Duties: Preach, teach, lead church, inspire a God walking movement in my home, this church, and all over the world.
Wisdom/bit of advice/quote: Read your Bible; pray everyday – then tell someone else about it.
Children: Jeffrey Christopher, Joseph Benjamin, Michael Scott, Benjamin Jacob
Education: B.A. from Calvin College; Masters of Divinity from Calvin Seminary
Hope and Vision for Pathway: That each of us would be so excited about our walks with God in our personal lives, our marriages, and in our families that we could not help but share that excitement with others.
How you got involved with Pathway: I was minding my own business, working for the Bible League, living in Chicago when some people from Byron Center asked me to do a marriage retreat. As with couples that are destined to be married, one thing led to another and in September of 2002 my family and I, moved, being moved by the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and began our work here.
Books I have written: How to Plant a Church without uprooting yourself; The Secret of a Great Music Ministry; The Secret of a Great Preaching Ministry; The Secret of a Great Evangelism Ministry (More info at: www.Stevenelzinga.com).
A few of my favorite things: I love adventure. I love the unknown. I love trying new things. Travel, people, hobbies, business. I play sports. In order of importance: hockey, golf, tennis, soccer, badminton, basketball, football, softball, and bowling. Recently I’ve taken up oil painting – come over some time I’ll show you. Music is big at our house – 5 guitars, 1 piano, 1 keyboard, 3 trumpets, 1 sax, 1 drum set, 1 banjo, 2 violins, 1 cello, 1 mandolin – well you get the idea. Oh, yes, I like playing cards with the boys. Of course God, my wife, my children, my work, and my church are my most favorite things.
A bit of my story: I had been in ministry for almost 8 years before it happened. I had been a ministry go getter – making it happen, trying different things, leaving no ministry stone unturned. The list: Formed a singing group and toured across the US and Canada. Taught at a Bible College in the Philippines. Produced the first indigenous original songbook for the Christian Reformed Church of the Philippines. Pastored an established church (Highland Christian Reformed Church) for 4 years and watched in become the largest Christian Reformed Church in Northern Michigan. Planted a new church in Vancouver, British Columbia. Worked night and day to see it grow to 500 people in 4 years. Plans were in the works for two daughter churches.
That is when it happened. I crashed and burned. I was out of gas. I was on empty. I was finished. But God wasn’t. He met me in a lonely parking lot in the Florida Keys. I had tried to get as far away from my church as I could. And God spoke to me. What did God say? Only this: “I am here.” The one time God speaks to me and all I get is three words. It was weeks later that God revealed to me the full extent to these words. “I am here. And what matters is your walk with me. What matters is your walk with your wife and me. What matters is your walk with your family and me. And if as a family you could share your walk with a few others, that is all I desire from you. And if this becomes a big church or a little church, well that is my business.” I thought I had to make things happen. I thought the church would grow only if I did certain things and did them well. I was dying trying to do everything well.
My life and ministry changed after this. I discovered that I needed an everyday relationship with God – talking (prayer) and listening (Bible reading) repeatedly. I needed to include my wife in this relationship. I needed new habits and relationship disciplines that would help me include my whole family in this God relationship. The funny thing was the more I concentrated on God in my own family the more excited I got about sharing what was happening with others. I couldn’t help it. I then moved with my family to Chicago and founded a non-profit called LifeNet with a friend and partner Henry Reyenga. Later we merged with the Bible League where we had the chance to bring this message all around the world.
While at the Bible League God brought another partner in the God walking movement – Jim Heethuis. Both he and I are currently working at Pathway Ministries in Byron Center – a ministry that believes it should live out the vision first in the home and then branch out into the world. Check out our vision statement. It is pretty cool. Well, the God adventure continues. If I can help you in any way, click away.