Elders have played a prominent part during my ministry years. Foremost, of course, during my years as a parish pastor. (I served congregations in British Columbia, Alberta, Iowa, and Ontario). But then also when I served, for a dozen years, in the denominational Pastor-Church Relations ministry. It was there that I learned even more how important elders are to their pastors, and, broader, to their congregations.
Soon after I began that ministry, a development took place of which I had, initially, not seen the importance. I was regularly invited to lead elders' workshops. They became important experience to me. Many questions surfaced there. I made it a practice to always write them down. Still further along, I wrote little essays on each of those questions. All that, in due time, led to writing the ELDER'S HANDBOOK which enjoyed broad interest. Many councils gave the new elders a copy for their personal use. (Faith Alive also published a companion volume, the DEACON'S HANDBOOK, around that time.)
Following my retirement, I began a twelve-year volunteer ministry with Chr. Ref. World Missions. This enabled World Misisons to provide some pastoral care to world missionaries. My wife Jean and I traveled to most mission areas and conducted retreats for missionaries and national leaders.
Jean and I grew up in the Netherlands, spent several years in Canada and have lived in Grand Rapids since 1980. We have six children (of whom the youngest died in a traffic accident) and ten grandchildren.