At its meeting on April 27, 2022, the board of directors of the Christian Reformed Church in Canada appointed Rev. Al Postma as its transitional executive director for a period of two years.
Postma, 38, comes to the role in the middle of governance restructuring between the U.S. and Canada that has seen a lot of angst on both sides of the border, trust issues between church members and the Canadian board, the resignation of a denominational executive director, and dismissal of the previous Canadian ministries director.
He told the directors that having served in a denominational role in classis renewal and being part of a binational classis in Thunder Bay, Ont., he believes that God has been equipping and preparing him for a role like this. One of his hopes is that at the end of his two years, there will be a clear sense among staff of what it means to do ministry as CRC staff in Canada and in relation to U.S. counterparts. “When there is fog in the system, it is hard to understand what is expected,” he said.
Postma said he plans to make connecting with pastors and other church leaders a priority. “I think the first couple of months will be listening as much as possible, allowing them to feel they have been heard,” he said. He noted that helping make sure ministry is contextual for each classis and each region in Canada is as important as contextualizing ministry in the U.S. and Canada.
Regardless of his plans, he said he has learned to hold things loosely. “The church belongs to God,” he said. “I want to attend to it and lead it well and care for it and serve within it and move it in healthy directions, but at the end of the day the CRC belongs to God, and he will do with it what he wants. I’m more responsive and willing to roll with whatever comes.”
Chris DeWinter, chair of the search committee, told directors that Postma’s established relationships with Canadian staff members, stated clerks around the denomination, and U.S. denominational staff, will help him ease quickly into the role. “Al is trusted and respected by those already in the system,” he said. “Al is a synthesizer and collaborator. Those are two skill sets we need right now. Binationality needs to be done well, and we believe Al is gifted and able to do that.”
Ordained in 2009, Postma was pastor at Bethlehem CRC in Thunder Bay, Ont., until 2016. Since then he has served as classis renewal leader for the denomination. He is currently an elder at Hope CRC in Brantford, Ont. He and his wife Karissa have four children.
Postma’s appointment replaces the acting executive director, filled by Terry Veldboom since last July. The handoff will happen as soon as transition details can be worked out.