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Director of U.S. Ministry Operations Appointed

May 8, 2023
Dan DeKam
Dan DeKam

During their May 2023 meeting, the CRCNA U.S. ministry board voted to appoint Dan DeKam to the position of director of U.S. ministry operations.

This is a new position that will serve as the administrative head for Christian Reformed ministries within the United States, including Resonate and congregational ministries (now known as Thrive), and will work closely with Al Postma, transitional executive director-Canada for the CRCNA, and with the Office of General Secretary, including Zachary King (general secretary) and Shirley DeVries (chief administrative officer). The position was created as part of the governance structure adopted by Synod 2022.

“My career passion is to bring people together under a common mission and vision, supporting them in making this world more as God would have it to be,” said DeKam when he applied for the position.

He noted specifically how often the word “collaborate” was mentioned in the position description, and how this fits with his skill set and approach throughout his career.

For the past eight years DeKam has worked to start and grow the West Michigan Christian Education Collaborative (WMCEC), an organization that brought together four Christian schools to share resources and better sustain Christian education in their part of West Michigan.

For five years DeKam served as the part-time director of WMCEC while still working full time as the administrator for Muskegon (Mich.) Christian School. In 2020 he moved to a full time role as director of the new organization.

“In just eight years our schools have eliminated debt, established more effective annual funds, begun capital fund-raising campaigns, and improved the experience for our students and families, resulting in a 40 percent enrollment increase,” said DeKam about how the schools have responded with an increased emphasis on working together.

He hopes to apply similar emphases on collaboration, efficiency, and stewardship to his leadership of CRCNA ministries.

DeKam acknowledges that he is stepping into the role during a particularly challenging time in the denomination’s history. Not only will he need to rely on his knowledge of best practices in budgeting, strategic planning, and how to identify key performance indicators, but he will also need to lead ministries during a time of deep division and polarization.

“As a lifelong member of the Christian Reformed Church, I value the Reformed perspective on learning and living out one’s faith in the world,” he said. “Having spent over three decades working in Christian institutions, I understand the obstacles our current cultural struggles present, but I have also seen how we can hold together despite differences. My prayer is that God will utilize my experience and skills to meaningfully contribute to the denomination’s efforts to remain unified in mission and purpose in spite of our differing opinions on a variety of issues.”

Shirley DeVries, chief administrative officer of the CRCNA and a member of the search team for this position, said, “Our search for a director of U.S. ministry operations was surrounded by prayer. As we reviewed applications and interviewed several great candidates, it became clear that Dan was the right choice for this position. He brings administrative skills and a commitment to excellence along with a deep love for the church and a desire to help it work together for God’s mission.”

DeKam has been married to his wife, Arlene, for 31 years. He has five grown children and four grand kids.  He will begin his new role on July 3. Joel Huyser, who has been serving as interim director of U.S. ministry operations for the past year, in addition to his role as acting director for Resonate Global Mission, will retire this summer. DeKam’s role will also take on tasks that Shirley DeVries has been covering, part-time, as interim director of U.S administrative operations.