Pastor Profile: LeRoy Christoffels

NAME: LeRoy G. Christoffels CHURCH: Worthington Christian Reformed Church. NUMBER OF YEARS IN MINISTRY: 40 -- ordained September 25, 1970, in Hartley, Iowa, Christian Reformed Church. NUMBER OF YEARS IN CURRENT POSITION: 12. I was installed here ...

The Rev. LeRoy Christoffels will preach his farewell sermon Oct. 3 at the Worthington Christian Reformed Church. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

NAME: LeRoy G. Christoffels

CHURCH: Worthington Christian Reformed Church.

NUMBER OF YEARS IN MINISTRY: 40 -- ordained September 25, 1970, in Hartley, Iowa, Christian Reformed Church.

NUMBER OF YEARS IN CURRENT POSITION: 12. I was installed here on July 2, 1998, after serving churches in Hartley (1970-1974) and Oskaloosa, Iowa (1974-1979), Artesia, Calif. (1979-1990) and Wayne, N.J. (1990-1998).

REASON FOR GOING INTO THE MINISTRY: My call to the ministry developed gradually from the time I was very young. I told my parents and my pastor when I was 5 years old that I wanted to become a minister or to be a missionary either to Africa or Alaska! My sense is that God used this very immature awareness of a desire to preach to convict me that His people need the gospel of grace. He also convicted me of my own need for grace -- a gracious Savior to rescue me from the sins that would separate me from a holy God. The Lord used a whole series of events and circumstances to bring me to the conviction that I could do nothing but proclaim His Word both to those who already know Christ and to those who do not. That series included being brought up by godly parents, their sacrifices to pay tuition that permitted me and my five siblings to attend Christian schools from grades 1-12 and then Christian college, teachers who loved truth, my pastors preaching grace, and the example of many others in my church and community of faith.


EDUCATION: Southwest Minnesota Christian High (Edgerton); Dordt College, A.B.; Westminster Theological Seminary -- Philadelphia, B.D. One additional year at Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Mich., and some post-graduate work at Westminster Theological Seminary, California.

FAMILY: Wife, Dorothy Male (grew up in Denver, Colo.). She served as a teacher for several years and works now for Headstart and Even Start. We have five children: Benjamin and Jill Christoffels, Hull, Iowa, Elizabeth and Jonathan Kobes, Sioux Falls, S.D., Hannah and Nathaniel Vander Wier, Dunnville, Ontario, Canada, Joshua and Karen Christoffels, Escondido, Calif., and Rebecca and Seth Van Dyke. Bemidji; and 13 grandchildren.

PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY: The minister's task is to proclaim Christ alone from His Word. My goal is not to turn people into better, nicer and more moral people who still do not know God -- or as a recent writer puts it -- "moralistic therapeutic deists." Rather my aim is that we sinners (including preachers) confess our desperate need of the gospel and receive it by faith. Jesus paid for our sin on the cross and actually places us in His new Kingdom. Then our lives are an offering of gratitude for all that He is and all that He has done. We need to stand in awe of God -- both of His great power and majesty and of His amazing grace and love, believe His Word and love Him. When He works in us by his Holy Spirit, a new community of faith is created, and we begin to live for His glory. This community includes both seasoned saints and new believers of all nationalities. No matter who we are, we are beggars in need of bread. A pastor should therefore be a shepherd of sheep -- not driving them but leading them, feeding them from the Word of God, constantly bringing them to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus.

PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS: I very much enjoy preaching and teaching. I have led many Bible studies throughout my ministry, including some studies in church history. I like to take a personal approach to teaching and preparing young people to profess their faith and to serve Christ. I love to prepare worship services that are unified and that cultivate both a sense of awe and of joy. I have been involved in theological education as a board member of Westminster Seminary California (18 years now), and I have served the broader church in the work of Classis Minnkota (churches in our geographic area) and the synod of our denomination.

PERSONAL INTERESTS: My wife and I both enjoy gardening, and we like to specialize in peonies and other perennials. We both love hiking and being outdoors. I also enjoy reading and music, both singing and listening. I very much enjoy being a member of the Worthington Chamber Singers, and I've sung with them for 12 years.

FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE: Romans 8:38-39 is one among many because it summarizes the real comfort that is ours in Jesus Christ: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The Rev. LeRoy Christoffels is retiring from formal ministry within the Christian Reformed denomination. He will preach his farewell sermon at the 9:30 a.m. worship service Oct. 3 at Worthington Christian Reformed Church, 1100 First Avenue S.W. The public is invited to attend this service and time of celebration acknowledging his 40 years as a minister of the Word of God. The Christoffels plan to remain on their acreage outside of Worthington and continue to serve in various capacities in the church and community. They also hope to spend more time visiting their five children and 13 grandchildren.

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