Transforming Leadership

The Rev. Dr. Jill (Zeiger ’96) Ver Steeg, chief operating officer for the Reformed Church in America (RCA), is not ready to talk about herself quite yet. Visitors to Ver Steeg’s office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are treated to insightful questions on family and vocation, leaving them encouraged in their gifts mere minutes after meeting her.

It’s easy to see the Fern Smith resident assistant in the COO—and, early in her college years, the COO in the RA.

Self-described as “highly relational,” Ver Steeg showed a unique mix of nurturing leadership qualities that caught the attention of Chaplain Matt Floding, who invited the religion and communications major to speak in chapel and lead high school retreats.

Today she bridges the operations and ministry sides of the RCA with a passion for adaptive change and leadership development.

“I believe what makes me unique in this position is I bring a ministry heart into an operations role,” she says. “It is a good day for me when I can say that this team of people God has called me to lead is flourishing. And the work of service to the church—missional imagination and missional innovation—they’re getting it done.”

Ver Steeg has shepherded the denomination’s 15-year vision, Transformed and Transforming, since July 2018. Rather than implement fixed programs, staff enter into a relationship with a church, working toward its future with an eye on nine distinct areas—including disability advocacy, women and cultural agility.

While building up those around her, Ver Steeg watches to see which leaders are coming next, as Floding did for her.

“If you don’t, the impact you’re trying to make is not sustainable.”

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