Local pastor, author, blogger Kevin DeYoung moving on
University Reformed Church senior pastor Kevin DeYoung is leaving to lead another church after 13 years.
DeYoung is an award-winning author and a blogger for the Reformed church organization The Gospel Coalition and a well-known name within Reformed circles. He has earned a number of Book of the Year titles — three from Christianity Today in 2009, 2010 and 2013, from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association in 2014 and from World Magazine in 2015.
University Reformed Church, or URC, in East Lansing operates Spartan Christian Fellowship, a college ministry on the campus of MSU.
DeYoung has pastored the church through a period of some significant change. During his tenure the church changed location from Hagadorn Road across from Akers Hall, which is now home to the MSU Community Music School, to its building on Timberlane Street, off of Burcham Drive. The church also changed denominational affiliation to the Presbyterian Church of America. They were formerly members of the Reformed Church of America.
DeYoung will assume the senior pastor position at Christ Covenant Church outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. His first sermon is planned for July 16, said Rich Protasewich, co-chair of the pastor search team for Christ Covenant Church.
DeYoung will also assume the position of Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. DeYoung previously held the position of Chancellor’s Professor, traveling from his home in East Lansing to teach at some of the seminary’s different campuses around the country.
The church staff has been preparing for DeYoung’s exit for some months, said Evan Vanderwey, URC elder and co-chair of the search committee elected by the congregation to find DeYoung’s replacement.
DeYoung will be missed.
“I’ll miss him first as a friend,” Vanderwey said. “He’s been a good friend of mine for 13 years.”
And the congregation will miss his firm grasp of scripture and ability to explain it systematically, he said. But that is one of the things the search committee will look for as it vets individuals to fill the position.
“I think we’re all sad to see Kevin leave,” said Kevin McAlvey, URC church administrator. “We really love him and are thankful for him and his family, that they’ve been around for the last 13 years.”
Following the Presbyterian Church of America bylaws, the congregation at URC has elected a search committee from among its members, McAlvey said. They tried to compile a team representing different ages and ministries from within the church.
Vanderwey said there is no estimate on when the search team will have completed its task.
“We’re looking for the person that God would like us to call and we’re going to take as long as it takes to make the right choice,” Vanderwey said.
Among those asked to apply for the position is URC's associate pastor, Jason Helopoulos, Vanderwey said.
The change in leadership will not mark a change in direction, McAlvey said. The search team will look for a pastor that will preach the same central message, that God loves mankind and sent his son to die for us.
“He preached the Bible and we’ll probably look for somebody who will preach the Bible,” he said. “He prayed, we’ll look for somebody who seeks God in prayer.”
DeYoung will man the helm of a church with a similarly heavy emphasis on college outreach.
“We are very invested in college ministry and reaching college students, and we think he’ll continue to support our legacy in that space,” said Paul Joyce, co-chair of Christ Covenant Church’s search team.
The church supports ministries operating on multiple college campuses in the Charlotte area, he said.
DeYoung’s leaving the area will be a loss for East Lansing, Joyce said. But he will work to bring many of those same blessings to students of a different community.