by Adventist Today News Team
The Voice of Prophecy board has appointed Pastor Shawn Boonstra as the new director of a ministry begun at the dawn of broadcasting in the 1920s by Adventist icon H. M. S. Richards. Boonstra is an associate director of the Ministerial Association for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America with responsibility for coordinating evangelism.
No newcomer to running a media ministry, Boonstra was director of the It Is Written television ministry from January 2005 to December 2010 when he resigned because of an unexplained “health challenge.” From 1998 to 2004 he worked for It Is Written Canada, first as an associate evangelist and then as director. He is 43, a Canadian raised in British Columbia where he graduated from the University of Victoria with a degree in political science. He decided to commit to gospel ministry after attending an It Is Written evangelism campaign and then went to Andrews University for theological training. He and his wife Jean have two daughters.
“Shawn has clearly demonstrated that he has a heart for … reaching those who need to hear the messages of Christ’s love and redemptive power,” said Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the Adventist denomination in North America and chairman of the board for the Voice of Prophecy. In a 2006 campaign that Boonstra led in Phoenix more than 550 people were baptized, one of the largest such projects by Adventists in the last decade.
For the last year the Voice of Prophecy has operated without a director. In April 2012, Adventist Today reported that then director Pastor Fred Kinsey was fired by the board after leading the ministry for five years. Under Kinsey’s leadership, the Voice of Prophecy expanded the voices heard on the 15-minute daily and 30-minute weekly radio programs by adding women as speakers—Elizabeth Talbot, Willa Sandmeyer and Connie Vandeman Jeffery—and Mike Tucker, director of Faith for Today. Kinsey also led the ministry to become involved with social media including the introduction of the Voice of Prophecy iPhone app. Jeffery has been acting as primary spokesperson for the ministry in recent months.
“We are grateful for Fred’s ability to bring a diversity of programming to the Voice of Prophecy which allowed this ministry to continue to win souls for Christ,” said Jackson. “We also applaud his commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the role he played in communication ministry at the Division for many years,” he said. Kinsey was an assistant to the president of the NAD from 1999 to the summer of 2010.
"It is not surprising that Boonstra experienced health issues," a retired Adventist minister who has been involved with media ministries at various times during his career told Adventist Today. "It is my prayer that he manages his energy and stress better this time around. These guys are under enormous pressure to raise the money that it takes to keep these ministries going and deal with the hugh gap between what the donors want and what the general public wants; the people they are trying to reach."