Rev. Robert Heerspink, head of the Christian Reformed Church’s media ministry, Back to God Ministries International, a careful and visionary administrator, and gospel communicator at heart, died all too soon Oct. 1 at age 57. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three months earlier.
Heerspink was born in Holland, Mich., where he attended the Christian schools. He attended Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating from the latter in 1978. The seminary award him a Master of Theology degree in 1979. He later received a Doctor of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.
Heerspink served the following CRC congregations: Eastmanville (Mich.) CRC, 1979; Prairie Edge CRC, Portage, Mich., 1984; Cottenwood CRC, Jenison, Mich., 1989; and Faith Community CRC, Wyoming, Mich., 1999.
In 2006, Heerspink was appointed director of Back to God Ministries International and filled that position till his death. He assumed responsibility at a time when BTGMI was moving through several organizational challenges. He served previously as chair of BTGMI’s board.
Heerspink always saw the work of the denominational ministries as the work of the church. He was a “church man” at heart. He brought that same vision to the denomination’s Pastoral Ministries board, of which he was the president for some time.
Heerspink possessed considerable leadership gifts: a sense of humor, a firm but never heavy-handed approach, a team player and encourager, and a pleasant demeanor rooted in his childlike trust in Christ. His work for the CRC was marked by a deep sense of theological integrity.
Prominent in Heerspink’s ministry was his emphasis on stewardship, which for him was closely related to the heart of Christianity. He wrote a book on that fundamental calling: Becoming a Firstfruits Congregation, published by Faith Alive. He wrote numerous Today daily devotionals and was actively involved in the Barnabas Foundation’s ministries.
Heerspink dearly loved his family. He is survived by his wife, Edith, and their children: Eric and Katie Heerspink, Joel Heerspink, and Amy Heerspink.