Is classis Church?
The Word is not preached there. Well, maybe it is.
The Sacraments are not served there. Well, maybe sometimes.
Discipline is not carried out there. Hmmm…. Maybe it is after all.
I know there are plenty of words – and often they are handmaidens of the Word.
Even if there’s no bread or wine, there’s surely Communion.
And we hold each other accountable for how we live out our faith in the structures and procedures.
Classis is an expression of the Body of Christ just as surely as a Consistory meeting is. Isn’t it? And our ultimate purpose there is to help each other and our congregations to be the image bearers Christ calls us to be. We pray and worship and discern and decide. We ask the Spirit to open the Word to us, and to lead us as we do the Church’s work. We make budgets, and plans, and decisions, and appointments – all in the service of Jesus, whose body we are.
So I don’t think it’s out of line to expect that the classis is a place where nurture and formation happens. Mission happens. God’s people pray and plan and allocate resources and look for fruit. And try to do it better next time. The Spirit is at work. “If we take that Presence seriously, the organizational and managerial implications are truly awesome.” (Wheel Within the Wheel, R.G. Hutcheson, Jr. 1979, p. 11)
What ARE the “organizational and managerial implications”? At the very least we will all acknowledge that the power is not ours; it’s His. We will act as servants; we will be among each other as ones who serve. We will work in responsive obedience. Joy and peace will increase; fear and conflict will decrease. We will ask for guidance in decision making and we will practice to get better and better at listening for that guidance together and obeying in unity. Christ-like classis meetings! Too much to expect? I think it’s the road to renewal. What’s been your experience?