National Youth Director for the Cameroon Baptist Convention. This involved the building and development of a youth camp, youth leadership training, and overseeing Cameroonian and foreign workers.
Upon returning to Canada, he became the Associate Pastor of Youth at Central Baptist Church, Brantford, ON. Later he served with the North American Baptist Conference in Toronto and planted All Nations Baptist Church, a congregation comprised mainly of people from Africa and the Caribbean. He has also served as an interim pastor in several churches. From 2000 to 2012, he was the Executive Director of the Liebenzell Mission of Canada (originally the German branch of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship). During this time he established an innovative international missionary internship program which equipped many missionary candidates from Europe for overseas mission work.
Jakob also served several years as Congregational Life Pastor of the People’s Church, Toronto working closely with Dr. Charles Price and participating on the Executive Leadership Team in the development and implementation for church vision, direction and growth. At Peoples’ he had overseen and equipped leaders in all congregational pastoral care and discipleship ministries from infancy to seniors, Life Groups and ethnic ministry fellowships. This included oversight of the Children’s ministry of 400 plus kids and over 200 volunteers, an experience which has strengthened his belief in the importance of integration between parents, children, youth and leadership as the church works together to raise children in the midst of the challenging pressures of our current society.
During his 30 years of pastoral ministry and mission work, Jakob speaks of a common thread throughout his life – a natural affinity for mentoring, discipling and mobilizing youth and young adults towards active ministry involvement, and that within the larger context of family. The heart of the Kochs’ call to serve is a deep love for people and a great joy in helping them find their passion and joy in living and serving in step with the Lord.