Diane and Bill Jerdan are veteran missionaries who worked as church planters in France from 1972 to 2009. Since January 2010 their ministry has been expanded to include other parts of the world. Having worked with churches doing outreach in a difficult area for many years, they are now using their experience to provide church development and pastoral training assistance to others, in both French and English-speaking contexts. Recent missions have taken them to Germany, West Africa, Cambodia, and Nepal. Diane maintains a blog, where you can read more about their current mission work: Travel for Service.
In addition to this work, Bill serves as Executive Secretary of the REC Board of Foreign Missions. In this capacity, he directs the endeavors of the Board and develops methods of presenting Missions to our Church and the world.
The Jerdans' ministry vision was refined during their years in France where they worked alongside committed national Christians to build up the indigenous French church as a strong witnessing force in the French culture. Evangelical churches are an almost invisible minority in a society that sees little need for religious influence or practice. Since the Roman Catholic Church says its attendance country-wide is about 8% of the population and French Protestants make up only about 2% of the population, this means that almost 9 out of 10 French people have no personal connection with Christianity, especially those under the age of 25.
Bill and Diane worked mainly with the Evangelical Reformed Protestant Church of France (which traces its heritage and its 1559 Confession of Faith to the 16th century Protestant Reformation in France). This is a small group of about 30 pastors and 40 churches which affirms and teaches the evangelical biblical faith. Most of these churches are found in the extreme southern part of France, mainly in small towns between the cities of Marseilles and Toulouse. However, for their first twelve years of ministry in France, it was in the greater Paris area that Bill and Diane participated in their church-planting effort. During this time, they helped start or build up four new works. Then from 1987 to 2002 they served in small churches in urban areas around the southern cities of Marseilles and Montpellier.
From 2003 to 2009 Bill and Diane were again involved in church planting. In cooperation with a nearby Evangelical Reformed Church, they sought to develop a mission church about 15 miles north of Montpellier, in a small town which had never before in history had a Protestant church.
The Jerdans’ presence in France was just a “drop in the bucket” of the enormous needs in that country. But, fewer of those needs would have been met if they hadn’t been there! In spite of their missionary status, Bill and Diane were totally integrated into the structure of the French church, even being elected to serve on denominational boards and chosen to lead internship programs for pastoral candidates. For many years Diane was a member of the editorial committee of the church's monthly magazine. She was asked to serve on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of John Calvin Seminary in Aix en Provence, France, the only evangelical reformed seminary in the entire French-speaking world. She also had two books published in France on biblical subjects.
Bill is from South Carolina and Diane from South Dakota. They met at Wheaton College (IL) from which they both graduated. Bill continued his studies at Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philadelphia. After serving for three years at St. Luke's R.E. Church in Philadelphia, Bill and Diane began their missionary service in France in 1972. It was after two years of French language study that they started their work as missionaries.
The Jerdans reside at 30W050 Mulberry Court, Warrenville, IL 60555. They can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill and Diane have four children, all born in France:
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Read the current issue of The Jerdan Journal.