New campus ministry connects students with local ministers

Campus Ministries created a new role focused on connecting students with local ministry leaders.

With Pastor Joella Ranaivoson’s position vacant, Campus Ministries began considering “creative ways to create pastoral connections for students.” The end result was Pastoral Partners. University Pastor Rev. Mary Hulst described these ministry leaders as people “who help to extend our reach to the Calvin community and show the love of Jesus to more students.” 

“We need places that are safe and healthy where we can actually allow God to speak,” says Pastor Darrell Delaney, one of the five Pastoral Partners. Delaney began his full-time ordained pastoral ministry at Madison Square CRC in 2014. “I believe,” continues Delaney, “that every level of institution that you go to is an opportunity to open up your faith and see exactly what you believe and how to articulate it.”

Delaney became a Christian at 11 years old and made his profession of faith at 18, however, he remembers “fledgling in his faith” as he approached his college years. “I didn’t really have anybody to show me what it meant to live as a disciple of Jesus, which was really challenging.”

That changed for him in college where he not only met his future wife but also connected with fellow Christian students who gave him the support system he needed. “God showed me that people could be young like me and in college like me and live out their faith, and that was exciting.” He credits his college experience as one of the reasons he wanted to be involved as a Pastoral Partner. “I know its a crucial moment in your faith. You need the Lord when you’re in college,” he said.

Another Pastoral Partner is Pastor Chris Schoon, the new Director of Faith Formation Ministries for the CRCNA. “I find a lot of joy,” he begins, “in simply being able to walk alongside students as they wrestle with the implications of a gospel message centered on Jesus Christ in the context of a broken and hurting world.” 

Schoon is on campus more frequently, as his wife, Hennie Schoon, is the area coordinator for BHT and NVW and lives in the RD apartment at BHT. Though his formal ministry work has had him teaching, writing, and serving as a pastor, he finds “the Spirit continues to bring me into relational settings with university-aged people.” 

Other Pastoral Partners include Pastor Moon Kim of Korean Grace CRC, Pastor David Sung of Living Waters CRC, and Campus Ministries intern and Calvin Theological Seminary student Sarah VerMerris.

Many of these pastors already had a connection with students through their churches, according to. The official Pastoral Partners positions however allows them to deepen, strengthen, and further those relationships; make new ones, and give them with some Calvin benefits such as dedicated office space on campus, ID cards for the dining halls, and the support of Campus Ministries. 

You may make an appointment with any of the Pastoral Partners at the Campus Ministries office or by contacting them directly. 

The other pastoral pastors could not be reached in a timely manner.