New Pastor for Pella OPC church plant

Schiebout familyPastor Zech Schiebout was installed as the minister of Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church, an OPC church plant in Pella, IA, on October 26, 2017. Although illness and losses initially brought the family back to the town where Zech grew up, God provided this new avenue of ministry.

Rev. Mark Vander Hart, Associate Professor at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, IN, led part of the service. He preached from 2 Corinthians 4:7 on “God Shows His Treasure in Jars of Clay.” He spoke about the glory of this treasure, the humility of the container, and the excessive power of God.

He explained an ancient practice of hiding valuables in clay jars and described the gospel as the “gem” and precious treasure that Christians have. He told Pastor Schiebout, “It is the glory of this message that has been given to you to announce.” He encouraged the congregation not to view their new pastor as either “Superman” or “a miracle worker,” but to encourage him in his task. He concluded by emphasizing how the power of Christianity lies not in God’s people or ministers, but in Christ as the head of the church.

Rev. Edward Jensen, pastor of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, whose session oversees the Pella church plant, officiated the installation vows.

Rev. Chris Moulton, a seminary classmate of Zech’s and pastor of the Reformation Presbyterian Church in Sheboygan, WI, gave the charge to the new pastor and to the congregation. He read from Ecclesiastes 1 for both charges, focusing on different verses and aspects. In his charge to Zech, he emphasized the importance of verse 3’s question regarding the profit of a man’s labor. “I pray that you will have many years of fruitful labor,” he said, “but before you know it, Zechariah, it will all be over.” He stressed how the only thing that will remain will be the gospel of Jesus Christ. He charged the new pastor, “Preach the gospel.” Rev. Moulton concluded with the last part of 1 Corinthians 15, urging his brother to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work. Then his labor will not be in vain.

In his charge to the congregation, Rev. Moulton noted life’s cyclical patterns and repetitive nature, but how Christians can rejoice in God’s providence through all that. Even with a “new-to-you pastor,” church members can expect a certain level of consistency and repetition because “the same crimson thread of Jesus Christ runs through page after page of Scripture.” He encouraged the people to be as patient and loving to the pastor and his family as they would like him to be with them. Finally, he urged them to be “faithful plodders” along the road to glory on which God has placed them.

Pastor Schiebout is a 2009 graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary and previously served the Gospel of Grace Church (ARP) in Springfield, MO. His position at Hope is not yet full-time. He works about 40 percent of each week for Hope Church and about 60 percent for Eagle Electric (a family business).

Zech and Rachelle Schiebout met in Pella and never anticipated living there again, but they’re enthusiastic about the ministry. “My wife and I love the people of Hope Church and are excited to serve them. I never would have guessed we’d be living in Pella, IA, again, and I would have passed out if someone had told me a few years ago that I would be pastoring a church in a ‘churchey/Christianized’ place like Pella, so our being here is nothing but God turning my plans upside down.”

He realizes that despite Pella’s plethora of churches, many within the community need to hear the gospel. “We want all the hurting, broken, suffering, abused, cynical, abandoned, anxious, lonely and hopeless people (sinners like us) with whom we come into contact to find the same healing and hope in the good news of Jesus that we have found.”

Hope began in 2005, under the church planting efforts of Rev. Chuck Muether, who now serves as Director of Advancement for Heidelberg Theological Seminary. The church has seen changes in membership and meeting location since its early years. John Fikkert, an ordained Teacher in the OPC who attends (and sometimes preaches) at Hope and serves on the overseeing session, believes organization is on the horizon.

In its goal toward becoming self-governing, the church has elder candidates but not elders. Not being fully self-sustaining, it cannot pay its new pastor a full-time salary. But the hope is to meet both goals in the near future. “I actually think we are close on both counts,” he said. “Prayerfully, and by God’s grace, I think things could pull together in the next year or two.”

The congregation meets in the Memorial Building on Pella’s square. Sunday school for children and adults is at 9:15, followed by morning worship at 10:15. Evening worship begins at 5:30. Pastor Schiebout teaches a leadership group for men. And the group hopes to develop strategies to serve and reach the lost. For more information, visit the church’s website.

The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 11 & 12 of the January 19, 2018, issue of Christian Renewal.

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Double celebrations in Kalamazoo URC

Revs. Jeremy Veldman, Al Bezuyen, Jacques Roets, and Mark Vander Hart
Revs. Jeremy Veldman, Al Bezuyen, Jacques Roets, and Mark Vander Hart

Covenant United Reformed Church in Kalamazoo celebrated the arrival of its new pastor with a dinner and program on Friday, February 15, and an installation service during morning worship on Sunday, February 17, 2013.

As the church welcomed Rev. Jeremy Veldman as its new pastor, it also bid farewell to Rev. James Admiraal, who has labored within the congregation for the last two years of its three-year vacancy. Former ministers Rev. Art Besteman and Rev. Phil Vos were also present for the celebration, which included special music numbers by choirs and a slide presentation depicting the church’s 20-year history.

Music also enhanced the morning worship service on Sunday, February 17, when Rev. Veldman was installed. Rev. Al Bezuyen, who had been influential in encouraging Jeremy to pursue the ministry, led the service and preached from 2 Timothy 2:15 on “Christ Calls Pastor Timothy (and Pastor Jeremy) to Righteousness in Word and Deed.” Rev. Jacques Roets, who grew close to Rev. Veldman during a summer internship, gave the charge to the minister and spoke briefly from John 3:30 regarding a minister’s task to exalt Christ rather than himself. Rev. Mark Vander Hart, who was Jeremy’s Hebrew instructor and mentor at seminary, presented a charge from Ephesians 6:19-20, encouraging the congregation to pray for their new minister. Rev. Veldman closed the service by pronouncing the benediction.

audienceRev. Veldman taught for three years at a Reformed high school in the London, ON, area prior to attending Mid-America Reformed Seminary, from which he graduated in 2006. A ten-week internship at New Haven URC in Vermont turned into his first ministerial charge when he was called and then ordained there in 2007.

“Not only is Vermont a beautiful place to live with its picturesque mountains, rivers and valleys,” says Rev. Veldman, “but it was a privilege to minister to the 60-family, agriculturally-rooted congregation at New Haven.”

“Leaving Vermont was very difficult as my church felt like family to me,” he adds. “However, the Lord had other plans and gave me a clear conviction and sense of calling to accept the call to Kalamazoo.”

Having preached his last sermon in Vermont at the end of December, Rev. Veldman had a short “sabbatical” that included a two-week tour in Israel with a group from Covenant Seminary in St. Louis.

He relates that he is “very happy and excited” to minister in Kalamazoo and is “deeply appreciative and humbled” by the church’s “many tokens of love, kindness, welcome, and generosity.”

His goal for his ministry at Kalamazoo is to “be faithful in preaching and pastoring.”

“May we, as pastor and congregation, seek the Lord’s leading in our lives as we walk this next path together.”

Covenant URC consists of 245 souls. It meets for worship at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM at 3724 Lovers Lane in Kalamazoo.

The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 12 of the March 20, 2013, issue of Christian Renewal.