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Wolthuis pens book on leadership training

Dr. Tom Wolthuis has been a strong advocate of leadership training, both as a pastor and as a professor. Trained in biblical studies, he says he’s always worked to make biblical knowledge functional—to bridge the gap between words and action.

Dr. Tom Wolthuis

Dr. Tom Wolthuis

“In my courses I tell my students that I’m not here just to teach them about the Bible but to help them experience it as a guide for their lives, asking what difference it makes and how it will change them,” he says.

Last summer Wolthuis began putting his insights into study materials for the Ascending Leaders organization, Ascending Leaders, headed by Mike Johnson (’84), a Christian Reformed pastor in Texas. Having just taught a class in biblical interpretation, Wolthuis expanded on some of the ideas he uses in class. He is focusing on how to read the different genres of literature found in Scripture and providing four fundamental principles to help leaders stay ground in God’s Word: encountering, exploring, expressing, and experiencing the text.

The Ascending Leaders program material that Wolthuis worked on last summer is now being edited for publication, but Wolthuis says he also used it in his introductory theology classes this fall. Although he admits that the format wasn’t a perfect fit for the college classroom, it gave students an opportunity to read it and for Wolthuis to receive their responses.

“Leadership training has traditionally been a strength of the Calvinist tradition,” Wolthuis says. That tradition, he believes, is something to share with people from other faith backgrounds. He also believes that it is a crucial component in educating Christian young people like those at Dordt College so that they begin to connect what happens in college with how they can serve God, his people, and the church once they leave here.