Beginning June 28 nonprofit adviser and consultant Lloyd VanderKwaak will serve the Christian Reformed Church’s new Office of General Secretary as interim chief administrative officer. It’s a new role created as part of the restructuring just approved by Synod 2022 (the denomination’s annual general assembly), which is responsible and accountable for all administration and ministry operations within the CRCNA organization. Although a search team sought a chief administrator to coincide with the new general secretary’s start date, the search was not successful.
Synod appointed Zachary King as general secretary and authorized his office to complete all necessary hiring. VanderKwaak has agreed to serve until the end of the calendar year, or until a permanent CAO is found. He has already had a hand in implementing the structure he will step into. VanderKwaak was a volunteer consultant appointed by the CRC’s Council of Delegates to the structure and leadership task force (SALT) report implementation committee.
“He has a great knowledge of board leadership and can help us make the corresponding changes to our governance processes,” said King, noting also, “Lloyd has gotten to know CRCNA leaders personally through the joint ministry agreement process and has a relational foundation to begin his work.”
VanderKwaak, 65, was born in Canada and spent most of his professional career leading two charitable organizations in Iowa. He’s a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen and holds a doctorate in organizational learning and development. He and his wife, Vicky, now live on a rural property outside of Glen Arbor, Mich., and they attend Watershed Church, a Christian Reformed congregation in Traverse City. While serving on the SALT implementation committee he facilitated the development of the joint ministry agreements that the binational CRC is using to guide and manage ministry activities in the U.S., Canada, and internationally.
Recognizing that he might serve for just about six months, VanderKwaak said, “My hope is to bring ministry leaders together to begin the process of implementing what Synod 2022 has approved and then hopefully pass on that work to the new chief administrative officer.”
VanderKwaak described two pathways of work within the Office of General Secretary: King’s role as general secretary is focused on the ecclesiastical responsibilities delegated by synod, and the role of the administrative officer is to strengthen the administrative and organizational functions of the CRCNA. Both positions work together, with the Council of Delegates, the church’s board of governors, to “strengthen the organizational culture, leadership, and governance,” VanderKwaak said.
“Boards and ministry leaders need to work together in partnership to further the mission and work of the church,” he said.
VanderKwaak will work primarily in the Grand Rapids, Mich., office of the CRC and also expects to spend time in the Canadian office. “Working in person is a great way of nurturing relationships and building culture,” he said.
In a letter to denominational staff, King wrote, “I am tremendously thankful for Lloyd’s diligence, orientation to partnership, and desire to serve Christ and his church” as he takes this gap position.