About ChapterNext

Sam Hamstra, Jr.

Sam Hamstra, Jr., Founder

Sam Hamstra, Jr. is the founder and leader of ChapterNext, a Chicagoland-based pastor search and church staffing consultancy.  Since 2007, Sam has been helping congregations turn the page so that they can begin writing new chapters of dynamic and life-transforming ministry.

Sam has been prepared for this work by nearly forty years of service to the local church. He has served five unique congregations and one Christian college. Through it all, he has experience as a youth pastor, solo pastor, senior pastor, worship leader, church planter, and college chaplain. As a consultant, his ministry is now expressed through teaching, writing, consulting, and coaching.

Sam is the author of several publications, including What's Love Got To Do With It? How the Heart of God Shapes Worship (Wipf & Stock, 2016), an Affiliate Professor of Church History and Worship, and the Director of the Master of Arts in Worship program at Northern Seminary. In addition, he has been trained as an interim pastor and is affiliated with Interim Pastor Ministries.

Sam and his wife, Debbie (Ploegman), reside in the Chicago area. They have enjoyed over forty years of marriage; they have been blessed with four married children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in the Chicago area. In his spare time, you will find Sam hanging out with his family, watching a baseball game, playing piano, or fishing in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Brittany Janiszewski, Director of Candidate Relations

Brittany Janiszewski began working with ChapterNext in 2017.  She is a graduate of Northern Seminary, and currently serves in the local church as a worship pastor.  Brittany comes from a family of pastors; she is the third generation in her family to go into ministry! She has served in various churches in the areas of worship and youth ministries. She is passionate about training and equipping church leaders.

Brittany lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Jeff.  She enjoys performing music with Jeff (check out https://soundcloud.com/reason-and-rhyme), spending time with friends and family, reading, camping, and coffee!

What Our Clients Say

Our Search Committee spent almost two years trying to find an Associate Pastor before partnering with Chapter Next.  We are extremely grateful that it wasn’t long before God used Chapter Next to help us identify the person he had in mind for our church!”

Rev. Joel Sheeres

Crown Point (IN) Christian Reformed Church

“Sam Hamstra has a unique calling in the Kingdom of God. God has gifted him to view the church landscape from a 30,000 foot perspective. Consequently, he is able to facilitate kingdom work on a grander scale than just from the local church perspective. He is a true bridge builder in the work of God.”

Pastor Al Garcia

New Life Oak Forest

“We as a team have appreciated all the work and expertise supplied for us. We have great respect for the work of ChapterNext. We needed a pastor that would come along side our current staff and strengthen the bonds between staff and congregation, encourage and support the congregation in our current ministry, and then expand our vision into the community in a Christ-like manner.  With the help of ChapterNext, we called and installed such a pastor.”

John Hamar, Chair

Visalia (CA) Christian Reformed Church Search Team

"We never hoped or even imagine that in less than nine months after we began our search for a new pastor that we would have found, called and received an acceptance letter from a young pastor and his family…. The process of searching for and calling a pastor for our rather unique church seemed daunting, so we were open to the suggestion of a member of the Search Team to contract Rev. Sam Hamstra as a Pastor Search Consultant. We can’t imagine how this process would have gone, and how long it would have taken, without him…. The synergy of the Search Committee and Sam was remarkable.  More than one committee member said that this was the most enjoyable experience they had ever had. This was, without a doubt, due in large measure, to the guidance of Sam Hamstra in the search process."

Pastor Search Committee

New Hope Church (Lansing, IL)

“Rev. Hamstra brought a variety of gifts to the Search process. He is a strong networker with connections in the Christian Reformed Church, the Reformed Church in America and beyond. This resulted in connections which would not have happened without his assistance. He developed a clear understanding of the church, community, & ministry. He helped us focus our efforts on those who would be the best fit. He was very sensitive to the process and offered helpful advice. As an independent consultant he was able to have open and honest communication with potential candidates. Through his help and the Lord’s leading the search process went quickly and smoothly. We are excited about the next chapter in Bethel’s ministry. I highly recommend him and his ministry.” 

Rev. Calvin Aardsma

Bethel Christian Reformed Church (Lansing, IL)

“We praise God for the work of Sam Hamstra and ChapterNext to our congregation and the wider body of Christ. The work of his team will accelerate any search process as they walk with church leaders to find God’s match.”

Pastor Rob Ford

First Reformed Church of Friesland

“When the idea of using an outside counselor and adviser was considered, the Search Committee was initially hesitant. Once the process started, the benefits became clear. The entire committee grew appreciative of the guidance, insights and assistance provided by Rev. Hamstra. Candidates were identified and evaluated as to mutual fit, and done so in ways that would not have been possible as a Search Committee. By the end, everyone on the Committee felt that the search process was a blessing to our church, and concluded that Rev. Hamstra was a key part of the search.”  

Bill Terpstra, Chair

Bethel Christian Reformed Church Search Committee

“Finding a new leader is a daunting task for any church. Thankfully, God provided Sam Hamstra as a gifted resource and guide for our search team. Sam’s heart for the church, his humor, gentleness, and experienced wisdom, and his toughness in the face of challenges were all tested during his engagement with our church. Sam never wavered in his trust in God to reward our process, answer our prayers, and ultimately lead us to the right person. I believe I speak for our entire leadership team when I unreservedly commend Sam Hamstra to anyone embarking on a similar task and journey.”

Doug Evenhouse, Search Committee Chairperson

Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church

Sam helped our international church find an excellent pastor in a short time frame and after we had struggled more than a year to manage the process on our own. Sam listened to us, and took the time to get to know about our unique church culture, our people, and our journey of faith. His service was invaluable to us.

Christine Little

Escazu Christian Fellowship (San Jose, Costa Rica)

“You are doing everything a Search Team should do.” Our Interim Pastor was affirming but after two years we were still searching. “The only other thing I know of is this.” He gave us information about ChapterNext. We’d never heard of a “head hunter” for pastors. But, in two years of searching on our own, we’d only had one qualified inquiry and he was still in seminary. We prayed. Did some quick fund-raising, then called in Rev. Sam Hamstra to get us revitalized in our search. He helped us jazz-up our church profile and then distributed it in a variety of ways through his wide, social-media network. Within a few weeks we had seven qualified resume’s to review. We interviewed four candidates, all were good, but we felt led to two. We did a second interview with each and felt called to one of them. There was a third interview, then a Mutual Discernment visit to our church and community to see if there was a “fit” on both our parts. There was. Two weeks later our candidate returned for a preaching visit and a meeting with the Leadership Team about duties and finances. The next week the congregation voted and we now have a new pastor! From the time we contacted Sam to the time we issued a Call barely four months had passed. ChapterNext was a God-thing for our Search Team. Sam was a pleasure to work with. He made an on-site visit to get to know us so he could determine who a good match might be for us. He responded quickly to any questions, either by e-mail or phone. A task that was taking us literally years, Sam (and God) helped accomplish in less than four months. We praise God for ChapterNext, Sam, and our new Pastor!!

Roxanne Henke, Search Team Co-chair

Faith Community Church (Wishek, ND)