Classis, the meeting we love to loath. As an agency we are expected to report to Classes, but we’re often asked to please keep it short so Classis can get out as soon as possible. This mixed message makes me wonder whether or not the role of the Classis is still relevant. Classes serve an important role when it comes to issues like credentialing leaders, matters of discipline, and general matters of church polity. Yet, at a denominational level I find that there is something missing when it comes to working effectively together as a ministry system. I think that what is missing is connectivity, and Classis has the potential to provide it. .
For more than twenty years, the Classis Renewal Ministry Team has been working to flesh out this potential by helping Classes look at their critical ministry-planning function. Classes have responded with mixed success: many have developed a ministry council that brings diaconal and home mission functions together; some have increased connectivity so that there are high levels of mutual care and concern. But, as a denomination, we continue to fall short of the flourishing we long for. What is still needed?
Here are some thoughts:
- Invite relevant agencies of the CRC into a prayer and planning retreat. Make this an event where we pray and discern together where God is moving, and how He wants to build on what He is already doing.
- As part of this retreat, ask explore how to coordinate effectively so that energy evident at national and international levels connects effectively with exciting areas of ministry at the local and regional/Classis level.
- Come together as Classes and CRC agencies at national events in refreshing ways, to pray together, learn from each other, and inspire each other for the sake of God’s kingdom purposes.
Classis is the key link that connects ministry between the local and national levels. If it does not fulfill this role, then alternative structures will begin to fill the void. This defuses the natural energy of ministry and disconnects governance from it. Classis can fix that.
Start the conversation: What is needed to help classes reach their full potential?