Developing Native American Leaders
By Don Huitink
The RCA has been actively engaged in ministry with the Native American population. Today, our classis and denomination face challenges to identify and prepare emerging Native American leaders for the two Native American congregations within the Central Plains Classis. These leaders sense God’s call to serve but lack formal instruction.
Regina Brannock, one of the elders at Apache Reformed Church in Apache, Oklahoma, is one such leader.
“What I am doing is based upon my observation of the way my former pastors, Andy Kamphuis and George Montanari, functioned,” she says. “I have a great desire to be an effective leader, but do not feel adequately equipped to do so.”
When the South Cluster of Central Plains Classis began exploring how to provide leadership education, we discovered that our sister, the Red Mesa Classis in the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), was administering a three-year program for leadership development called the Leadership Development Network. The program is designed to prepare participants for service in a Native American congregation through spiritual formation, ministry skills, and Bible knowledge. Upon completion, a student may be commissioned by the classis to serve in a local church.
In partnership with the Red Mesa Classis, we launched the program in September. Three people in our classis have signed up. We will offer training via remote classrooms, which allow participants to join in the training in real-time using technology. Most importantly, remote classrooms consider the distance and costs associated with leadership development and allow students to pursue ministry training while continuing to work full-time.
By partnering with CRCNA for leadership development, we believe that leaders will be equipped to fulfill their call and mission and local churches and communities will be better served.
Don Huitink is pastor of Crossroads Church (RCA) in Overland Park, Kansas.