Classis - An Extended Family

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The local church's need for classes and the denomination is a bit like a believing family's need for a congregation. A believing family should not just be content with worshiping and studying together, they need a church to attend, a gathering of other believers where they can worship, study, learn and hold each other accountable together. The same is true for churches. It might be tempting to think that a congregation only needs those members within it, but just as an individual family needs to meet with other believers, so churches need to be in fellowship and communion with other churches, learning, growing, worshiping and holding each other accountable. We need each other and we need other churches who hold to the same doctrine and teaching so that we can figure out what it means to live out God's mission in our own contexts.

Classis is that extended family for our churches.  I don't think this means that everyone in the pew needs to be directly involved in classis but the local church as a whole needs other churches.  Are our classes being the type of extended family we all need?  What could we be doing better?

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A classis is like some members of your extended family.   You want to see them, but not too often, and not too long.   (just kidding.... maybe).   

A classis is quite different however from a congregation.   The congregation's primary purpose is to worship together.   Then it also includes other activities, but many of those other activities might also be done with members of other churches including members of other denominations.   For example, CRWRC and Mennonite central committee people working together, or interdenominational christian schools, or walk-for-life, christian radio, senior homes services, etc.  

Classis main purpose is not to worship together, although that sometimes happens too.   Main purpose for Classis is to find ways for denominational churches to work together and provide advice and counsel and admonition to each other when needed, and for some church planting efforts(some can also be done by local churches alone).   Making classis an extended family will divert from the local effort;  classis is not  a larger congregation; it is something quite different.    It has representation rather than participation.   (Maybe its more like a local AA group.   just kidding...maybe). 

Today I had a discussion with a volunteer from a Lutheran church close to where I live. This church and the nearest CRC church as well as a Baptist church are working at Mosaic "home" to help homeless or near homeless people. She expressed the wish to have all the Christians come to one church. A lot less overhead, making such projects a bit easier to do.

In the west end of the city a number of different churches (CRC among them) also work together to help homeless people.

Each local project may not need to have the 'same doctrine and teaching'.   Educational institutions and CLAC all have different mandates that may or may not match each church's doctrine and teaching.