Who is Paul Vander Klay and What's He Hoping to Do?


Two good questions.

My father was a pioneer in CRC urban ministry and I absorbed much from my years growing up in Paterson. I was educated at Eastern Christian in New Jersey, Calvin College and Seminary. I have served Christian Reformed World Missions in the Dominican Republic and now pastor the Living Stones CRC in Sacramento California. The CRC has given me much and I want to be able to give back.

Why do I want to blog about classis? In Sacramento, California we’ve been aggressively planting churches. I believe planting churches is the best way the CRC can continue to engage our North American context and I have seen firsthand how vital a role Classis Central California has been to this effort. I believe that our classis has been abnormally blessed with wise and godly leadership and when classis works well it is an amazing asset for the work of the church.

I believe that the continued development of classis will be key for the vitalization of the CRCNA. The church faces numerous challenges in North America and the CRC has its share. I think classis is the least supported, most neglected, level of our three tiered system of church structure. I think investment in classis as a tool offers some of the greatest potential rewards for helping the CRC proclaim the end of the age of decay, as we bear witness to both the cross and the resurrection in our communities.

J.I. Packer wrote about CS Lewis said this:

To make ordinary people think about historic Christianity, and to see and feel the strength and attraction of the case for it, was Lewis’s goal throughout. All through his writings runs the sense that moderns have ceased to think about life and reality in a serious way and have settled instead for mindless drift with the crowd, or blind trust in technology, or the Athenian frivolity of always chasing new ideas, or the nihilism of knee-jerk negativism toward everything in the past. The Christian spokesman's first task, as Lewis saw it, is to put all this into reverse and get folk thinking again.

I’d like to do what I can to get us all thinking about classis. Networks and partnerships have always been the way the church has grown in numbers and influence. Classis is a vital tool in strengthening the fabric of this vital community of Christ for which all creation will be remade.

What that means is that I cannot do this alone. I want to start conversations that get us thinking, trying new things, revisiting old things, praying hard and learning to love each other. Post comments, positive or negative. Tweet posts that you find helpful or post them on your Facebook page. It is my experience that there are few barriers to access your classis whether you are a pastor or a lay person. Listen to the admonitions of Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus: “take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” and then come back and tell us about it.  

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Classis has some potential for partnerships, cooperation.  The less it tries to impose its "authority", and the more it works in unity and partnerships and cooperation to achieve its objectives such as church planting, the more effective it will be. 

One example, it should not encourage a church to be called an "emerging church for ten years.  After four years, it is a church, or it is not there.  (generally).  IMHO