Working Hand in Hand as a Team That Complements Each Other

by Jason Woo

Church worker Tine de Vries, 62, and Pastor Jak Verwaal, 64, work together in the Protestant Community of Stiens. The former provides pastoral care, the latter training and equipment.

Tine de Vries has been working with Stiens for eleven years, while Pastor Jak Verwaal started working there two years ago after a three-year vacancy during which De Vries took on most of the work. “Tine is the experienced force here,” says Jak Verwaal. “She knows everything and everyone here.” De Vries adds: “But it is nice to do the work together with you now.”

We complement each other
Stiens is a Protestant community of approximately 1200 members. “Our membership is declining slightly, but fortunately not yet rapidly,” says Tine de Vries. “We are a lively community with a lot of activities going on. That is why it is good that we are now doing this work together.”

The tasks are well divided. De Vries arranges all pastoral matters, while Verwaal leads the church services and provides training and equipment. It has been agreed that Verwaal focuses on church members aged 50 and younger, and De Vries on the older generation in the church. Both have absolutely no problem if one church member wants to speak to the other. “It’s nice when people call who they need,” says De Vries. Verwaal doesn’t feel any difference in functions at all. “We’re both just pastors. The municipality sees us as a team that complements each other.”

Empowering church members
Verwaal and De Vries have a joint mission: involving as many people in the community as possible in church work. “It is important that a church has a pastor, church worker or church council who takes the lead,” says Verwaal. “In turn, they can motivate people in the church to lead small groups or initiatives.” They are already seeing the fruits in Stiens. “Tine has set up all kinds of teams,” says Jak Verwaal, “One team coordinates, another arranges the welcome of new church members and another takes care of congratulating church members.” De Vries said: “I sat around the table with various people and asked them what they would like to do for the church. It was a huge job, but it really works. Now we can fill vacant positions with people who want to use their gifts and talents for that part of church work. We really empower community members.”

Church Worker Tine de Vries (right) and Pastor Jak Verwaal

This story is abridged and adapted from an article from the Protestant Church in the Netherlands – a member church of CWM.
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