CRC Executive Director Resigns

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Rev. Gerard (Jerry) Dykstra has resigned from his position as executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, effective immediately, for personal and family reasons.

The announcement came from Rev. Mark Vermaire, president of the denomination’s Board of Trustees, at a special meeting of all staff at the church’s U.S. headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“The board is thankful for Jerry’s gifts in the past five and a half years,” Vermaire told staff.  “We are prayerful that God will continue to lead and guide him in this [next] stage of his life.”

Vermaire said that Dykstra and the board agreed that it was a mutually acceptable time for him to depart.

Dykstra served as executive director since 2006 after one year as the denominational director of ministries. Prior to that, he pastored churches in Michigan and California.

Rev. Bruce Adema, director of Canadian ministries for the CRC, will fill the essential duties of the office until an interim executive director can be named.

Vermaire said the board hopes to name an interim person within the next couple of weeks, in time for Synod 2011.

Further decisions about appointing a new executive director are yet to be dealt with by the board and synod.

“Jesus Christ is Lord of the church, and in every situation he leads and guides us,” Vermaire said. “We trust . . . God will lead us through this time.”

About the Authors

Gayla Postma retired as news editor for The Banner in 2020.

See comments (8)


Thank you, Gerry, for the hard work you've done during a difficult stage in our denomination's history. May God bless you moving forward!

I think the entire Denominatonal Management structure should be examed before anyone is hired to replacde the Executive Director. There is continuing centralization in the denomination while the churches are decentralizing. Our denomination is top heavy and should be downsized. Face it our top down style days are over.

Article in G.R. Press

Former CRC leader says he was forced out by board, 'did not know it was coming'
Published: Sunday, April 17, 2011, 7:11 AM
By Charley Honey | The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS — The Rev. Jerry Dykstra says Christian Reformed Church trustees made an “abrupt” decision by asking him to resign as executive director of the Grand Rapids-based denomination.
“The board of trustees made the decision this was a time for us to part company, so I accepted that and resigned,”
While stressing he did not want to criticize the board’s action, Dykstra said he “did not know it was coming” prior to meeting with board members April 5. He said he had not had prior conversations with the board about leaving the post he has held for five years.
“It’s certainly not how I would have handled it with any of my staff,” Dykstra added. “Why would we not have done a smooth transition and hand-off, so the way was well-prepared and well-paved for the next person? It’s a little too abrupt.”
CRC officials did not specify why Dykstra resigned, other than citing “personal and family reasons” in a press release. They later clarified there was no wrongdoing involved.
“While ‘personal and family reasons’ can sometimes be code-words for a moral failing or misconduct, they are not here,” said Board of Trustees President the Rev. Mark Vermaire. “Jerry has been and remains a member in good standing in the CRC.”
Vermaire declined to respond to Dykstra’s comments, but expressed gratitude for his years of service.
“Jerry helped lead the Christian Reformed Church during a difficult financial period, and he helped the church focus on the health of churches, for which we’re thankful,” said Vermaire, former pastor of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids.
Trustees hope to present a candidate for permanent executive director to the CRC Synod in 2012 or 2013, Vermaire said.
Dykstra, 61, a Holland native and minister’s son, was named executive director in 2006. He had served as director of denominational ministries for a year and as pastor of CRC congregations since 1990.
But his focusing more on churches and less on denominational agencies “created some tension in the system,” Dykstra said. “Certain folks didn’t think that’s where I should be spending my time.”
In a lengthy editorial published after Dykstra’s resignation, the CRC magazine The Banner expressed concern about increased centralization of authority at the top. While not singling out Dykstra, the editorial argued, “The changes made to make our denomination more efficient have caused more problems than they have solved.”
Dykstra acknowledged it has been “a very difficult time of transition for the church,” including more ethnic diversity in the churches that is not reflected in top leadership positions. But he insisted he was not given clear reasons for being asked to step down.
Vermaire would not elaborate on the sketchy wording of the press release. CRC Director of Communications Henry Hess said in an email, “It is fair to say that it was related to disagreements between Jerry and the board over how he was doing his job.”
Dykstra said he is hurt and saddened but not angry, and is taking some time to reflect on what God has in store for him.
“I love the Christian Reformed Church,” Dykstra said. “But I also recognize it’s God’s church and that he’s in charge. So I’m personally feeling fine.”

Article in G.R. Press:

Former CRC leader says he was forced out by board, 'did not know it was coming'

One of the requirements of making a comment here is to "Speak the truth". It appears that concept was not followed when the press release announced Jerry Dykstra's resignation. According to the article in the Grand Rapids Press on Sunday, April 17, 2011 he was asked to resign. Big difference - not exactly the truth. Certainly does not add to the credibility those in charge. People "Of the cloth" are held to a higher standard (rightly or wrongly). This was not handled in a Christian, businesslike way.

I was very dismayed to read this version of things in the most recent issue of The Banner - namely that Jerry Dykstra resigned "for personal and family reasons". Subsequent information sent from the Board of Trustees and the interim director does not square with this reason. A jointly crafted statement by the BOT and Jerry which jointly speaks the truth in love would have been much more honest and helpful. May I suggest that it is still not too late for such a joint statement? I would urge such a communication. At this point a public apology may also be warranted for disseminating misleading information.

I also would like to thank Gerry for the great and difficult work he has performed.

I am somewhat troubled that our Board of Trustees seems to not be able to figure out how to tell the truth that they asked Gerry to resign even thought they appreciate his work. It may save face to not tell the whole truth, but in this case it seems like this was pretty much a lie.

Perhaps it is time to question why we beleive a M Div and some pastoral experience qualifies a person to run a massive organization such as the CRC.

Hire a competent leader who has proven himself as a corporate executive and the BOT will not be able to push him around.