Can you tell us a bit about you and your ministry and where you have served in your ministry?
I felt the call to the ministry while I was a freshman in college. God used a close friend, Richard Flikkema and my pastor at the time, Rev. Robert Decker to convince me to move to Grand Rapids and take up my work in the PR seminary. My classmates were Richard Flikkema and Michael DeVries. After my studies in the seminary I was ordained as a minister of the gospel in October of 1978. My first pastorate was Faith PRC in Jenison, MI where I served for a little over five years. While in Faith church I was appointed by synod to serve on the Domestic Mission Committee which at that time was busily laboring with the work in a difficult mission field: Jamaica. The work of missions in a foreign country intrigued me. When I received the call to be missionary in Jamaica my wife already knew I would take the call. With some fear we made the move to the island of Jamaica and began our labors under the auspices of First PRC in Grand Rapids.
Can you tell us briefly about what work (or experiences) prepared you for/led you into missionary work?
The almost 6 years I spent in Jamaica helped mold me for my future ministry. Lots of stories could be told of Jamaica from living often times without water or electric, to worshipping under a lantern in little shacks for churches, to living through Hurricane Gilbert.
I returned back to the states and served pastorates in Holland, MI and Kalamazoo MI before receiving the call to serve as home missionary. During these pastorates I once again returned to my post on the Domestic Mission Committee. Although my first desire was to work in a foreign I had come to know the saints in Pittsburgh by preaching there as it developed as a mission work. When I received the call to be missionary to Pittsburgh the Lord convinced me that I had to go. I have now been laboring in Pittsburgh for 14 years; eleven years as a missionary and three years as the pastor of the church organized here.
Was RWH your first experience with radio ministry? How is radio ministry different then?
The Reformed Witness Hour was not my first experience in radio ministry. For two years I spoke on the radio at a local radio station in Kalamazoo. These were 15-minute broadcasts during which I carried the listeners through Reformed doctrine. At that time, I recorded on cassette tapes in my home using a cheap cassette recorder and brought them to the station every couple of weeks. It was certainly not the same as is the recording of RWH sermons today!
Can you give a brief preview of your upcoming message series on the I Corinthians? What made you select this topic? Did you have a specific audience in mind when selecting this topic?
Most of my time on the RWH this time will be spent speaking on a few passages out of the first few chapters of 1 Corinthians. While preaching through Corinthians for my congregation it struck me how these first few chapters emphasized the preaching and how vital for the life of the church the preacher is. Quite a number of sermons will center in this. For that reason, the specific audience I will be addressing are members of a church. I hope that those who are not members of any church will see in them the necessity of belonging to one. One cannot read through Corinthians without understanding that this Word of God is addressed to a congregation and its members. It spells out for the members of the church the importance of the preaching of the gospel and the need to support those whom God places in this office. It also is a stark reminder for ministers of the serious calling God has placed on them.
Do you have a favorite message in this series? Why is this one your favorite?
I do not have any favorites though the audience may find one more valuable for their lives than another. The passage out of chapter 2:1-5 I try to take to heart personally since it speaks to me as a pastor of what I must strive for in my preaching.