Candidates for the Ministry 2007


Thirty seminary graduates have been declared candidates for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church this year. Most of these candidates earned their master-of-divinity degrees from Calvin Theological Seminary, the CRC’s official theological school, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Applicants who earned their degrees elsewhere have completed The CRC’s Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy, which is administered by CTS.

These candidates have been recommended for ministry by the Calvin Seminary faculty and the Synodical Ministerial Candidacy Committee (SMCC). Further information for each candidate, along with information on this year’s other Calvin Seminary graduates, is available on the CRC website at

Also introduced here, but not pictured, are those who received degrees from the seminary without seeking candidacy.

The Banner asked Rev. Thea Leunk, SMCC chair, and Rev. Duane Kelderman, Candidacy Committee chair at Calvin Seminary, to offer the candidates words of encouragement as they are introduced to the church.

Dear Candidates,

We have good news and, well, hard news for you. The good news is that the church you are about to serve wants you to flourish in your ministry! You have heard the call of God and answered it. Your dedication is remarkable. The church is moved by your sacrifice and hard work to get to this point. The church wants you to flourish.

The hard news is that you will truly flourish in your ministry only when you and the congregations you serve empty yourselves for Christ’s sake, when you take up your crosses and follow Jesus. And most days people aren’t standing in line eager to carry a cross, much less die on one with Christ. So the very church that wants you to succeed will often resist the call of the gospel. And you will get caught in the crossfire.

But be encouraged. Though the road ahead is difficult, it is also filled with joy and rewards too many to number. You will look far and long to find pastors who regret giving their lives to ministry. Indeed, when you lose your life for the gospel, you find it.

We encourage you to be humble. You have a lot to teach the church. You also have so much to learn. Good listening and good leadership are two sides of the same coin—now and throughout your ministry. The ministry is not about you. When you are weak, then you are strong.

We also encourage you to love those you lead. People cannot be bludgeoned into righteousness. Your message is a gospel of grace, not a yoke of commands. If people could be good, they would. They need a Savior. They need to be loved.

And finally, when you feel like the road is too long and the path too steep, remember, it’s not your church. It’s Christ’s. You don’t have to carry the whole load. A recurring and liberating discovery that pastors make throughout their ministry is that they are not God! Keeping that straight enables you to laugh a little more, to be thankful, and to be a little lighter on your feet.

Blessings in your ministry!

Thea LeunkChair, Synodical Ministerial Candidacy

Committee  Duane K. Kelderman

Chair, Calvin Theological Seminary Candidacy Committee

Troy Bierma

Language: EnglishContact: c/o Lloyd and Dianne Bierma438 A 12th Ave. Circle NESioux Center, IA

Shawn Bootsma

Language: EnglishContact: 500 S. Grape St.Morrison, IL

John A. Bothof*

Languages: English and basic DutchContact: 3347 Vassar St.Dearborn, MI

Micah Bruxvoort

Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 1601 E. 61st St.Sioux Falls, SD

Jeffrey R. Bulthuis

Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 16920 Elm Lane Dr.Tinley Park, IL

Nicholas Davelaar

Languages: basic Dutch, basic Spanish, and EnglishContact: 12743 Goldenrod Ct.Wayland, MI

B. Joy Engelsman

Language: EnglishContact: 3088 South Jasmine St.Denver, CO

Tobin (Toby) S. Gruppen*

Language: EnglishContact: 3104 Roberts WayHolland, MI

Todd H. Hilkemann

Languages: English and intermediate level Spanish Contact: 3053 Maryland Ave. SSt. Louis Park, MN

Leon Johnston

Language: EnglishContact: c/o Jack and Merry VandervalkBox 747Claresholm, AB T0L

Ben Katt

Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 8509 Greenwood Ave. North #20Seattle, WA

James Kim

Languages: English and KoreanContact: 1594 Garden St.Anchorage, AK 99508907-272-8418(w), 907-868-3725(h)

Rita Klein-Geltink

Language: EnglishContact: 211 Dufferin St.Guelph, ON  N1H

Brian Kuyper

Language: EnglishContact: 827 Concession 4, RR#3Jarvis, ON N0A

Hyuk Soo Kwon

Languages: Korean and EnglishContact: 1031 Calle AlegreGlendale, CA

Zeke Nelson

Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 16895 Jeffrey Dr.Delhi, CA 95315209-201-4984 (cell)

Samuel Perry

Language: EnglishContact: 7509 12th Ave.Jenison, MI

Richard L. Pinckney

Language: EnglishContact: 2315 Tulane Dr.Lansing, MI

Robert L. Pollema Jr.

Language: EnglishContact: 5086 140th Ave. SEClara City, MN

David J. Prince

Language: EnglishContact: 3407 Burton Ridge Rd. SE, Apt FGrand Rapids, MI

Michael Ribbens

Language: EnglishContact: 125 17th Street Circle SESioux Center, IA

Daniel Roels

Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 2253 Osceola Dr. SEGrand Rapids, MI

Daniel Roukema

Language: EnglishContact: 30952 Sandpiper Dr.Abbotsford, BC V2T

Benjamin Spalink*

Languages: Japanese (conversational) and EnglishContact: 17 Ida St., Apt. 2Haledon, NJ

Dave Spoelma*

Language: EnglishContact: 5165 Marlowe SEKentwood, MI

Michael VanderKwaak

Language: EnglishContact: 8671 Sunrise Dr.Chilliwack, BC V2R

Jana Vander Laan

Language: EnglishContact: 1206 Edna St. SEGrand Rapids, MI

Reese VanderVeen

Languages: Dutch (conversational) and EnglishContact: 120 North Virginia St.Conrad, MT

Theodore Vellenga

Languages: English and American sign languageContact: 811 S Westnedge, Apt. 1Kalamazoo, MI

David Westra

Language: EnglishContact: 622 Benjamin SEGrand Rapids, MI

Brian Willats*

Language: EnglishContact: 985 S. Idaho St., #47La Habra, CA