Roger VanDerWerken grew up on a farm in upstate New York. Following graduation from High School he lived a year in the Netherlands as a foreign exchange student. Upon returning from Europe he attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, graduating in 1979. That same year, through extensive reading and some profound spiritual experiences, he became a follower of Jesus.
VanDerWerken spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy: a five-year stint as a Surface Warfare Officer, from 1979-1984, and fifteen years as a chaplain, from 1998-2013. In between, he served as the Associate Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Glenside, PA, and as the senior Pastor of the Memorial Baptist Church in Cortland, NY. VanDerWerken holds an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and a Th.M. in Ethics from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.
He is married to the former Jacque Myers of Burlington, Iowa. Roger and Jacque have three married children: Christina Fuller of Oceanside, Beth VanDerWerken of Valley Center, and Jordan VanDerWerken of New Orleans. VanDerWerken is the founding pastor of Breakwater Community Church in Oceanside, a 2017 church plant of the San Diego Southern Baptist Association.