The Making of a Servant Leader

“Leadership is serving and equipping others to serve in the body of Christ.”

This statement defines much of Jane Bruin’s life. Bruin’s ethnic heritage lies in Pakistan, but she was born and spent her early years in Nigeria before her family came to the United States. In Washington State, her family was invited to Lynden’s Sonlight Community CRC, where they began attending services. These early experiences as an immigrant have shaped how Bruin approaches leadership with others.

Another formative experience came at Calvin Seminary. After graduating from Dordt College in 1998, Bruin spent a number of years in West Africa teaching at Hillcrest School in Nigeria with Christian Reformed World Missions. When asked if she would consider teaching at the local seminary, Bruin decided to attend Calvin Seminary to obtain a Master of Arts in Missions. While there, she met her husband and they spent 16 months as interns in Nigeria. Later they also worked in Senegal.

Today, Bruin serves as Assistant Dean for International Student Development. She works closely with international students on Calvin College’s campus to help them reach their goals and become who God created them to be.

Bruin said that her servant leadership while on the mission field and in the Intercultural Student Development Center has been significantly shaped by her theological training. Her time at Calvin Seminary shaped her concept and theological framework for leadership and ministry and showed her that servant leadership is a large part of who she is.

She specifically credited Professor Ron Nydam’s pastoral care courses for demonstrating leadership to her. “He has a committed way of serving people . . . he taught [me] what it really means to be a servant leader to those on the mission field. Not forcing our own will [on others] but instead focusing on who God made them to be,” Bruin said.

Bruin now demonstrates those same skills in her daily work as she mentors a a core group of student leaders who counsel fellow students and program events for the community. She describes this work as “discipling in a less structured, more holistic way.”

It is a style of leadership that is  “speaking into people’s lives” and having a lasting impact.

 

Praying for Seminary Students

Students enrolled in the Leadership in Ministry course at Calvin Theological Seminary were asked how readers of The Banner could pray for them and their peers. Here are their prayer requests:

  • For the dividing walls of difference that separate—whether nationality, ethnicity, or gender—to be dismantled through intentional relationships of cross-cultural understanding and enjoyment.
  • Discernment for us as students as we sift and sort our particular calls to the ministry.
  • For our families as we understand the many sacrifices they make for the sake of our callings.
  • For the ministries that await us, most yet unknown. Join us in praying for these ministries and their boldness for the mission of God.
  • For financial resources for all students—being able to afford seminary education often requires sacrifices and part-time employment on top of our heavy course work.
  • For the Church to stay focused on the mission of God and for all of us to be centered on that focus.
  • That Seminary be a "safe place" for hard conversations we need to engage in order to be well-prepared for the challenges of culture and creed we will encounter in ministry.  

About the Author

Emily Sajdak, Calvin Seminary

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