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 www.crcna.org.
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.
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
Language: EnglishContact: c/o Lloyd and Dianne Bierma438 A 12th Ave. Circle NESioux Center, IA email@example.comShawn Bootsma
Language: EnglishContact: 500 S. Grape St.Morrison, IL firstname.lastname@example.orgJohn A. Bothof*
Languages: English and basic DutchContact: 3347 Vassar St.Dearborn, MI email@example.comMicah Bruxvoort
Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 1601 E. 61st St.Sioux Falls, SD firstname.lastname@example.orgJeffrey R. Bulthuis
Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 16920 Elm Lane Dr.Tinley Park, IL email@example.comNicholas Davelaar
Languages: basic Dutch, basic Spanish, and EnglishContact: 12743 Goldenrod Ct.Wayland, MI firstname.lastname@example.orgB. Joy Engelsman
Language: EnglishContact: 3088 South Jasmine St.Denver, CO email@example.comTobin (Toby) S. Gruppen*
Language: EnglishContact: 3104 Roberts WayHolland, MI firstname.lastname@example.orgTodd H. Hilkemann
Languages: English and intermediate level Spanish Contact: 3053 Maryland Ave. SSt. Louis Park, MN email@example.comLeon Johnston
Language: EnglishContact: c/o Jack and Merry VandervalkBox 747Claresholm, AB T0L 0T0Canada403firstname.lastname@example.orgBen Katt
Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 8509 Greenwood Ave. North #20Seattle, WA email@example.comJames Kim
Languages: English and KoreanContact: 1594 Garden St.Anchorage, AK 99508907-272-8418(w), 907-868-3725(h)firstname.lastname@example.orgRita Klein-Geltink
Language: EnglishContact: 211 Dufferin St.Guelph, ON N1H 4B5Canada616email@example.comBrian Kuyper
Language: EnglishContact: 827 Concession 4, RR#3Jarvis, ON N0A 1J0Canada905firstname.lastname@example.orgHyuk Soo Kwon
Languages: Korean and EnglishContact: 1031 Calle AlegreGlendale, CA email@example.comZeke Nelson
Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 16895 Jeffrey Dr.Delhi, CA 95315209-201-4984 (cell)firstname.lastname@example.orgSamuel Perry
Language: EnglishContact: 7509 12th Ave.Jenison, MI email@example.comRichard L. Pinckney
Language: EnglishContact: 2315 Tulane Dr.Lansing, MI firstname.lastname@example.orgRobert L. Pollema Jr.
Language: EnglishContact: 5086 140th Ave. SEClara City, MN email@example.comDavid J. Prince
Language: EnglishContact: 3407 Burton Ridge Rd. SE, Apt FGrand Rapids, MI firstname.lastname@example.orgMichael Ribbens
Language: EnglishContact: 125 17th Street Circle SESioux Center, IA email@example.comDaniel Roels
Languages: Spanish and EnglishContact: 2253 Osceola Dr. SEGrand Rapids, MI firstname.lastname@example.orgDaniel Roukema
Language: EnglishContact: 30952 Sandpiper Dr.Abbotsford, BC V2T 5L6Canada604email@example.comBenjamin Spalink*
Languages: Japanese (conversational) and EnglishContact: 17 Ida St., Apt. 2Haledon, NJ firstname.lastname@example.orgDave Spoelma*
Language: EnglishContact: 5165 Marlowe SEKentwood, MI email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.orgMichael VanderKwaak
Language: EnglishContact: 8671 Sunrise Dr.Chilliwack, BC V2R 3J1Canada604email@example.comJana Vander Laan
Language: EnglishContact: 1206 Edna St. SEGrand Rapids, MI firstname.lastname@example.orgReese VanderVeen
Languages: Dutch (conversational) and EnglishContact: 120 North Virginia St.Conrad, MT email@example.comTheodore Vellenga
Languages: English and American sign languageContact: 811 S Westnedge, Apt. 1Kalamazoo, MI firstname.lastname@example.orgDavid Westra
Language: EnglishContact: 622 Benjamin SEGrand Rapids, MI email@example.comBrian Willats*
Language: EnglishContact: 985 S. Idaho St., #47La Habra, CA firstname.lastname@example.org