Minister of Creative Arts & Worship search team update

We are thankful that Jessica Mix has agreed to be our interim worship leader for the 10am service. She has already become an integral part of our worship planning process and we give thanks that she is willing to share her gifts with us during this season of transition.

The worship leader search team has conducted many listening sessions to hear from the congregation and staff about what we would like to see in our next worship leader.

Stephen Braunius
Search Teams Update from Kristin Garris

Thank you for your patience as we gathered up our momentum and put this search train back in motion. We have been busy this summer reviewing resumes, listening to sermons, and interviewing candidates. Our process has continued to be good and our team has remained faithful. I am so grateful to them.

Fortunately, there were a handful of lead pastor candidates whom we asked to engage in the search back in February and their response was "now is not a good time." Well, the funny thing about this search being started back up is that now IS actually a good time for these candidates, which has helped move things along. Additionally, we have found a few good candidates through the open search process.

With that being said, Nate, Lindsay, and Steve met with two candidates in the last 2 weeks. We are still needing additional time with these candidates ourselves so we aren't in the "final" stage yet, but we feel really good about the candidates we have in the process.

We do not know how quickly this will all go, however, we are experienced enough to know that Gods plans are not always ours, so we are being faithful to the process and prayerful about each step. I know you are praying too because we feel it and are grateful.

Also, I am happy to report that the search team for the Minister of Creative Arts and Worship position had their first meeting last week. The team includes Betty McLarty, Bob VandenBrand, Karen Donker, Leslie Kole, Matt Abbot, Ryan Faber, Lindsay Small, and Nate Schipper. It is being led by Linda Milanowski and plans to do the following:

Assuming we find the right candidate, the goal is to fill the position by the end of this calendar year. Please pray for the worship leader search team. Specifically, that they might have listening ears to hear direction from the congregation and from the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for applicants to come forward, and discernment, with unity, in decisions.

In the meantime, Erin Vander Stelt has agreed to be our 8:30am interim worship leader and Pastor Lindsay and Pastor Nate are continuing to seek an interim worship leadership for the 10am service.


Kristin Garris

Renee Krueger
Worship Leader Updates

We are excited to welcome Erin Vander Stelt as our Interim Worship Leader for the 8:30am services. Erin has been a member of Fellowship for the past four years. She is a botanist and an associate at Pier 1, and she enjoys spending time with her two daughters, Rose and Juliet, and husband, Bryce.

We have not found an interim for the 10am service, and will continue to have guest worship leaders at that service. A search committee is forming for the full-time Worship Leader position. It is led by Linda Milanowski and will soon begin accepting applications. We hope to have that position filled by the end of December 2018.

The Leader Pastor search team has continued to look for and meet with candidates. They have no update at this time.

Renee Krueger
Minister of Worship & Creative Arts Position Update

June 10 was the final Sunday for Jordan Clegg, our Minster of Worship and Creative Arts. He has accepted a position at First Reformed Church in Zeeland, MI. We celebrate this new chapter in his life as well as grieve that he will no longer be leading us in worship. Jordan and Anne Reilly-Clegg have contributed to Fellowship in so many ways and will be missed.

This is another transition for Fellowship that has a significant impact on worship. We are moving forward in 3 phases:

  1. Find worship leaders through the end of July while we search for interim worship leaders.
  2. Find interim worship leader(s) for the 8:30am and 10am services (jobs are posted at )
  3. Review the job description and post for a permanent worship leader.

We would like, if possible, for our new lead pastor to have a role in hiring the permanent position. The timeline may be accelerated if an appropriate interim person is not identified.

Thank you to our all of the members of the worship team who faithfully lead us each week!

Renee Krueger
Search Team Continuing

The MLC has asked the members of the Search Team to return in that role as we continue the search for a Minister of Preaching and Congregational Leadership. They have actively begun reviewing the names of candidates, and referrals are welcome. Information requested: 

  1. Name of person being recommended
  2. Church where the person currently serves
  3. Contact information for this person (phone or email)
  4. How do you know or know about this person?

Contact a Search Team member or you may reach the Search Team at Members of the search team are:

  • Kristin Garris (Chair)
  • Gwen Auwerda
  • Duane Bosma
  • Patrick Cisler (MLC)
  • Jan Dalman
  • Barb Eriks (President & MLC)
  • Dick Schaap (CLC)
  • Paul Solis
Renee Krueger
Update from Ministry Leadership Council

The Ministry Leadership Council met Monday night and was led by Patrick Cisler in a discernment process to determine how to move forward in our search for a lead pastor. After considering many options, MLC reached a consensus to continue the search process.

Renee Krueger
Pastor Search Update and Letter from Jordan Clegg

May 23, 2018

Dear Friends and Members of Fellowship Church,

This past Sunday we celebrated Pentecost, the arrival of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the church. The early chapters of Acts demonstrate how the Spirit’s action invites change and vibrancy in the new community of believers. This letter is one more word of the Spirit’s action, which invites our prayer and consideration.

On Sunday we heard from Search Team chair, Kristin Garris, that the Search Team would not be presenting a final candidate. We are so thankful for their work and the clarity they experienced, even though it was not the outcome that was expected. The Ministry Leadership Council (MLC) met Monday night to begin reviewing possible options for moving forward. For the next two weeks we join them in prayer for discernment before their special meeting on June 4.

This past week also brought another movement of the Spirit. After nearly 11 years of faithful service, Jordan Clegg is leaving Fellowship to begin a new chapter as Director of Worship Arts at First Reformed Church of Zeeland. Jordan has been a valued member of our team and congregation, leading the worship team, forming the Artist’s Cohort, and planning (by our count) over 1,000 worship services! We are also thankful for Anne’s presence among us. She has served our congregation faithfully as a member of the worship team, a CLC elder, and a leader in our Colossian Way series. They will both be missed, but we are excited about what God has in store for them in this next chapter.

Jordan will conclude his work at Fellowship on June 10. Following the 10am worship, please join us for a celebration in the Atrium. You are invited to write a card or note of gratitude and encouragement and drop it off at the office or the Welcome Center. We would also like to gather a love offering and present it to Jordan on June 10. You can make a contribution by check or online at (please indicate Love offering for Jordan).

In the coming weeks, the Transition Leadership Team (Nate Schipper, Lindsay Small, Steve Braunius, Rodger Price, and Barb Eriks) will be working with the HR team and MLC to identify how best to fill this position for the coming months in order to have time to review the job responsibilities and search for a permanent worship leader.

We covet your continued prayers as we move through this season. We have seen the Spirit moving through this past chapter at Fellowship, and are confident the Spirit will continue to guide and direct us through this next chapter. God is faithful...all the time!

In Christ,
Pastor Nate, Pastor Lindsay, and Steve Braunius

Letter from Jordan Clegg:

Dear Fellowship,

I’m writing to you with the news that I have recently accepted a position as Director of Worship Arts at First Reformed Church in Zeeland. My final Sunday at Fellowship will be June 10. Fellowship has been our church home for nearly eleven years now, so while there are many things about this new position that I am excited about, this was a difficult decision for Anne and me to make.

As I look back over ten years of ministry, I continue to be both amazed and grateful that a church of Fellowship’s size took a chance on a 23 year-old, soon-to-be-married, not-yet-college-graduate for such a position in the church. Though I didn’t yet know who I was as an adult, and certainly did not know what kind of worship leader I wanted to be, Fellowship raised me into the worship leader and disciple that I am today. You have also fulfilled the promises we make in baptism by being a true church family to us. You supported me when I decided to pursue a Masters degree and cheered me on as I experimented with what I was learning. You cared for both me and Anne with your prayers and presence when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. And while we always strive for excellence, you taught me that perfection is not the goal for worship - that it is ok to acknowledge mistakes and move on with the service, and that God delights in laughter.

This past year has been particularly joyful for me. The Artist Cohort completed its third year of creating community for artists, encouraging the development of their gifts, and creating opportunities for artists to bless the congregation. Fellowship’s gifted staff is closer, healthier, and more collaborative than ever. Planning worship with Nate and Lindsay has been meaningful, rewarding, and frankly, really fun. All this makes it harder to leave, but it is comforting to know that my departure is coming at the close of one of the best years I’ve ever had in ministry.

I am excited about this next chapter even as I am deeply grieved to be leaving you. Still, I am confident that God is at work at Fellowship and will continue to shape you into a welcoming, Christ-centered community, seeking to make disciples of all people...and that God will continue to do this transformative work in your worship together.

The peace of Christ be with you,
Jordan Clegg



Renee Krueger
Lead Pastor Search Narrowed to 2 Candidates

Kristin Garris, search team chair, provided an update at the annual congregational meeting on April 22, 2018. The search team, after numerous interviews, has narrowed the search from 32, to 9, to 7, and now 2 candidates. We are moving from a season of interviews to a season of relationship building.

Over the coming weeks, the search team will be asking the candidates to meet with our transition leadership team of Pastor Nate, Pastor Lindsay, and Steve Braunius (Minister of Operations and Ministry Implementation). The search team will also be spending time with the candidates and including some members of the congregation to join in these conversations. Because both candidates are currently serving in other congregations, the search team will be keeping the names private as a way to protect them until we discern the final candidate.

The team is hoping to have a final candidate selected in June and bring that person to consistory and the congregation for review and approval. Please pray for clarity, wisdom, and unity as we enter this final season of the lead pastor search process.

Renee Krueger
Pastor Search Update

The search process for our next Lead Pastor is progressing very well. The team has held initial phone interviews with prospective candidates and has narrowed the pool to 4 or 5 strong leaders. The search team will hold Skype meetings with them the week of April 9. Pastors Lindsay and Nate will be part of this process moving forward.

The team’s hope is to meet a few finalists toward the end of April, with a final recommendation in May.

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the chair of the search committee, Kristin Garris.


Renee Krueger
Search Team Outreach to Potential Candidates

The Search Team has been making some exciting progress! The team is meeting twice per month and has begun the process of contacting all Lead Pastor candidates suggested by the congregation. Following our initial outreach, each potential candidate will receive an information packet sharing the Spirit-led work happening at Fellowship, along with some details specific to the position. The official job posting and Church Profile are both planned for posting the week of February 5. We are very excited about what God has in store for Fellowship Church and ask for your continued prayers for God’s wisdom and guidance.

Renee Krueger
Search Team Gathering Names

The Search Team is beginning the process of gathering names for the position of lead pastor. We welcome your suggestions. Please send names for our consideration via: 

1. Email:

· Name of person being recommended

· Church where the person currently serves

· Contact information for this person (phone or email)

· How do you know or know about this person?

· In your opinion, what makes this person a potential lead pastor for Fellowship?


2. Written: Use the form located at the Welcome Center.


Renee Krueger
Summary of Transition and Upcoming Plans

It has now been approximately 6 months since Pastor Brian Keepers took his new position at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. During this time we have continued to follow a plan that has included:

  • Saying goodbye to the Keeper’s family in a meaningful way
  • Taking time to grieve this loss
  • Forming a Transition Team to facilitate the transition
  • Conducting listening sessions to hear from the congregation about where we have been and where we are
  • Forming a Transition Leadership Team to meet each week (Rodger Price, Barb Eriks, Pastor Lindsay Small, Pastor Nate Schipper, Stephen Braunius)
  • Identifying Jon Brown, pastor of Pillar Church, to support us as an outside voice in the transition and search process. He meets with the Consistory, Ministry Leadership Council, the Transition Leadership Team, and search team as needed.
  • Identifying a search team chair and search team

As we have shared in worship, on our website, and in a recent In The Loop, the following people have agreed to be a part of our search team:

  • Kristin Garris (Chair)
  • Gwen Auwerda
  • Duane Bosma
  • Patrick Cisler (MLC)
  • Jan Dalman
  • Barb Eriks (President-Elect & MLC)
  • Dick Schaap (CLC)
  • Paul Solis

The team members were selected through much prayer and the discernment of our Transition Team, Human Resource Team, Consistory, and staff. Now that the search team is in place, the Transition Team will meet less frequently. The Transition Team anticipates taking more of a leadership role once the pastor search is complete.

Over the next two months, the search team will begin meeting, we will be collecting stories about who we are and how we have lived into our mission as a church, and a survey will be conducted to receive feedback from the congregation for the qualities we are looking for in our next pastor.

The search process will begin in earnest in January. We will be seeking out potential candidates and also posting the position on our website and the Reformed Church in America’s website.

Renee Krueger
Pastoral Search Survey

The search team would like input from the congregation regarding the characteristics we seek in our next lead pastor. Click here to fill out the survey.

Renee Krueger
Senior Pastor Search Team Announced

The transition team is happy to report that we have a search team in place. This team will be led by Kristin Garris. Kristin has extensive knowledge in the field of Human Resources and successfully led our last pastor search process which resulted in the hiring of Pastor Lindsay and Pastor Nate. The search team is the result of work by the Human Resource team along with the Consistory and staff. Please regularly pray for each person on this team as they form and begin their work.

Kristin Garris (Chair)
Gwen Auwerda
Duane Bosma
Patrick Cisler (MLC)
Jan Dalman
Barb Eriks (President-Elect & MLC)
Dick Schaap (CLC)
Paul Solis

Over the next months, as a congregation, we will be remembering who we are by reviewing our vision, mission, and values. This will be a time to share stories that might help tell Fellowship’s story to prospective pastor candidates. We will also have an opportunity to complete a survey that will provide information to our search team about the type of qualities we believe are needed in the next leader at Fellowship.


Renee Krueger
Search Team and Congregational Survey

The Human Resource team has collected names from consistory and staff for the search team. They reviewed the names, talked about the qualities that are desired for search team members, and identified additional names for the list. This list of names will be given to the Ministry Leadership Council for approval at the next meeting on September 25. Upon approval, the HR Team will put together a final search team list and talk with prospective members. Kristin Garris, chair of the HR Team has been approved by MLC to lead the search team. The search team is expected to be formed and meeting by the end of November.

The Transition Team is developing a survey for the congregation where we might identify the desired characteristics of our next lead pastor. Kristin Garris will also be meeting with the staff to gather characteristics and identify gaps.

Feel free to share any questions or feedback via our online form or by placing a note in the box at the Welcome Center.

Renee Krueger
Search Team Forming

The Transition Team continues to meet every other week. They have 3 areas they are currently working on:

  1. Work has begun to form the Search Team. Names of possible candidates were submitted and will be approved by Consistory prior to contacting any of them to serve on the team. Once people have accepted, the final team will again be approved by Consistory.
  2. We, as a church, are revisiting our mission, vision, and values. This was done by the full Consistory at their Consistory Retreat in August, as well as by the staff at their August retreat. Aspects will also be woven into worship in the upcoming months.
  3. The teams will begin exploring what are the attributes and characteristics we are looking for in our next leader. More information will be forthcoming on this.

The Interim Leadership Team (Rodger Price, Barb Eriks, Lindsay Small, Nate Schipper, & Steve Braunius) is still meeting weekly to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Thank you for your prayers and for your support during this time of transition. Please let Steve Braunius or Rodger Price know if you have any questions or comments. You can also submit feedback here.

Renee Krueger
Kristin Garris to Lead Search Team; Congregational Survey Coming Soon

At the Transition Team's last meeting, Kristin Garris was formally named to lead the pastor search process. Kristin also directed the team during the search that led us to Pastor Lindsay and Pastor Nate. We are grateful for her willingness to serve in this capacity again. Our search team will be formed in September and begin the search process. We do not know how long this process will take but are hoping a new pastor would be in place by the Fall of 2018.

Following the Listening Sessions that were held in July & August, the transition team will now compile that information for study. 

The team will also be creating a survey for the congregation to learn which characteristics we believe are important in our next leader. As a congregation we will also take time to remember who we are by taking time to review our mission, vision, and core values.

The Transition Team welcomes any feedback you might have. Feel free to submit that feedback here.


Renee Krueger
Interim Minister Discernment Decision

On July 24, the MLC met to discern clarity about whether to hire an interim minister or not while we are in our transition between Senior Pastors.

First, here is a brief description of the process used:

  1. Create a list of pros and cons for hiring an interim minister (which we called a Specialized Transition Minister, or STM or short) and a list of pros and cons for going without.
  2. Give a weight to the pros and the cons. This was done simply by divvying up 5 dots to each person to be distributed to any of the items that were deemed most important. 
  3. Look at the total picture and make an assessment of which items carried more weight than others and look at the balance of where that weight fell - more toward having an STM or more toward not?
  4. Individually pray for 5 minutes about the our own discernment of what we would recommend.
  5. Check-in with each person to see what he or she would recommend. 

After completing this full process, the MLC found that each person individually recommended that we NOT hire an STM. This gave a very clear direction after exploring both sides of the possibility.

This recommendation was then forwarded on to the full Consistory for approval. The Consistory affirmed this recommendation and decided to proceed WITHOUT hiring an interim minister.

This decision was announced during services on August 6 & 13, 2017.

Thank you for your prayers and for your support during this time of transition. Please let Steve Braunius or Rodger Price know if you have any questions or comments

Renee Krueger
Transition Timeline Updates

Things are running smoothly thanks to the great staff we have and the many volunteers who help with the ministry and leadership tasks that are needed. Thank you to all of you that are playing a role in the leadership and operation of Fellowship Church!

Here are some of the things that are going on in our transition:

  • The Transition Team continues to meet every two weeks to monitor progress and to share ideas for how to navigate our transition in the best possible way.
  • Pastor Nate, Pastor Lindsay, Steve Braunius, and Rodger Price meet every week to make sure we are on the same page regarding the normal tasks that need to be covered from week to week.
  • The MLC and Full Consistory are close to making a decision of whether to hire an Interim Minister or not. This will be decided by the end of August at the latest.
  • After the final listening sessions are completed on August 6 and 13, we will look through all that was heard and then begin to kick off our search process. We will also do an on-line survey to learn what you think will be important to look for in our new pastor.
  • Jon Brown, our Classis Supervisor, helped us learn that there is a normal rhythm for when most pastoral calls are made. Pastors often start considering a new call after the busyness of the fall kick-off, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season, so it’s normally in January and February. Decisions to accept a call are often made in the spring, and then the on-boarding happens in summer. As such, while we are open to moving faster than this, we realize that we need to be ready for this kind of timing.
  • Our plan is to form our Search Team this fall, help them become clear on who we’re looking for, and then begin the actual search in January. In the meantime we can reach out to pastors that interest us with the hope of creating some interest in us.

Thank you for your prayers and for your support during this time of transition. Please let Steve or Rodger know if you have any questions or comments that you believe would be helpful.

Renee Krueger