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Have you ever thought of what 5 words you would use to describe your classis? Encouraging? Supportive? Enjoyable? Helpful? Stimulating? Or how about slow, frustrating, boring, irrelevant, sclerotic?

It does delight me when I hear people talking about their classis meetings as enjoyable, fresh, and useful. And that’s what set me to wondering what factors indicate a classis that’s ripe for change. I wanted to see if I could identify the conditions that make change at the classis level likely. What am I learning? I started sharing what I THINK I’m learning in these blogs. Take a look. I’m continuing the list here, hoping to provoke someone out there to comment. Surely there are classis leaders (like you) who know good stories that can help us identify the conditions that stimulate change.

Here’s some more of my list. What do you think?

5 - Patient, persistent leadership - Be patient; give yourself time. Some specific steps can be accomplished in months; but the change process will (should) take years, and maybe never end. Expect to use your coach actively for 2-4 years, and maybe more or less beyond that depending on your needs and the coach’s areas of competence and availability.

6 - Follow-thru - Small and modest changes, carried out thoroughly and reviewed frequently without defensiveness, will accumulate into large and more lasting change.

7 - Diversity -  I don’t know whether this is a chicken or an egg, but I think healthy classes grow in diversity – age, experience, race, type of congregation, leadership styles, mix of established and new congregations, gender, office…. The more diversity the more vitality (assuming that nurturing fellowship is a priority).

Remember, I’m not talking about the benchmarks of a classis already in the change process. That’s a different list, or maybe not. What I’m after is identifying the pre-conditions – what helps get the classis on the journey of change? What do you think? What have you learned about healthy change in YOUR journey at classis?

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