General Secretary Announces Departure

Date Posted: 
Thursday, April 6, 2017

RCA general secretary Tom De Vries has accepted a new position as president and CEO of the Willow Creek Association. He will conclude his service with the denomination on June 15.

De Vries began his tenure as general secretary in June 2011. In that time, the RCA completed Our Call and embarked on Transformed & Transforming, its 15-year vision for ministry.

“It has been a privilege to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to serve the Reformed Church in America, and to serve you in this ministry and leadership position,” he wrote in his resignation letter to the General Synod Council (GSC). In the same letter, he called the denomination to unity rather than division. “The challenge before the RCA will be one of unifying around the transformational mission to which God has called us. It will call for greater love and greater forgiveness toward one another in the future.”

In a letter to staff, De Vries reiterated his commitment to Transformed & Transforming. “The RCA is being called to a place of deep richness and growth. So many churches are learning how to engage in ministry in ways they’ve never thought possible. … We are moving in a direction of God’s fullness and flourishing.”

De Vries says his move to the Willow Creek Association is the result of months of discernment led by the Holy Spirit.

“We affirm Tom and his decision, trusting that he is following the Lord’s leading for his life,” says Evan Vermeer, moderator of the GSC. “We will miss him. He’s been an integral part of the denomination for a lot of years, and he has been an excellent leader and has put us on a strong missional path with Transformed & Transforming. We thank him for that and for all of his services and wish him and Laura well.”

Vermeer says the GSC will appoint an interim general secretary. The GSC will also form the search committee for De Vries’s successor and will be accepting applications from people who are interested in serving on that committee. When the search committee has a top candidate, he or she will be presented to the GSC and then to the General Synod for approval. Vermeer and the GSC hope a new general secretary will be approved and installed at General Synod 2018.

In the meantime, he says, “GSC has complete faith in the existing staff. Operations and Transformed & Transforming initiatives will continue without interruption. We don’t foresee any disruption in services or any programs.”
The Willow Creek Association creates leadership development tools and services for Christian leaders and churches, including its annual Global Leadership Summit.

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