Josh Stammis '17
–By Christy Wolff ’10
Josh Stammis ‘17 felt the call to ministry during high school and knew that Trinity was the place he could thrive the most after just one visit to campus. “Trinity was the only place I visited where people who walked past me said ‘hello,’ even if they didn’t know me,” Stammis recalled. “The community at Trinity is radically hospitable.”
What began as a business communications degree during his freshman year turned into a focus on theology. “God gave me the gift and skill of communication,” Stammis shared. “Pastors need to know how to communicate well and essentially how to lead a small business by sharing your vision and getting others on board.” The business classes he took early on equipped Stammis with the tools needed to one day lead a church.
Dr. Bethany Keeley-Jonker, associate professor of communication arts, helped Stammis grow even more in his communication skills. “She developed my craft as a communicator,” Stammis recalled. “Through her teaching, I learned how to get a pulse on how people connect.”
Professor of Theology Yudha Thianto, Ph.D., also made an impact on Stammis by leading the class in a way that was intended to promote conversation among students. “He helped with self-development skills, taking ideas and responding to them instead of just memorizing what we’re told to do,” Stammis said.
“Trinity was the only place I visited where people who walked past me said ‘hello,’ even if they didn’t know me. The community at Trinity is radically hospitable.”
His classmates helped Stammis grow and shape his faith. “I gained inspiration from the community around me by seeing how much faith meant to my peers.” Gathering for campus-wide praise and worship on Thursday nights Outcry offered Stammis a new perspective on his own faith. He felt inspired to be a life-giving source to a community. “It was a great blessing to be the one who says ‘hello’ to someone I’d never seen before and share that hospitality with visitors — just like it was shared with me,” Stammis said.
After graduating from Trinity, Stammis went on to study at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and earned his Master of Divinity in 2020 – a difficult year to find work. “Some churches had a hard time meeting weekly for worship, let alone meeting to interview pastors,” Stammis pointed out. He took on an interim pastoral role in Sheldon, Iowa in the summer of 2021, which provided Stammis with the opportunity to develop his skills as a pastor, sermon writer, preacher, and community builder.
Stammis then received a call from Lakeview Christian Reformed Church in Lakeview, S.D., in October 2021. Located in a small town of 100 people where the closest neighbor is at least a half-mile away, residents naturally feel isolated. “Gathering in worship is a big service to the community around us – catching up with neighbors and interacting with others,” Stammis said.
A church of 40 members, about a dozen of them are children. “It’s a huge blessing and also a grand responsibility to see the next generation develop in their faith and make it their own, not just what their parents or I tell them,” Stammis said.
Recognizing his gift of communication, Stammis is thankful to God for giving him these skills to intentionally share the Gospel message with others. “God has shown me that giving back to His Kingdom through pastoral leadership was something beneficial, not just for myself, but for the community around me, too.”