Five full-time staff members have left Christian Reformed Home Missions following the announcement that their positions would be moved out of the bi-national office.
Home Missions, the agency charged with planting new Christian Reformed churches, announced in October that it was moving its goal specialists out of the Grand Rapids, Mich., office.
The goal specialists, whose work focused on such areas as church planting, leadership development, and small group discipleship, would instead become part of one of 12 regional teams, reporting to a regional team leader.
Rev. Dan Ackerman, Rev. James Osterhouse, Diana Klungel, and Denise Stevenson all ended their tenure at Home Missions on Dec. 31. Rev. Willis Van Groningen will leave in April following a short-term writing project.
Rev. John Rozeboom, director of Home Missions, said not all of them were offered full-time positions because two of the positions, church planting and small group discipleship, are being studied by a task force.
“It became apparent that the key issue was how a central bi-national office gives meaningful support to local ministries and regional teams,” Rozeboom said.
Rozeboom acknowledged the difficulty in making these changes. “I don’t underestimate the pain of being uprooted from a position,” he said. “This change is wrenching.”
Rev. Gerard Dykstra, executive director of the denomination, said he was surprised that so many staff left but still supports the direction of Home Missions. “I certainly regret that we had some very good people who chose to leave Home Missions rather than take a new position,” he said.
Dykstra said the move “comes out of the reality that regional teams have been effective in connecting with local congregations.”
None of the five staff who left would comment, citing the conditions of their severance agreement.