Classis Renewal is not optional. If it ever was, it isn’t any longer. Why? Change in structure and leadership is gaining so much momentum in the CRC, classis can’t escape the turbulence (or the Spirit’s movement).
No matter what CRCNA document you read lately about strategic thinking, restructuring, planning, or re-visioning, and no matter what is the source of the document, you will likely find classis mentioned. We are at the point of recognizing that change must encompass the classis. And probably not incremental change either. It’ll be more uncomfortable than that! Perhaps a classis can choose to be reactive rather than proactive, or passive resisters rather than active participants, but choosing not to change is no longer possible.
Here’s the thing – classis is naturally a place of connections among congregations, and between congregations and the denomination. It’s also a place of potential dialog, collaboration, and communication. OK, I said potentially. But many classes are already practicing! No one’s perfect, but the classes that have gone through a thoughtful and deliberate renewal process are modeling something vitally important – ecclesiastical renewal.
Take a look – leadership steps forward, collaboratively. Prayer and worship and spiritual discernment about decision making all increase. There’s greater efficiency through greater delegation, and more focus on continuing education, and on ministry opportunities. Congregational leaders are encouraged and nourished instead of drained, and congregations are supported instead of discouraged. Yes, these things are happening in classes.
Will agencies need to learn how to better relate with and through classes? Yes. Will we need to take a fresh look at classical geography? Yes. Will we need to increase our skills at disagreeing creatively and productively? Yes. Will we need to find new ways to nurture and support leaders and congregations through the renewal process and beyond? YES! But renewal is already well underway at the classis level. (click here to get a taste of the changes)
Change is happening. It’s not optional. The Holy Spirit is at work in the CRC and we need to listen –together- and prayerfully discern, and joyfully obey. The classis is a key point of renewal in the denomination. There are neighboring classes who can help you. There is the Classis Renewal Ministry Team to advise and provide resources. There are best practices that we can learn from.
What do you say, classis leaders, are you looking for where God is leading us together, watching for the signals and the signposts? My goodness, seems like they’re popping up everywhere! Seen any lately?