Bouwer Discusses Leadership in Ministry

Rev. BouwerStudents who take Dr. Rick Hamilton’s BUAD 384 class spend a semester learning about leadership. “Who are you? Who does God want you to be? And what does it take to be a leader?” are some of the questions Hamilton raises in his class.

Through the Leadership Speaker Series, those students, along with members of the community, had the opportunity to hear from leaders in a variety of settings—non-profit, for-profit, and ministry.

Recently Rev. Bob Bouwer, senior pastor at Faith Church in Dyer, Ind., spoke about leadership in ministry at the closing session of the series. “Leadership requires insane strength,” said Bouwer, whose father was also a minister. A graduate of Northwestern College and Western Theological Seminary, Bouwer began his ministry serving an urban church in Fort Lee, N.J. In 1990, he came to Faith Church in Dyer, Ind., which now has eight locations, including a site in Puerto Rico.

In a discussion led by Evan Witmer ’20, Bouwer described seven elements that have shaped his leadership:
1)    Seeing leadership, beginning as a student.
2)    Discovering leadership gifts
3)    Learning about leadership
4)    Experiencing leadership
5)    Picking a leader and becoming an expert in that person’s life
6)    Having visionary leadership
7)    Focusing on spiritual leadership

Bouwer also discussed the importance of mentoring. “Mentoring is huge in my life on the receiving end and on the giving end,” he said. He urged students to pick a mentor and study that person. Peer learning is also a significant part of his leadership.

When asked for advice, Bouwer urged attendees to remember that leadership begins with God. Leaders must also know their own strengths and weaknesses and be life-long learners. Christian leaders must also be humble. “God has forced me to be humble,” he said.