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Rev. Timothy Monsma, 79, was a devout missionary practitioner, scholar, and teacher. A specialist in bringing the gospel to the great cities of the world, he died on February 8 of vascular dementia.

Rev. Timothy Monsma

Monsma was born in 1933 in Detroit, Mich., where his father, Rev. Martin Monsma, was pastor of Grosse Pointe Park Christian Reformed Church. His father’s subsequent ministries brought Tim to Pella, Iowa, and Grand Rapids, Mich., where he attended Christian grade schools and high school.

Responding to a deep sense of calling, he attended Calvin College. He graduated from Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, Penn., with a B.D. degree, followed by a Th. M. degree from Calvin Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Urban Missiology from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif.

In l959, Monsma accepted a call from the Christian Reformed Church of Chandler, Minn. The Monsmas’ stay there was cut short because of an urgent call from the CRC Board of World Missions to go to Nigeria. He served there for 12 years.

Following two years of post-graduate studies, Monsma was appointed professor of missions at Reformed Bible Institute (now Kuyper College). In l982 he accepted a teaching position at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, then in Orange City, Iowa.

In l985 he was appointed director of cities for Christ Worldwide, in Escondido, Calif. He retired in l999.
Monsma was a most modest, humble, and devout Christian. He enjoyed an international reputation for his profound knowledge of missions, writing extensively about the great mission enterprise. Most well-known is the influential book he wrote in collaboration with Dr. Roger Greenway, Cities: Missions’ New Frontier (1982).

While living in Escondido, Monsma and his wife, Dorothy, spent much time in many countries around the world doing research and extensive lecturing. The Presbyterian Church in America mandated him to visit eight large cities in Africa and report on prospects for missionary work in those metropolitan areas.

Monsma was an accomplished linguist and attained fluency in the difficult Tiv language.

Monsma is survived by his wife, Dorothy, and their children Karl and Valerie Monsma, Sheri and Tom Muma, Karen and Andrew Visser, Dee Dee and John Hunt, and Mark and Sharia Monsma, as well as 18 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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