Unanimous Support for Calling Rev. Ross Dieleman

On December 2, the congregation unanimously approved the call of Rev. Ross Dieleman to serve as Fellowship’s Pastor of Congregational Formation. Praise God, who has surprised us with a path we never would have imagined a year ago! Ross’ arrival on January 7 will mark a new chapter in the life of Fellowship Church.

This new season in ministry will be guided by a three pastor team model. Each pastor will use their gifts and passions in specific roles, while sharing the authority and responsibility of the spiritual health and vitality of the congregation. We are eager to see the ways in which God’s Spirit will further guide us in our mission to ‘Love God and others as an accepting community, centered in Christ, focused on developing faithful followers of Jesus.

We excitedly anticipate welcoming Ross to our pastoral team. He brings a deep commitment to Christ, a yearning to dive into God’s word, and a challenge to live further into our call as Christ’s disciples. We look forward to him preaching for the first time as our pastor on January 20 and we hope you will join us.


Renee Krueger
Congregational Meeting - December 2 at 11:30am

Join us for Better Together Sunday, December 2: Blended Together Worship & Congregational Meeting

We will have 2 identical services at 8:30 & 10am, combining aspects from both traditions. Both inter-generational services will have nursery and Children & Worship available, followed by brunch at 11:30am. The brunch will be a Congregational Meeting to vote on extending a call to Ross Dieleman.

Read more about the shared leadership model and Ross Dielemen’s bio in this mailing that was sent to homes this week.

Renee Krueger
Ross Dieleman Interview and Sermon

Candidate for Pastor of Congregational Formation, Ross Dieleman, joined us for worship on Sunday, November 18. Below you will find an interview of him with Kristin Garrin, Chair of the Pastoral Search team, as well has his sermon, Trusting God on Tuesday. Please take some time to watch these, then plan to join us for a Congregational Meeting during our Table to Table brunch on December 2 at 11:30am.

Interview with Ross Dieleman:

Better Together: Trusting God on Tuesday:

Renee Krueger
Pastor Candidate Announcement

Dear friends,

We are happy to share that the pastoral search team has presented the Rev. Ross Dieleman to the consistory. They unanimously support him as the candidate for Pastor of Congregational Formation. He will be preaching at both services this Sunday, November 18. Please visit our transition blog to hear the announcement about the shared leadership model. Ross is currently serving at Christ Memorial Church as the Minister of Discipleship. We invite you to learn more about him and his family this Sunday. Then, please plan to join us for a Congregational Meeting during our Table to Table brunch on December 2 at 11:30am.

Here are some important upcoming dates:

  • November 17: Fall Clean-Up We need all hands on deck to help this Saturday from 8am to noon or 1pm. Please meet in the Atrium at 8am if you can help!

  • November 21: Thanksgiving Eve service at 6:30pm

  • November 25: Information Sessions with Barb Eriks after both services in N1 to answer questions about the new leadership model. 

  • December 1: HOPE Christmas Store  Come experience the magic and love of the HOPE Christmas Store! Many volunteers are still needed. Contact Stacie Hoey or Karen Donker to help.

  • December 2: Better Together Sunday This special Sunday will include Blended Together Worship, Table to Table Brunch, and a Congregational Meeting to vote on extending a call to Ross Dieleman.

We are very excited about the future. Please join us in all these upcoming events!

Renee Krueger
Pastoral Search Update

On Sunday, November 11, Pastors Lindsay and Nate gave a "live" version of the pastor search update letter that was mailed out last week.

Renee Krueger
Letter from Barb Eriks: Shared Leadership Model

Members of Fellowship, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The purpose of this letter is to give you an update on the pastoral search process; and to inform you about the listening process in which the leadership of Fellowship has been engaged over the past eight weeks; and to describe the rather unexpected and surprising place to which God has led us. This has been an experience marked by God’s faithfulness.

The pastor search began fifteen months ago, after Brian Keepers announced his call to Trinity Reformed Church in Iowa. During that season, it was discerned that the position and job description as it existed would serve as the model for the search. Following the withdrawal of the leading candidate in the spring of 2018, the Ministry Leadership Council spent time in discernment during the month of June. After prayerful consideration of additional options and leadership models, the search resumed once again using the same model for this next part of the journey. The Search Team members agreed to continue their work and began anew.

We now perceive that we have entered a new and different phase of the journey to find pastoral leadership. The Holy Spirit has prompted a variety of conversations within our leadership groups. In the past months, Fellowship’s leaders committed to a season of listening and discernment. The Ministry Leadership Council has been in a posture of listening to the Care Leadership Council, the Search Team, our pastors - Nate and Lindsay, the Human Resources Team, and to the congregation. In our listening we have become increasingly confident that we have been hearing God’s voice.

From this time of listening and conversation, a shared leadership model has emerged. This model foresees a pastoral team where the pastors lead equally; collaborating together, with specific pastors having designated areas of responsibility consistent with their giftedness, skills, and passion.

The exciting news is that in the midst of this confluence of voices - this intersection of prayerful reflection and creative thinking - Nate and Lindsay are in accord about this leadership model. They can envision themselves as part of a collaborative pastoral team of equals.

At the same time, God has brought a candidate to the Search Team that is equally energized by the shared leadership model. We look forward to introducing you to this candidate on November 18 during worship. At this time, we are not yet free to release the candidate’s name, until communication with the candidate’s current congregation has occurred.

 Clearly there is more work to be done. The shared leadership model will launch Fellowship into a new season of ministry and mission. It will be a time of learning, reflecting, and adapting as we live into the full implications of this model.

We are on an exciting journey that is consistent with Fellowship’s mission, as well as our history as a congregation - ready to listen to God and follow where the Holy Spirit leads. We are offering two question and answer sessions this Sunday, November 11, after both services in the Youth Center.

Our desire is that our congregation will grow and flourish; and that our community and the people around us will experience God’s grace, joining us on our journey of discipleship. We have a deep conviction that God has led us to this model of shared leadership. We embrace it in faith; we move into God’s future with hope; and we are confident that God’s grace and love will lead and sustain us.

In Christ,

Barbara Eriks
President of the Congregation

On behalf of the Full Consistory, the Search Team, the Human Resource Team

Renee Krueger
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 www.fellowshipreformed.org/jobs )
  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 searchteam@fellowshipreformed.org. 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 www.fellowshipreformed.org/give (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