It is likely that this column will be my “swan song” in the Church@Work pages of The Banner.
I expect that synod will appoint my successor when it meets in June and the new executive director will assume responsibility July 1 or shortly thereafter. If all goes as planned, the “Dear Reader” column in the July Banner will be written by our new executive director.
So, for a second time in a year, I am planning for my retirement. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the Christian Reformed Church over the past years, and I am thankful that its ministries will continue far into the future.
My personal ministry will also continue. In retirement I will be active as a member of Shawnee Park CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., and serve the Lord there as best as I am able.
I look forward to the change in pace, to a more flexible schedule, and to doing some things I did not previously have time for. I especially look forward to spending more time with my spouse, Janet, and our children and grandchildren. It has been a very busy several years. Their support and encouragement have been a vital part of my service, and I am grateful for them.
I’m also grateful for the privilege of working with denominational colleagues and staff throughout the years. There is great diversity among these folks, and while I have had more contact with some than with others, as a group they have been my friends and co-workers. I thank each one for their part in our ministry all of these years.
When I think about the CRC as I have experienced it for most of my life, I’d like to leave you with the following thoughts:
- As members of the CRC, we are greatly blessed to belong to a church that seeks to be faithful to the Scriptures and to the Reformed confessions. Occasionally someone will suggest that our leaders are less than fully committed to scriptural revelation, but I can tell you that, while no one is perfect, biblical integrity and confessional fidelity are high values among the leadership of the CRC.
- We can be grateful for the way the Lord is pleased to empower and use our relatively small denomination for service in the kingdom of his Son, Jesus Christ.
- I encourage us all to become more aware of the global Reformed community of which we are a part. Because Reformed churches mostly follow national borders, it sometimes seems that we are a small community. The fact is that there are approximately 750 Reformed and Presbyterian denominations around the world, and the Reformed family numbers in the millions. We would do well to fellowship with them as much as possible, appreciate their participation with us as family, and witness and serve together as we have opportunity.
- We can be grateful that we enjoy the fellowship of more than a thousand congregations throughout Canada and the United States that call themselves Christian Reformed. They are truly “a thousand points of light” on the hilltops of our communities to proclaim the lordship of Christ over all of creation.
Thanks be to God.