Sem Program for High Schoolers Produces Pastors

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This summer Calvin Theological Seminary’s Facing Your Future program reached a milestone.

Jeff Bulthuis, Nicolas Davelaar, and Daniel Roels, three participants in the very first FYF summer program in 1999, became candidates for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church.

The summer program offered by the seminary gives high school students in grades 11 and 12 an opportunity to discern a call to ministry. Through four weeks of class work, followed by practical excursion experiences, nearly 35 students each year have wrestled with the reality of ministry and God’s call on their lives.

“FYF played an important role in my sense of calling to ministry,” said Davelaar.

Roels also points to Facing Your Future as playing a pivotal role in his call process. “FYF was part of the long process of God reeling me into ministry. Would I have entered ministry without it? I think so, eventually. But without FYF, I don’t think I would have been as oriented to the possibility or have been as willing to let God put the big picture together around me during my college years,” he said.

While half or more of the 285 students who have been involved in the program are still in college, 32 students have gone on to seminary and another eight have gone into para-church or mission work after college.

“It’s exciting to see how many FYF alumni are key student leaders at the colleges they attend,” said Rev. Duane Kelderman, vice president of administration at the seminary. “God has clearly used FYF to develop leadership gifts in many young people and nurture a call to vocational ministry.”

Nurturing a call to ministry is just what the program seeks to do. Because of the FYF nominating process, current pastors and church leaders are asked to think more specifically about the gifts and vocations of teenagers and how they might contribute to the church, not only in the future but also in the present.

“One important feature of the FYF program is that it has involved the whole church in identifying gifted young people and challenging them to consider vocational ministry,” said Kelderman.

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