The Mess in the Middle
A fully functioning Classis is vital to the health and future of the CRCNA. Classis continues to be a puzzle and a problem for the CRC.
-- On CRC Voices over the last month we’ve been having an extended discussion about the numbers of Article 17s and what to do about it.
-- In the CRC Pastor’s Facebook group I posted a ranty complaint about Classical Examinations which lead to a fruitful discussion about its struggles and ways to improve them.
-- The CRC Network continues to soldier on trying to share ideas and raise issues of common concern with Classis.
Classis is the front line for leadership development, deployment and support for the CRC yet most classes struggle with consistency and follow-through with even its most basic tasks.
Classical Interim Pastor
In my experience in Classis Central California probably the most successful classical effort we had was the Classical Interim Pastor, especially when it was filled by Rev. Al Helder. The position was formed before there were many Specialized Transitional Ministers available to churches. I think in many ways we discovered the benefits of this position rather than planning for them.
Al Helder in this role was able to be a helpful, healing and stabilizing factor in a number of our established congregations. The longer he held the job, the more churches he served, the greater his in depth knowledge of classis grew and the more wisdom he had to offer not only the churches he served but also the young clergy he mentored.
When Al concluded his service as Classical Interim Pastor by taking a call to one of our congregations the position was not filled out of financial concerns.
While congregations without senior pastors were then more able to secure the services of CRC Transitional Ministers we have seen the loss of that stable, building center of wisdom in our classis. Classis authorized a committee to study resurrecting the position. While Classis at that time didn’t rehire a Classical Interim Pastor that committee noted not only the value of that position but also the need not only for regular access to Specialized Transitional Ministers but also the need of churches experiencing transitions while their senior staff is in place.
Classical Transitional Specialist
The besetting sin of Classis is neglect. As the Haitian proverb says “the village goat dies tied to the post.” I’d like to see my classis (and others) continue to experiment with staffing that addresses the constant need of local congregations for help with transitions.
The latest idea we’ve got is a Classical Transitional Specialist. Look at the Google Doc and let me know what you think either in the comment section on the document or on the blog (or on Voices or Facebook).