Coming and Going

November 30, 2018 by Gregg DeMey

This month we’ll be saying goodbye to Jack Lanenga who, after serving as Elmhurt Christian Reformed Church's (ECRC) Executive Director for the last seven years is retiring to a new mode of being at church: Full-time servant leader and Grandpa extraordinaire.

When Jack announced his plans to our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) earlier this fall, we indulged in a brief season of lamentation and then set about working to find someone with a big heart and professional qualifications to carry on the Executive Director’s work. We have found that person in Phil Sikkenga.

Phil, Jen and their daughters Ashley and Addy joined ECRC five-and-a-half years ago, and Phil has been a Deacon here for the past three years. His previous work experience includes sixteen years at Sweetener Supply Co. where he started his career handling large bags of sugar and quickly progressed to managing diverse teams of people and the day-to-day operations of several factories.

I’m enthusiastic about Phil’s addition to our staff and leadership for many reasons,

I’ll give you a quick four for now:

  • Phil has a highly organized, systematic mind and big heart for ministry. In Phil’s words, Jesus’ church should be all about “truth and love.” Two influential female youth leaders at Wheaton CRC drilled this deep into Phil as a young adult. He’s a man of action and will help our congregation see the Kingdom work that God has for us to do together.
  • While Phil has a track record of working with all kinds of people in his previous business, he has a passion for working with people who love Jesus. There are lots of people who love Jesus in this community; Phil should be happy for a long time.
  • Phil’s sense of reliance on God is at a very high level at present. His sense of God’s hand leading him to this job through a complicated season of life couldn’t be more clear. Phil didn’t set out to spend the next part of his career working for our church, or any church for that matter, yet here he is. It’s a good story.
  • Phil, like Jack, is willing do any job that needs to be done for the sake of Jesus’ cause. This is such a great trait. I saw it action this week as a group of staff members captained by Phil and Jack attempted to lash a ginormous “Explore God” banner to a semi-trailer in our south parking lot. It worked! (See pic.)

Even while Phil is coming, staff member Rick Noorlag is going. Rick has worked part-time as our custodian and facilities support since summer of 2018. He’s been a valuable member of our Operations Team and will be sorely missed. Rick is moving on to a full-time position at Christ Church of Oak Brook doing similar work. We wish him well.

Lastly, please mark December 16th on your calendar as a special day for celebration. After our 10:00 a.m. worship service, we’ll have a party to honor Jack Lanenga (food included!) and to bless him on his way into life’s next chapter. The festivities will wrap up by noon.

Grace and Peace to you along the way,
- Pastor Gregg

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