Synod 2006 voted unanimously to appoint Rev. Gerard L. “Jerry” Dykstra to lead the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
Dykstra told delegates his leadership style is modeled on the shepherds of the Bible such as Moses and David. “A shepherd doesn’t lead from the front or from behind,” he said. “The shepherd walks with the sheep, but he also knows where they’re going.”
Dykstra, 56, said that his vision for the church is a diverse family of healthy congregations. “My passion is for churches to become everything God meant them to be,” he said, “alive, vibrant, multiplying, reaching out, transforming lives and communities, not only in North America but around the world.”
But Dykstra acknowledged that the church faces challenges. “We struggle over women in office,” he said, “and it hurts. We’ll have to figure out how to deal with it, how we’re going to live with it, [how to] serve our Lord in spite of it.”
He also expressed concern about what the issue of homosexuality could do to the church. “It has the potential of tearing us apart,” he said. “I fear that in our desire to maintain the holiness of God, we [will] lose sight of the people he came to redeem; that in our desire for truth and righteousness, we somehow [will] cease to touch the lives of those who are touched by homosexuality. I don’t have the answers, but we will deal with it. We will have no choice.”
Dykstra has been a minister in the CRC since 1990, serving congregations in Michigan and California. For the past year he has been the director of denominational ministries. He was the single nominee for the position of executive director and will take up the position July 1. He succeeds Rev. Peter Borgdorff, who is retiring.
After making the appointment, synod surrounded Rev. Dykstra and his wife, Linda, with prayer.