We have had a pastoral internship program at University Reformed Church for about four years. Being near Michigan State, most (but not all) of our interns are recent college grads, and as such spend nine months with us before heading off to seminary. So our first few interns are just now looking to enter full time ministry.

Knowing how difficult it can be to match the right person with the right church (and vice versa), I thought it might would be worthwhile to highlight three recent (or soon to be) seminary graduates from our church. I commend these young men to you as spiritually vibrant and theologically sharp.

I’ve posted a few details in the text below. You’ll find a fuller resume by clicking on each individual name.

Ryan Potter

Undergraduate Degree: Michigan State University (May 2008), Bachelor of Arts, Communication

Graduate Degree: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (January 2013), Master of Divinity

Interest: I am interested in head pastor and associate pastor positions, and am especially looking for opportunities for preaching, teaching, and discipleship/adult education.

Family situation: I have been married for almost five years to my amazing wife Sarah, and we have a nine month old son named William.

Zachary Garris

Undergraduate degree: Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), Michigan State University

Graduate degree: Master of Divinity, Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson, MS), anticipated May 2013

Interest: Associate Pastor; Youth Pastor/Director; teaching Bible/theology/Greek at a Christian school

Family Situation: Single

Neil Quinn

Undergraduate degree: BA in Philosophy from Michigan State University

Graduate degree: M.Div from Gordon-Conwell (graduating May of 2013)

Interest: Although I eventually desire to be a senior pastor, at this point I wish to spend time as an associate pastor where I can continue to learn and grow. I would enjoy opportunities to preach/teach, work with small groups and adult education, and help the church be involved in the community and live out their faith.

Family Situation: Married to Leandra Quinn (will be 5 years in May) and expecting our first child (a baby girl) this February.

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4 thoughts on “URC Pastoral Interns”

  1. Paul Janssen says:

    I know this is going to sound really snarky, but all RCA installed pastors make this promise: to “be loyal to the witness and work
    of the Reformed Church in America,using all my abilities to further its Christian mission here and throughout the world.” Does this include recommending students attend RCA seminaries? 2 Gordon Conwell, and 1 RTS. I know no pastor can wave a magic wand over anybody and make them do anything. Just wondering if these guys, as salutary as I’m sure they are, were counseled to consider attending either WTS or NBTS.

  2. Brad A. says:

    If this response to the first comment sounds snarky, please forgive me. However,

    1. If RCA congregations want young men with conservative convictions to be apart of their denomination, then reformation has to happen in mainly liberal WTS (not Westminster but Western Theolgical in Holland)and NBTS.
    2. They should not remove the conscience clause and try to sequester the Bible on homosexuality with mainline politics.
    3. If the RCA is all about diversity, then why is sending our potential pastoral candidates away a bad thing? It allows diverse view points to examine the trends of the RCA and, in a Berean way, see if try conform to Scripture.
    4. What if the direction of the RCA was actually worse for its futureand eschatological health. What if the mission did not match the biblical one? Wouldn’t it then be the job of the pastor to do all that is possible to correct the course? Isn’t that in the best interest of the RCA?

    just a few thoughts to follow up on with your question.

  3. Paul j says:

    1. The rca has plenty people with conservative convictions who have been trained its seminaries.
    2. The conscience clause is being voted on. Let’s wait and see. Discussions on “homosexuality” in general are not helpful. The issue is too multifaceted to address by monolithic label.
    3. Using the shibboleth of “diversity” to allow for training that differs significantly with the RCA’s confessional standards is a misuse of the term. If you want the rca to hew to its standards, you don’t judge it by other standards.
    4. Is it the job of any pastor to stand in judgment on the whole denomination?

    Yet to be responded to is the basic question I asked, whether the rca seminaries were even considered. How seriously do we take these vows?

  4. Brad A. says:

    1. How recently have those people graduated? Not meant as a snarky question, sorry if it sounds like it. In my time of emailing back and forth with the staff when considering it (it being Western), I was actually turned off by some of the statements I received (as was my brother in law). So while I am sure conservatives have been trained there at some points, more recently I wonder if it has been because of the seminary’s work or in spite of it.
    2. Yes, conscience clause is being voted on, but the fact that we missed the cut by 2 votes last time does not make many sit easy. And your statement on homosexuality, though seeking to be nuanced and gratious for those who struggle with SSA and SSO (which I appreciate), is part of the reason why the RCA is where it’s at and why yet another task force was created merely so that the original findings by the denomination could be enforced.
    3. Admittedly, the entire statement on diversity was a reductio ad absurdum for certain persons advocating for diversity in some parts rather than others. Nonetheless, we should be called to evangelicals first before being denominational. And really, though some small differences occur, can you really say that WCF is vastly different than the original three forms of unity?
    4. I would hope so. Otherwise, we should all go back to Mother Rome because Luther, Calvin, the Puritans and the RCA are all a bunch of hypocrites, since there existence demanded single or a small group of people to be in judgement over the denomimation.
    5. I personally was asked about going RCA as a pastor, but between my views on baptism and the passing of Belhar, I had to say no. And the emails I had with Western were less than encouraging. And anyways, doesn’t anyone who joins the RCA have to go to WTS or NBTS anyway for history of the denomination classes ad certain pre-reqs for ordination anyways? For some reason, I thought that was a requirement.

    Hope those help.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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