Notes from Steve Timmermans Interview


Dr. Steve Timmermans interviewed by CRC Synod for the position of Executive Director

  • Introduction
  • Questioner: If a man builds a house he’s a “timmerman”
  • Question: Who are you? your journey?
  • Grandville MI child of believing parents, Christian ed, Calvin College
  • Principle of Christian Learning Center
  • Graduate School Psychology
  • Teacher at Calvin College the President of Trinity Christian college
  • Milestones? Met John Perkins while he was in college. in 70s talking about redistribution, relocation, reconciliation. To live in places where they would be in the minority role understanding other cultures.
  • Question: Who is God? Who are you? How do you walk together?
  • God is loving father and I am his child. Sin, Salvation, Service, however you want to frame it. As JB framed it, in the arms of God. Now about what our hands can do, it’s about God’s hands.
  • Question: Why did you accept this job?
  • Everyone understands this confusing thing called a “call”. An internal sense. We wait for the external call. You all get to decide if it’s real or insanity?
  • Question: What will you be doing?
  • Quite an elaborate dance. Keeping one’s eye on the goal. I firmly believe the goal is our churches. To take the resources, the CT says God has lavished gifts on us, to take those gifts and use them to build up the church and the churches yet to be planted to grow and to flourish. Churches where folks don’t understand there is a need. Keeping that dance going, I don’t know exactly how that will be. My hope and prayer is that I won’t lose sight of the goal which is the church of Jesus Christ.
  • Question: Do you know where you’re going?
  • Our denom gets it right. It’s the church together.
  • Question: Culture and Structure?
  • Structure is important and needs improvement. Culture is really important and it gets glossed over. The task force will talk about governance models. I don’t know which one is right and I will faithfully serve in each. It allows a new generation to live into the call of the church.
  • Q: What unique gifts do you have?
  • Humility. I can juggle a number of things. I can be pastoral. I am a part of a helping profession. I am able to be grounded, in the word, the body of Christ and simply have a gift to try to live faithfully. Ignore the distractions.
  • Q: What weaknesses do you need to watch out for?
  • I get wrapped up into issues and drama, the kinds of things that happen in many of our weeks and I HAVE To Do Something… and my fault is that I think I can do something. In need to let go and give it to God.
  • Q: Many say the CRC is heading into tough times. Postmodernism. Commitment level decreasing. Youth leaving. Losing our identity. Maybe you can give us some direction. Who are we? What is the CRC? What makes us unique?
  • Young adults. Do we know our identity. We didn’t talk about that back then, it was clear. We have become so much more responsive but in the process perhaps more fuzzy. We invited young adults into that re-examination into who we are.
  • Young adults are indeed committed and faithful believers. We have to let them understand not that our identity is molded by the world, but they do understand contemporary society and together we explain to the world who we are.
  • Unique: We’re Reformed. We begin with creation. We believe in sovereignty. What makes us unique is where we begin, where God intended and we allow the Holy Spirit to empower us. The centrality of scripture. to bring about restoration.
  • Q: world and life view
  • I remember evangelism explosion. We were taught to ask questions “if you were to die tonight…” Young adults are much better asking a fellow friend things about “so, how does this all hang together…” to ask questions that delve into worldview. An incredible doorway into spreading the gospel.
  • Q: what message to young adults today?
  • Come, let’s link arms together and lets build the church together. if there needs to be a well in Ruanda they just go. Eventually I want them to learn to be in a complex organization but more I want the organization to respond to their vision.
  • Q: binationality
  • Binational report was a helpful first step. It reminds us of important things. Shared purpose of mission, different context different cultures. The BOT calls for the review of the agenda through Canadian lenses and American lenses. To pause and say “what might this mean to me in Chicago…” One church in different contexts and cultures.
  • Q: blessed to be with the RCA. What role will you play in continuing the conversation
  • I’ve been to a number of weddings and I notice that couples do the unity candle thing differently. Three candles. What do you do at the point of the marriage? keep three lit or snuff out the two. I want to keep all three lit. The CRC, the RCA and the way we work together. There are so many things that will continue to emerge.
  • Q: You are not ordained. is that a problem to you or a blessing?
  • I feel called to this position. I’ve been on a journey that many of you have been. I’m speaking to the elders. I’ve served as deacon and elder, taught catechism. Some of my vocational pursuits have allied me with ministry. As President of Trinity to be in a leadership position, not the church, but it is a form of ministry. I believe the wisdom in making this exception is that we’ll have a leadership team. From the gifts of the body we lead together. I will seek ordination as a commissioned pastor.
  • Q: On Friday AM the chair asked delegates to stand to signify agreement with three forms of unity? Did you stand? Why?
  • yes, in this age of presentism, we make decisions up on the spot. The mega church down the street did their own thing and didn’t rely on structures and cultures. In the new covenant for office bearers we promise to be formed and governed. These confessions and CT, even the Belhar form us and continue to form us. They are not static, dead documents. The ways in which we all commit to these strengthen us in our mission to Christ.
  • Open up to the floor for questions.
  • Chris Vos: I was a fan of yours when I saw you in that troll mascot? If we did would you wear it?
  • We’d need a study committee. laughter.
  • q: starting and sustaining is what we’re committed to. Can you say a word about your thoughts on starting especially.
  • We’re currently members of Loop CRC. Starting is tough. It’s moving around, rental space, but more importantly developing the body in a more sustained way. Those who draw together really bond together. Those involved in such efforts are in neighborhoods where people are transient. When it works its a beautiful thing. Whether the church starter 10 years ago or 100 years ago it’s also a challenge. Passing the torch.
  • Earlier we were part of a church in urban GR, to reorient to this new ministry is hard work. We do that together. That’s the value of denominations. We aren’t out there all alone. Find ways to increasing our support. Much good work already we can improve it.
  • Mike Johnson: q: What are some of the lessons from your role of college president that God used to prepare you?
  • So many ways to think about leadership. A few traps to avoid. The heroic, I can solve it, I know… Leadership must be done with the group that is the organization. The challenge of this position is that we stretch across a continent and its not just those called to administration that are working out the vision. The trap there is to think its the people in the building. No it’s not. It’s the people that care all around the continent and beyond. Teamwork, span of involvement.
  • To be certain about the goals. I’m not certain tonight but I know that much good work has been done with the SPaCT, TFSCS, etc. Much good work has been done to identify direction and target. I look forward to be part of you and a team assembled to bring those goals to fruition.
  • Gary Van leewen: Last few years we’ve received sudden resignations this as bred a sense of confusion and loss of trust. How will you rebuild trust?
  • Trust at many different locales. Trust in where WR, BTG, WM far away, etc. There is no quick and easy trust potion. What we’ve done these last few years is that we’ve been disruptive but I think we’re regaining our gate. My goal is to help us to continue to walk forward together. Synod 5 or 6 years down the road this will be a distant memory and we’ll be so clear where we’re going together.
  • Floyd Leo: please tell us what are the issues on which ST will not compromise and our denom will not compromise.
  • I can’t be full and thorough but I’ll name a couple
  • Factions, backbiting, in the offices doesn’t reflect who we are. I have a distaste for that kind of thing.
  • To consider that all of God’s children are worthy to be around the table. Special needs individuals are incredibly important to me and have much to give. Paul I’m going to talk about you now (his disabled son). The Pauls of this world need to be around the table.
  • Two sons Baptized in the Ethiopian orthodox church. infant baptism. The priest said “may they be kept in faith all the days of their lives” despite the death of their parents God is faithful. We cannot lose our certain foundations.
  • Sid Kuperus: Your vision of the mission of the CRC as you see it unfolding
  • We lent our ministry to the Johanna Veenstras of the denom. We need to flip it. We need to be involved in ministry. They call is not to come into the church. Their call is that we would join together in God’s mission. We keep flipping that paradigm that enables all of us to be involved in god’s mission. The church will flourish as a result. The goal is not to retain how we’ve done church for 150 years. the structure will follow.
  • Nathan Gritter: Importance of culture. The most important things that you as a leader would like to infuse in the culture of the building and then beyond
  • We gather around the purpose of ministry together.
  • the 5 streams thing is great. We do our work together. A culture of shared goals and shared work.
  • Could we be multi-national? The SDA, wherever they’ve gone the denom has continued. A culture that looks globally and global understanding.
  • Benjamin : two or three of the idols in the world today?
  • Individualism and materialism. What I want. It’s focused on me and on things.
  • human discourse is always oppositional, we always have to divide on two sides. We idolize the fight. we get sucked into that too. We show a different way.
  • Nicholas (youth advisor): how do you get them in and then link arms?
  • Link arms first and they’ll want to come in together.
  • Michael Kooy: Why would a Xian guy hang around with Muslims?
  • God compels us to share the good news. A reformed worldview is a little bit close to an Islamic worldview than some other Xian expressions. Living a life that says “who is my neighbor” and then engaging your neighbor. Begin with love and see where the holy spirit takes it.
  • Daniel young adult rep: Advice for a church struggling to reach out?
  • your church is fortunate to have you. You can be a catalyst within your church. You get to help form your church’s ministry. I don’t have a game plan for your church like 3 things… Moses and Amy have a game plan and tried to identify characteristics of growth. We can analyse and encourage with specifics. First, you bring your energy.
  • Avila: How will you provide leadership to embrace diversity?
  • We’ve not achieved our goals but we’re making progress. We need all of us to take these steps to be more like the Revelation picture presented to us. We need honest to work this out. We all have to embrace the vision.
  • Jay Prime: What do you do for fun?
  • I’m a boring guy but my family keeps me busy. The world cup, the world of soccer.
  • Ralph de Young: Prayer life, devotion life, mutual accountability group.
  • I tend to rely on daily devotional books. pete Buma translated a dutch devotional. Family devotions. Deliberate and scheduled bible study. Doing Bible study with people in recovery.
  • Mike Vander Kwaak: what can we do to help people to become more spiritually healthy and fruitful?
  • We have generations. We have to challenge each generation to share their love for Christ that first trains the generation upcoming and then steps outside and shares. Very deliberate faith formation. We need to be mindful just as this afternoon we must be intentional and mindful about generational faith formation.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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1 Response to Notes from Steve Timmermans Interview

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