Classis meetings have undergone a massive experiment in the last several months. Last year, a few classes were exploring how they might use video for their meetings; this year, every classis has been looking into it (whether they ended up meeting by video or not).
Every experiment has a learning curve. We succeed in some areas, fail in others. The important thing is if we're learning and growing through it. The attached PDF (or link for Google Slides file) to this blog is a distillation of some collected learnings from these experiments. They reflect the experiences of people who were involved in planning & leading a variety of classis meetings, as well as the experience of some guests of these meetings (both host/guest perspectives are valuable).
A Few Additional Thoughts on the Future of Classis by Video
I have a pretty strong hunch that classes will not stop meeting by video. Having been forced into the experience, some will prefer it. But there is something to being together in person as well. I could see a classis adopting multiple meeting strategies, where some meetings happen by video and others they do in person. Perhaps even one in-person per year (doing things together that are best done together), with multiple shorter evening meetings throughout the year.
One way to think of meeting by video is to imagine video as simply a venue. Different venues are conducive to different experiences. Some classes intentionally meet at a retreat centre. Others in member churches, perhaps in the sanctuary or around tables in the fellowship hall or in a large multi-purpose room or maybe they move between places for different parts of the meeting. Each of these venues has its own unique characteristics and prompts different ways of showing up. Meeting by video is no different. Part of learning to meet by video will be to figure out this new venue's opportunities and costs to how we meet. It will take wisdom.
So, lastly, I'll just remind you of our Church Order (Art 39) which could offer a helpful way to ask questions of any venue we use. How does video, or a sanctuary, or a retreat centre, or anywhere else help you enter into the sort of space where your classis can be: ...a group of Christian Reformed churches that come together to seek, discern, and submit to God’s will; offer one another mutual support and accountability; find ways to live out a collective calling within their region; and allow for a healthy and sustained connection to the wider denomination."
I'd love to hear more from you in the comments below or by email: [email protected].