Ministering and Ministers


Phil Huisjen, 99, reading his Bible

This morning I visited our oldest male member, Phil Huisjen, who is beginning his 100th year this week. His mind is still sharp, especially when he converses of spiritual matters. He spends most of his time in his room, reading his extra large print Bible through a strong magnifying glass, all propped up on a light Styrofoam contraption that he can straddle his Bible across the top of. What a dear brother this senior is! I have been visiting him for twenty-five years, and cherish every one of those visits. Over the years, I have seen him grow spiritually, so that he now relishes salvation in Christ’s righteousness alone. When I told him I was going to read Psalm 71, he said, “Oh, I love that psalm—that’s the psalm where David keeps talking about Christ’s righteousness rather than his own.”

This dear brother speaks with a depth of spiritual conviction seldom encountered in our day. His yearnings for more faith and his hatred of his own unbelief are so profound and intense that I always leave these visits feeling I was pastored more than I pastored. Oh, for more vital, experiential Christianity in our own hearts today!




URC Ministerial Fellowship

This noon I had the privilege of addressing the first gathering of a new ministerial fellowship which hopes to meet quarterly. Presently, it consists mostly of United Reformed Church ministers but plans are underway to throw the net a bit wider to include ministers and seminaries of conservative Reformed persuasion. I was asked to address the subject of “Coping with Criticism in the Ministry.”  I gave them ten points: Consider criticism inevitable; consider the source, consider timing and prayer; consider yourself; consider the content; consider Scripture; consider Christ; consider biblical saints; consider love; consider long-term vision.

I’m hoping to expand this address this fall into a 100-page paperback, which Day One hopes to publish in the spring. I believe there is a great need for a helpful book from the Reformed perspective on this vital subject. Despite the fact that more than 80% of ministers in America today state that coping with criticism is the greatest burden they face in the ministry, materials on this subject are scarce. If you know of any good sources on coping with criticism, let me know please.



  1. Jason Tuinstra

    Joel, thanks again for coming and meeting with us. We were truly edified by your address and your willingness to spend your lunch hour with us. I’m looking forward to your paperback. May the Lord bless it and use it as a practical help in an area that is not often addressed! Thanks again. Jason

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