COD Names General Secretary Nominee
The Council of Delegates (COD) has selected Rev. Dr. Zachary King as the nominee for the position of general secretary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. His nomination will go to Synod 2022 in June for approval.
King has served as the director of Resonate Global Mission for the past five years. Before that, he and his wife, Rev. Sharon Segaar-King, worked as missionaries for Christian Reformed World Missions in Haiti.
“Five years ago, I was encouraged by several colleagues to apply for the position of director of what would become Resonate Global Mission, the union of the CRCNA’s two mission agencies,” King wrote in his application cover letter for the position.
“The prospect of leading this combined agency through this change was deeply intimidating. By God’s grace, my family and I had survived and thrived as Resonate missionaries in Haiti for twelve years, enduring many disasters, crises, and challenges. In those years I learned that deep fulfillment comes only by following the Spirit faithfully into the unknown.”
It is in this same spirit of humbly following God’s lead that King applied for this position and hopes to take it on after synod convenes.
The search team, which worked with Rukes Search group, felt that this attitude and approach is what is needed to lead the CRCNA at this time.
“Zach King’s ministry in Haiti, through the merger between Home and World Missions and other life experiences demonstrate his capacity to stay present in dark valleys, in seasons of grief, conflict, and uncertainty,” said Rev. Meg Jenista, chair of the search team.
“The unanimous characterization given by his references is that Zach is a leader of ‘rare integrity’ who prioritizes the green valleys of spiritual health for himself and those in his care. His collaborative leadership style brings the whole flock together and his pastoral gifts ensure that he is mindful and careful of the sheep on the edges of the field. In a multitude of complex, even painful, ministry experiences, Zach’s resilient care for the church, a deep well of faith and trust in the Lord shine forth.”
All of this will be needed as King takes on leadership of the denomination during a particularly fraugh period.
“The denomination that God is calling the general secretary to lead is at a crossroads,” said King, citing polarizing social issues, administrative changes, decline in membership, and some spiritual malaise in the church.
“However, there has never been a greater opportunity for spiritual repentance and renewal, integration of ethnic minority churches, and engagement in God’s mission to this hurting world.”
Colin Watson, the current executive director of the CRCNA, who plans to retire June 30, agreed. He said, “Though we have had to endure difficulties in the past few years, the denominational response during the pandemic demonstrated a latent resilience and a continuing commitment to mutual life-giving ministry. In addition, the restructuring work, now nearing completion, is an excellent platform from which to build a new partnership among the many ministries of the CRCNA. I believe that Zach’s gifting and preparation will serve the church well on this continued journey.”
King grew up outside of the CRCNA in a Pentecostal church and then attended Calvin College, where he “ran headlong into the Reformed tradition," he said. "I was impressed by the depth and thoughtfulness of Reformed theology.”
He later attended Calvin Theological Seminary, where he earned master of divinity and master of theology degrees. He also earned a Ph.D in New Testament from the Free University of Amsterdam. After being ordained in the CRCNA, King worked in Michigan, Puerto Rico, Nigeria, and Haiti, teaching, preaching, and developing mission strategies and leadership.
“I have been deeply blessed by my time with Resonate Global Mission,” King added. “It has been a blessing to accompany and support CRCNA congregations as they have struggled with and fulfilled their calling to share the love of Christ in their communities and across boundaries. For this reason I am convinced that God will continue to use this denomination to bless the world and share the love of Christ. He who calls us can do incredibly more than what we ask or imagine.”
The general secretary role to which King is called is part of a new leadership structure for the CRCNA created in response to the Structure and Leadership Task Force (SALT) report presented to the COD in 2021. The general secretary will be a binational position tasked with nurturing a shared mission of the CRCNA and being attentive to synod’s long-term vision for the denomination’s mission in the world. The general secretary will also have responsibility for nurturing strong, ecumenical relationships and for shaping a culture that supports effective partnership and collaboration.
“I am deeply humbled to be called by the Council of Delegates and the Holy Spirit into the critical role of general secretary of the Christian Reformed Church. Christ is calling me to be a shepherd of his people during a time of change and uncertainty. My one great comfort is that in this role I will be following the good shepherd who knows his flock, who has given his life for his sheep, and who has others that he is calling into his fold.”
King’s nomination will go to Synod 2022 for approval. In the meantime, he and the leadership team at Resonate will work on a succession plan for a new Resonate director should King’s nomination be approved.