Vocational Formation Office
A Fresh Approach
You're invited to know God, yourself, and your ministry with greater depth and purpose.
"For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of God's good purpose." - Philippians 2:12-13
The Vocational Formation Office is focused on the singular goal of partnering with you in the shaping of your character for Christ-likeness, your overall heart and skills for ministry, and your understanding of what it means for you to give your leadership in God's Kingdom.
Our hope is three fold:
- You will learn to discern the work of the Holy Spirit in your and your context
- You will grow in your capacity to effectively engage in your ongoing equipping for ministry
- You will develop personally helpful ministry "postures" for lifelong learning and growth
Rooted in Christ
While vocational formation at Calvin Theological Seminary has been enhanced in recent years, it remains rooted in the tradition of Christian mentorship and undergirded by the use of proven resources. All students in the MDiv and MA programs will be matched with a mentor from a church or other ministry who will serve as a resource for two years—not simply a semester or a season. You will also have the opportunity to explore your strengths through the Birkman assessment, which has been helping people in all vocational fields for more than 60 years.
The central focus of our work is formation
The fact is that left unchallenged, few of us will ever become all that Jesus has called us to be. We simply don't drift into growth. Conversely, most of us will be formed dramatically by significant unplanned events - or, by deliberately entering structured and focused formation processes.
Formation for Ministry
Formation Groups with Peers
Both residential and distance learning students will be placed in Formation Groups during their first year at Calvin Seminary. Formation groups are lead by mentors from both within the seminary and the broader community. Students will learn and grow alongside their peers, meeting weekly to pray, develop, and learn together. This peer group is designed to normalize peer care and prayerful support using structured conversations and reflective assignments.
Concurrent Contextual Learning
Real ministry experiences are an essential component of the education that Calvin Seminary offers its students in the pastoral ministry and specialized ministry programs.
Concurrent and Integrative. Forming the character, heart, and leadership of emerging leaders. We are acutely aware that leadership in God’s kingdom requires more than textbook knowledge. In fact, we are convinced that effective kingdom leadership in an increasingly complex world requires that leaders now their theology – and who’s character is rooted in Christ and the Gospel, who’s heart is in step with the Holy Spirit, and who’s leadership acumen is always growing.
Calvin Seminary's mission is to equip ministry leaders to make disciples. Part of this process is supporting students, not only as they learn about theology or best practices in ministry, but also as they learn about themselves. And just like students learn within a classroom, self-discovery happens in community. That is why each student is connected with a vocational mentor.
A new tool of the in the vocational and leadership formation initiative at the seminary is a 65-year-old, strengths-based assessment called the Birkman, a tool that both Calvin Seminary and the CRCNA’s Pastor-Church Resources office is using with promising results.
To learn more about the Birkman, follow the link below.
What Our Student Are Experiecing
Current M.Div student Nicole Romero can’t imagine her seminary experience without her own mentor, Ann Kapteyn, a Bible translation consultant and missionary-in-residence at the seminary. “She has been such a foundational person in my life as well as in this seminary journey,”
Who We Are
Meet the Team
Geoff Vandermolen is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. He began his work as Director of the VFO in July 2016. His Birkman reveals that he is a healthy mixture of Green and Red. Geoff has been a congregational leader in the CRC for 20 years, serving in a variety of roles as an associate pastor (London, Ontario), as a church planter (Calgary, Alberta) and as a Lead Pastor (Oakville, Ontario). His passions include: initiating change and growth in organizations, teaching, leadership formation and succession and preaching/ teaching. In 2014 Geoff completed a DMIN at Acadia University, focusing on kingdom leadership formation and succession models. In addition to serving CTS as the Director of the VFO, Geoff also teaches the Capstone leadership course and has also taught Leadership Coaching and other leadership related courses related to church planting and discipleship. Geoff has been married to Kristin for 25 years. Together they are the parents of two great kids, Gillian and Simon.
Connect with Geoff by phone: 616-957-6045 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samantha DeJong-McCarron is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. She’s been working with the VFO since 2016 and has transitioned into the role of Vocational Assessment and Discernment Specialist in the summer of 2020. Her Birkman reveals lots of Green and Blue which means she loves people and creative ideas. Sam has been working in various church leadership roles for over a decade. She’s worked in Albuquerque, New Mexico as a co-pastor, a church planter in Denver, Colorado and as a Vocational Consultant for the Christian Reformed Church of North America. Her passions include unleashing God given potential, vocational discernment, and leadership formation. Sam is married to Nate who also serves as a pastor in the CRCNA. They are parents of three amazing school aged children, Eli, Alex, and Ruby.
Connect with Sam by phone: 616-957-6018 or email: email@example.com
Chris Wright has been part of the Vocational Formation office and work for over a decade. Her Birkman reveals that she thrives in the Yellow! However, don’t let that passions for systems and administrative tasks fool you. Chris is as passionate about students and their formation as anyone. She uses her personable style and attention to detail to serve the formation of students be ensuring that each component, detail, deadline and administrative task is down with excellence in service of formation. She is passionate about her work and a vital part of the VFO team.
Chris is married to Greg, who also serves at CTS on the Building Facilities and Maintenance Team. Together they have two adult children and five grand-kids. Chris and Greg live in Grant Michigan where Chris also loves to serve as a leader in Children’s Ministry at her local church.
Connect with Chris by phone: 616-957- 6064 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Connecting Students with Churches
Calvin Seminary’s Vocational Formation Office is eager to partner with you to help form students for ministry. Get started by exploring the types of internship sites we need, and then contact us so that we can explore your options in more detail. We choose internship sites based on the congregation’s fit for particular student.
Become an Internship Site
Real ministry experiences are an essential component of the education that Calvin Seminary offers its students in the pastoral ministry (MDiv) and specialized ministry (MA) programs. Please consider how your congregation can provide valuable hands-on internships for students as they pursue God’s call on their lives.
Calvin Seminary students who are licensed to preach can gain experience in preaching while meeting your congregation’s pulpit supply needs. We value excellence in preaching, and we see these experiences as important to our students’ preparation for pastoral ministry.
Request a Seminary student to preach at your church using the Pulpit Supply Request Form below. Once your request is submitted, Seminary students who are licensed to preach can view your request and can request the service(s) via the vocational formation office. The vocational formation office will then notify the church’s pulpit supply coordinator the student’s contact information.
We want your congregation’s preaching needs to be met well, so we ask that you and other qualified congregational representatives submit preaching evaluation forms after a student preaches at your church. This will provide students training for pastoral ministry with powerful feedback as they hone their preaching skills. Students will be responsible to bring sermon evaluation forms with them the day of the service.