To recognize the executive director’s ministry to the whole denomination, Synod 2015 made an exception to its rules regarding commissioned pastors. Steven Timmermans, executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, was recently examined and approved by Classis Grand Rapids East (a regional group of churches) as a commissioned pastor.
Ordinarily commissioned pastors serve only in the classis in which they are approved. However, Synod 2015 (the annual leadership meeting of the CRC) declared Timmermans to be a commissioned pastor throughout the denomination.
Timmermans is the first executive director who is not an ordained Minister of the Word, an exception granted by Synod 2013 with the caveat that the new director become an officebearer. Timmermans’s classis asked synod to extend his local ordination. Synod agreed, noting that “it is important for the executive director to be seen as serving the whole denomination and not only in those classes that choose to recognize him as a commissioned pastor.”
There was some discussion, with some delegates wondering if this would set precedent for other commissioned pastors. “We’re violating our own rules here,” said Rev. Mike Bentley, Classis Hudson. “I’m confused over exactly how wide we’re opening the door, or if it’s just because Steve is such an awesome guy.”
Synod’s decision noted that “this is not to be considered a new normal for the commissioned pastor position.”
Synod 2015 is meeting at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, from June 12-18. For continuous Banner coverage, please follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit crcna.org. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.