Answering the Call
Dr. John Sittema '71 knows
firsthand that when God extends a call, the only recourse is to respond.
"I sensed His call on my
life toward the end of my high school years and the beginning of college.
I tried to resist Him, but He was very persistent in His pursuit of me.
He laid his hand heavily on my heart and soul, and He was very clear in
After finishing his degree
at Trinity, the Lord led Sittema to Calvin Theological, where he completed
his master's in divinity in 1975. He then began a 27-year journey as senior
pastor of three Christian Reformed churches. After serving at Sanborn Christian
Reformed Church (Sanborn, Iowa) and First Christian Reformed Church (Pella,
Iowa), he relocated to Dallas in 1989 to lead Bethel Christian Reformed
"Moving to Dallas was a call
to be on the cutting edge of ministry; I wanted to contribute to the next
generation of ministry. There was an aggressive emphasis on evangelism
and expository preaching, and our adult membership grew from 42 to more
than 500. Those 13 years added up to be a delightful and fascinating experience
In 2002, Sittema accepted
a post at Christ Covenant Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. As associate
pastor there, he develops curriculum for children and adults within the
2500-member church. It allows him to continue helping people mature as
Christians as they discover their purpose as co-laborers with Christ.
"One thing I've learned in
the different locales where I've served is, the human heart is the same
everywhere. We tend to settle for religiosity instead of genuine faith
and spiritual development. God's people need daily reminders of God's redemption,
and I've been in positions to help people learn more about Him and their
relationship to Him."
Sittema, who is a native
of Chicago's Roseland community, earned his doctorate of ministry at Westminster
Theological Seminary in California in 1986. He says Trinity laid the foundation
for his career in ministry by showing him the value of scrutinizing the
Christian's presence in the world.
"From my very first semester,
the faculty drilled into me the greatness and majesty of God's kingdom
and the part we play in the redemptive plan. They taught us how to examine
culture from a Christian perspective, and it was presented as a privilege
to partner with God.
"The caliber of the faculty
was outstanding. People like Cal Seerveld, C.T. McIntyre, Pete Steen, Gerda
Bos.the depth and quality of the way they shaped our minds and hearts was
profound. Still today, I see the impact of being under their instruction."
Sittema, a leukemia survivor
and past trustee of the College (1994-2000), enjoys woodworking, golf,
and riding his motorcycle. His first wife succumbed to leukemia. He has
four children and two grandchildren, and lives in Weddington, North Carolina,
with his wife, Carol.
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