Rev. Zachary King, 40, has been appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church to head its new mission agency. That appointment must be ratified by Synod 2017 after delegates to the CRC’s general assembly also interview him. The new mission agency (as yet unnamed) was created by combining Christian Reformed Home Missions and Christian Reformed World Missions.
King has spent the last 11 years as a missionary in Haiti, a position he shared with his wife, Rev. Sharon Segaar-King. The Segaar-Kings have four children.
He knows working in an organization made up of two previous agencies—each with their own culture and history—will bring challenges. King told trustees that the key will be focusing on domestic and international ministries learning from each other. “I’ve been involved in international missions for most of my career. But I’ve always nurtured a passion for church planting. I have a big conviction that we need to be on the forefront of mission on the domestic side. We will grow [as a denomination] insofar as we reach people through campus ministry and through church plants.”
King also addressed the issue of missionaries now having to raise 90 percent of their own financial support. “One of the things that gives me pause about this position is that immediately upon acceptance, I get to own this discussion, rather than being on the mission field Monday morning quarterbacking,” he said. “[The] time has come for our missionaries, the best face for fundraising, to lay it on people’s heart to give. We knew it would give less time to focus on field ministry to spend more time writing blogs and getting out those emails. Change has been necessary.”
He said God has blessed that, but that missions continue to struggle financially. “I’m in the middle of doing our budget in our Haiti field. It’s the biggest cut we’ve ever had, times two. It’s hard to see ministry not happening because we don’t have resources,” he said. “Those ministry shares funds that pay for core expenses on our field are necessary and [are] being used effectively. Our constituents need to hear those funds are valuable and important. We have to defend that and put it before our churches.”
At the same time, he said, as impoverished as Haiti is, it is growing spiritually. “[Haitians] aren’t waiting for money. God is working in places where there are not what we would consider adequate resources. In the North American context, we have church planting contexts with great material shortages. God is good, he does provide resources at the time church planters need them.”
King earned his M.Div. at Calvin Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Free University of Amsterdam. He worked in two congregations in Michigan and worked overseas as a church planter in Puerto Rico as well as teaching at a seminary in Donga, Nigeria. In Haiti, in addition to his work for World Missions, he was heavily involved in developing Christian day school education there.
“We’ve laid out good mission and vision statements and outcomes we want to see,” King said about the new mission agency. “I hope in five years that we’re on track for our goal of missional congregations. One of the best ways to grow a church is by planting new missional congregations. I’m looking forward to that.”
If approved by Synod 2017, King will succeed Rev. Gary Bekker, director of World Missions, and Rev. Moses Chung, director of Home Missions.