Obscure Servants

On the next few pages you will find photos and information about the men and women approved by Synod 2015 as candidates for ministry of the Word. I call them “obscure servants.” They are following the model of the one described in Isaiah 53 who became truly obscure. As disciples of the suffering servant, Jesus Christ, they have prepared for the particular service of vocational ministry. They believe Jesus’ words “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39).

Our culture is not one that glorifies obscurity. Even the less edgy word ordinary feels to many like an insult. Yet in the scheme of things, pastoral service in the Christian Reformed Church in North America is a life of obscurity. In spite of our joy at seeing God at work within our churches and ministries, we need to recognize that few people in North America have even heard of this denomination. Not many of our members, if any, receive national acclaim in Time magazine’s list of influential people. Most of our churches are known only within their local communities. 

But these candidates are eager to serve, even in obscurity. They may wrestle with the human urge for recognition. They may need some help in learning the virtue of true humility. Some may be tempted to think too highly of themselves and miss the opportunity to glorify God, as they are sometimes treated as if they are extremely significant. Yet they have been trained in the value of servant leadership and are wise if they adopt the posture of the foot washer. Such a posture makes the life of pastoral prayer very natural. Such a posture guards pastors from thinking too highly of themselves and from screaming in protest when inevitable and sometimes unkind criticism is expressed.

Our fine denominational school, Calvin Theological Seminary, has had a part in the training and preparation of each of these candidates. Many of us look upon Calvin as an outstanding institution with worldwide acclaim. Yet we recognize that in the end, it too is an obscure tool, unknown by the vast majority of the world’s population. Even so, it is still wonderfully useful in the hands of a sovereign God. Many of the candidates have earned their degree from this school, and all the rest have completed the required program for candidacy offered through Calvin Seminary on behalf of the Christian Reformed Church. We appreciate greatly the servant heart of the seminary and its faculty in helping prepare ministers for our church. 

As you review these pages, offer a prayer for the seminary and its faculty, and offer a prayer for each of the candidates. Pray for their discernment and for patience as they await a call. Pray that they will find joy in the obscure service that awaits them. And be ready to meet them along the way with a word of encouragement as they take their place serving alongside you.

For more detailed information on any of these candidates, visit the Candidacy Committee website at crcna.org.

 

* Asterisks indicate candidates who are not eligible for call until they have completed all requirements.

Andrea Baas
616-214-6366
andrea.m.w.baas@gmail.com

Nicholas Baas
616-821-3874
n.christof.baas@gmail.com

Hyeon (Tony) Bang*
Languages: Korean
1-778-551-1809
antonybang@yahoo.com

Jenna Brandsen
Languages: Spanish comprehension
616-610-4185
jenna.brandsen@westernsem.edu

Blake Ian Campbell
708-819-0833
blakecampbell1990@yahoo.com

Jeffrey Chang*
Languages: Mandarin, Taiwanese
347-722-572
pastorjeff130@gmail.com

Joshua Christoffels
760-412-1806
joshkaren04@gmail.com

Bryant DeKruyter
Languages: Conversational Spanish
313-605-2859
bryantdekr@gmail.com

Kendra Ettema
810-358-4064
ken21ruth@gmail.com

Shelby Gemmen
616-212-1351
sgemmen9@calvinseminary.edu

David Groen*
604-315-2521
dgroen@nwcrc.ca

Robert Hoekstra
519-370-0381
hoekstradadof4@gmail.com

Darren Hoogendoorn*
905-243-0509
hoogendoorndarren@gmail.com

Jin Su Hwang
Languages: Korean
516-395-4505
jsh23@calvinseminary.edu

Edward Jiang*
Languages: Chinese
412-999-9853
ed.jiang@ccic-iowa.org

Eric Kas
616-299-2868
ekas4219@gmail.com

Yongwan Kim
Languages: Korean
347-537-8317
dyddhks77@gmail.com

Kristy Manion
616-745-6588
krmanion@gmail.com

Elaine May
616-724-6820
egm087@calvinseminary.edu

Janina Mobach
778-938-0937
janina.mobach@gmail.com

Mark Mohrlang
206-919-4053
mark.mohrlang@gmail.com

Karis Mpindi
Languages: French
616-826-2827
km017@calvinseminary.edu

Joseph Nasvytis*
Languages: Conversational in Turkish
630-442-3036
jwnasvytis@yahoo.com

Jacob Porter
616-437-0288
pastorjake80@gmail.com

Christina Rea*
574-271-7875
christina.brinks.rea@gmail.com

Barbara Sanders
616-340-5986
barbsanders82@gmail.com

Hannah Smele
616-375-7563
hrs027@calvinseminary.edu

Jason Terpstra*
616-648-6871
jt079@calvinseminary.edu

David van Eyk*
519-358-3525
mrdavidvaneyk@gmail.com

Chad Van Ginkel
712-441-5272
gink@faith-crc.org

Charles Van Hoffen
616-309-5944
cwvh052@calvinseminary.edu

Corey Van Huizen*
616-647-7142
cv096@calvinseminary.edu

Scott Van Voorst
616-724-6230
sjvv081@calvinseminary.edu

Mary L. Vanden Berg

Jeremy Vandermeer
604-671-0022
vandermeer.js@gmail.com

Kevin VanderVeen
616-258-3979
kv081@calvinseminary.edu

Mark VanderWerf
616-240-7972
mvanderwerf@grcs.org

Philip VanderWindt
616-821-5411
p.j.vanderwindt@gmail.com

Ben vanStraten
616-432-9468
bgv017@calvinseminary.edu

Adam Veenstra
613-532-9311 (Canada)
616-309-6669 (U.S.)
adam_veenstra@hotmail.com

Jesse Lee Walhof*
712-540-8487
jsswalhof@gmail.com

Perrin Werner
651-494-2158
perrin.werner@gmail.com

Rhonda Workman
616-648-7402
r2work@gmail.com

David Zigterman
630-915-6540
dpz029@calvinseminary.edu

About the Author

Rev. David Koll Director of Candidacy for the Candidacy Committee of the CRC and the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary

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