This meant to be my introduction as guide for the Classis forum on the Network. I am not sure how to accomplish this without sounding like a server at your local eatery, so here goes, “Hi, my name is Norman Visser and I will be your guide for the next while. Allow me to tell you something about myself.”
I am a Canadian who has twice lived in the US, once by my parents’ choice and once by my own. When I was in high school my family also spent time in Mexico, where my parents were training for missions. That gives me a very small claim to being a missionary kid, but most of my childhood was spent on farms in southern Ontario. I have degrees from Dordt College and Calvin Seminary, but the largest and most ornate diploma on my wall is an Associate Diploma in Agriculture (a two year program). I am married and am the father of three children; one is beginning graduate school, one is in college and the other is in high school. I am presently serving as pastor of the Ingersoll Christian Reformed Church and have also served congregations in Nova Scotia and South Dakota. In my down time I enjoy reading for pleasure, gardening, cooking and baking bread (without a machine).
Having served churches in three distinct areas of North America, I have also served in three different classes, and at least two classical cultures. I have carried out the tasks that are often given newly ordained pastors, and have also served on a campus ministry committee, on classis planning committees, and as a stated clerk. Unlike some previous guides, I am not a classis coach and have mostly been an observer of the classical renewal movement. I remember the promise of classical renewal, but just missed one of the early conferences. When I moved to a new classis I looked forward to seeing how renewal ideas had been implemented there. Along the way I have seen some ideas take root, and others wither away. Lately, I've wondered where the momentum has gone.
I have appreciated the contributions of Karl and Elizabeth who had this position before me, and I look forward to the appointment of a Classical Coach who will also add content to this page. I write as someone who just completed a term as chair of a Classical Ministry Committee. I see this blog as an opportunity to reflect on my experiences, to share what I have learned, and learn from the experiences of others. I believe that the Network works best as a pooling of ideas and I look forward to hearing your stories and comments.