The Discipleship priority area of Transformed & Transforming, the RCA’s 15-year vision for ministry, has three new leaders, all of whom bring specific skills and gifts to their part-time positions that they started September 3.
“We are thrilled to welcome three practitioners to the work of discipleship in the RCA. Each brings unique character and competency along with missional innovation and savvy to this work,” says Jill Ver Steeg, RCA chief operating officer.
Jeff Allen is lead coordinator for Discipleship. In addition to this position, Jeff also serves as the lead pastor of Faith Community Church (RCA) in Littleton, Colorado. As a disciple-making coach with 3DM, Jeff has coached and led learning communities with pastors and congregational leaders in the development of a disciple-making culture. Jeff also wrote Small Church on a Big Mission: Cultivating Missional Discipleship in Smaller Churches, published two years ago.
Pat Dirkse serves as coordinator for Discipleship. Pat and his wife, Julie, planted City Church of Compton in Compton, California, in 2010, and he is currently the lead pastor there. Pat is passionate about helping church planters, business leaders, and those in urban settings implement discipleship and mission.
Ruth Langkamp is the Discipleship and Next Generation specialist in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, office. Ruth lives for intergenerational community, and her love for the church has led her to pursue a career in millennial engagement. In 2018, Ruth served as an RCA intern in Discipleship and Next Gen, making the transition to the new role a smooth and easy one.
While all three will be working in different geographical areas, they work well together with a common mission. In fact, when asked to define discipleship, all three gave a similar variation of this answer: “The goal of the believer is not only to look like Jesus but also to do what Jesus does. Our work is to help people do that and encourage them in helping others do that too.”
The team had a lot to say in an interview that you can watch below. They answered six questions, some serious, some fun.
One of those questions was why they chose this job. Here are their responses:
Pat: “The call I want to live into is to develop leaders. I feel like there’s been much given to me, and I feel like I carry a responsibility to give that to others. I’ve been really thankful for the investment that people have given in my life over time. It just feels like a selfish move to feel like I’m going to hang on to that without giving it away. And so part of it, for me, felt like this was an opportunity to connect with other people, to share my story, and hopefully give away not only what’s worked, but also many of the mistakes that I’ve made so that they don’t have to repeat the same ones.”
Jeff: “[I like] being a part of a team . . . Some of the hardest parts of my journey were the times where I might have wanted to have been left alone, but the Holy Spirit didn’t leave me alone. Neither did other people leave me alone, partly because I invited them to journey with me . . . My personal call is to be a Barnabas-like encourager to others in the midst of the journey.”
Ruth: “For me, I like messy things. I like when things are complex and don’t seem to fit together. Just the title of this job excited me: discipleship and next generation. I’ve been involved in church leadership. I’ve been really fascinated by how we’re so scared of what my generation is doing in the church or not doing in the church. I’ve also just had so many wonderful leaders in my life who’ve walked with me. And so being able to put these two things together and be a part of that was really exciting for me.”