The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church has approved the nomination of Dr. Steven R. Timmermans as the denomination’s next executive director and recommended him to Synod 2014 for appointment when synod meets in June.
Timmermans, a psychologist and educator, currently serves as the president of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill. He was a member of the CRC’s Board of Trustees, but resigned prior to the board voting on his nomination.
In its report to the board, the search committee said that although Timmermans is not ordained as a minister of the Word, “the committee believes he fits within the ‘exception’ category allowed by Synod 2013 because of his extensive experience in denominational and congregational activities.”
It noted that Timmermans “has spent a lifetime as an innovative educator and administrator within the institutions of the Christian Reformed Church. His leadership skills are demonstrated by the positions he has held, his church involvement, denominational engagements, and numerous publications.
“Dr. Timmermans has demonstrated skill in developing a fresh vision for the denomination and has the ability to manage a complex organization using adaptive change strategies when necessary.
“Throughout his career he has exemplified a desire to achieve identified goals and he enjoys excellent personal relationships with coworkers. He is willing to listen and is able to understand team members while maintaining a commitment to achieving the task before him.”
The committee concluded that it is confident that Timmermans “possesses the required servant leadership style to guide our 1000+ congregations within a binational church, inspire our denomination’s agencies, and encourage our educational institutions.”
In an interview by the board, Timmermans spoke of the need to pay special attention to young adults, “that generation that is the church-to-be.” He also spoke of the need for the church to be involved in society in response to social ills. “How do we live as God’s people in this world” in a way that allows the Holy Spirit to be at work?
Timmermans holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Calvin College and a Master of Arts in Psychology, an Educational Specialist degree in Education and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.
Before being appointed president of Trinity in 2003, he served in a variety of positions as a professor and administrator at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
A biography on the Trinity college website notes: “In 1989, Timmermans left the practice of psychology and began at Calvin College, serving first as the Director of the Student Academic Services and then quickly joining the Education Department. In 1994, he began serving as the Associate Dean for Instruction, a position that eventually became Dean for Instruction. …After concluding two terms as Dean, he served as Executive Associate to the President and Interim Director of the Service-Learning Center.”
It also notes that, “Although professional activities have provided him the avenue for meaningful service and opportunities for faith expression, Dr. Timmermans counts involvement in church and community a key source of spiritual nourishment and Christian service. Having served as deacon, elder, committee chairperson and church school teacher at Neland Ave. Christian Reformed Church, Timmermans believes participating in a local family of faith as essential. At present, he and his family are members of Loop Christian Ministries, a downtown CRC ministry. In addition, he co-leads a Bible study at Restoration Ministries, a holistic urban ministry for men overcoming addictions.”