Background Sketch and Résumé
John Charles Stuart Hiddema
Senior Minister of the Centre For Church Effectiveness, Canada
Deep in his heart John identifies his roots as being in Kingston Ontario. John’s parents immigrated here from Holland in December of 1950 and gave John several things. First they gave him a distinct heritage and strong work ethic (beginning in October of 1956). Second they gave him a solid home and sense of security in who he is. Thirdly, they gave him three sisters (one older). Finally they gave him an unsolicited dose of church and catechism from which he recoiled at an early age.
College diploma in Correctional Work (St. Lawrence College, Kingston campus), and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology (Carleton University, Ottawa).
John was introduced to a girl who exceeded every dream he dared to have for a wife and sure enough in two short years Sandra Tyler willingly changed her name to Sandra Hiddema, on January 24th. 1981.
Eternity will prove that an even more dramatic event occurred during that courtship period in John’s life than had ever or ever will occur. He experienced the love of God through Sandra which caused him to turn to God for salvation.
Common to many seminarians, it was increasing church involvement as youth sponsors and as board member, which led to Dallas Seminary’s T.H.M. (four year graduate program). God clearly directed John to specialize in the area of Pastoral Ministries, Church Development and Evangelism which opened numerous opportunities to serve. Before seminary days come to a close God had given John opportunity to work with ten churches in Canada and United States helping develop tailored strategies for outreach. This devotion led to faculty recognition and the Dallas Seminary graduation award established for personal evangelism.
Seminary days had been fruitful in more ways with John’s quiver beginning to burst a small seam. Just two months after his final year concluded he had his fourth blessing from God. Stuart, Stephanie, Alyssa and Aubrey. Many things changed after seminary including the pattern of two year kid-intervals. The Lord knew something John and Sandra didn’t, that they needed a fifth blessing to complete the ensemble. Olivia was born to them on leap year day 1996. She is so special in many ways not the least has been her fragile beginning and the three heart surgeries and 5 other heart proceedures, she has flourished by God’s grace.
John was hired to work for the Ontario Ministry of Corrections in April of 1980. This began a seven year education in the dynamics of human nature as seen from various levels and facets of involvement, from security to parole counseling. John had just been hired away from corrections by a community college to establish for them a new Law and Security program, when he received God’s call to “come and teach for Me”.
John was brought on staff with Outreach Canada (Richmond B.C.) in August of 1990, where John served as Director of Evangelism. God has been gracious and provided a variety of experiences and opportunities, across Canada, to dramatically broaden and deepen his ministry understanding and capabilities. Working in consultation and advisory capacity with a variety of churches has given opportunity to hone skills with different types of ministry situations as well as to grow in the exposure. Teaching leadership development and evangelism strategies as adjuct facutly at ACTS seminary kept a learning edge keen. Equipping and practice in personal, lifestyle evangelism has been a living illustration of God’s grace.
It was after three years of service with OC that John and Sandra were recruited by a Church in Surrey to become their Senior Pastor. The church had experienced a five year decline and exit of pastoral care givers. Again only the grace of God has prevailed to see the church struggle back on its functioning feet and see a net grow each of the three years he and Sandra have been there.
The next stopping point in the ministry/life pilgrimage was another Senior Pastorate role in Ottawa.
While this was a much larger church the situation was still a turn-around ministry opportunity. The church had not only lost 4 pastoral staff but had been in a decilne for more than 5 years. When surveyed the average ‘tenure in the faith’ for the church memb ers and adherents was 35 years. This required some significant ministry re-development. In going to the church John mapped out a 1000 day plan of revitalization (T-Net process) which netted a tremendous kingdom effect through the effective deployment of God’s people.
In October of 2001 John was brought on full time as the Senior Minister and Director of The Centre for Church Effectiveness, Canada and T-Net Canada.
The primary call to ministry was and still remained to see Canada reached in our life time. This, very clear ‘call’ ment that we think through a comprehensive strategy to develop existing churches at a scale well beyond the capasity of a one man ministry.
After different studies and attempts it became clear that using the existing evangelical church would hold the answer. If the approximately 9,500 evangelical churches in Canada were to experience a conversion growth rate of between 5 - 7% this country would be reached in our life time!
The Great Commission is not just to make decisions rather it is to make disciples, so conversion growth rate needs to seen in conjunction with a measureable spiritual growth rate as well. It is understood that the average church can develop meaningful structures that would see them able to assimilate 10% new people into discipleship systems. At the same time it is vital to see 25% of their existing congregation self- report significant , measurable personal growth from one level of maturity to the next every 18 months.
In combination these two (of the many) health factors are the halmarks of the church development ministry of the Centre for Church Effectiveness, Canada.
The Centre for Church Effectiveness, is a faith ministry, existing in partnership with like minded believers from the breadth of evangelicalism. In a true expression of ‘the unity of the body’ we look see believers from one location to support this ministry so that believers in another location can be taught and encouraged to reach and disciple people in their location.
While tuition is charged to church for services, they cover no more than travel and expences, leaving the living expences for the Hiddema family to supporters.