I was told that the synod and the classis don’t really exist. These are not organizations that exist over time; they were not intended to become pieces of bureaucracy. They only exist when they are in session. They are decision making bodies that are convened to do specific business, and then they go out of existence until the next one happens.
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Here's an amazing story of transformation in one powerful paragraph! Stan Workman of Classis SEUS (no relation to the Doctor) wrote a testimony about his peer group’s experience and its effect on his classis. What’s so great is how many different people connected and
We're not alone in focusing on congregational health. What's not so clear is how "middle judicatories" like the classis figure in. I can't help but wonder - is the classis a potential key as we try to balance all the organizational dynamics we're trying to address?
What are the factors that can really help a classis experience positive change? I’ll be the first to say I’m no expert, but I’d like to put forth a few thoughts for discussion. OK, I know you’re going to ask, “Yes, but what IS a healthy classis?” What are its “essential” characteristics? How do you get there?
One of the best kept secrets about the CRC’s life as a denomination is that exciting changes are percolating at the classical level. We take it for granted that agencies are thriving and doing effective work. But exciting change at the classical level? Have you heard any recent buzz about that?
Would you agree that denominational leaders are sending a confused message to the church regarding the need for change? Could you imagine that not only are we experiencing a decline in numbers, but that church members are experiencing such poor quality of community life that it's difficult to invite new people in?
Strong effective congregational leadership is not necessarily the best predictor of strong effective classis leadership. Great teachers don’t always make great principals.
I had an English prof who threatened the class with sarcastic feedback on the essays we wrote for him. He said, “If I ever write the word ‘bland’ in the margin of your paper, you’ll know you’ve just received the worst comment that I could give you.” I guess he meant that any writing that was lively , no matter how poor, was better than writing that was boring and colorless. Sort of like being luke-warm and spat out.
Research on thousands of members in hundreds of churches suggests that a little over half of the membership is satisfied overall with what’s happening in their church. Which organization is best positioned to help clergy and church boards develop into healthy transformational congregations? Classis.
The Church Order wants to avoid the dangers associated with people who stay in their leadership role too long. I applaud that. Organizations get into ruts, things go stale, power-hungry people hold onto power, we are led by the willing instead of the capable, innovation becomes rare, vision dims, and who knows what else could befall us when we keep leaders in place too long.
Maybe it’s a little risky to talk so crassly about money, but unless we get real about how we use the resources God gives us, we’ll waste money, increase frustration, and continue to fade as a denomination.
When I ran across this story, I just KNEW I had to share it with Network readers! It’s great. Is it about classis? Maybe not so much. (But think what might have happened if the whole classis had passionately supported this leader!)
We need to talk! Talk as never before, talk as family, bound together across our differences by His blood and Spirit and love. We need to relearn to speak the truth in love, to engage each other with patience, with good listening, with thoughtful discernment, with humor, with...
Recently I was encouraged to read Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit, a book I probably would not have picked up on my own. The title set off my warning bells. Exactly why that is, I’m not even sure I know myself. Somehow I feared gimmickry or formula or an unspiritual pragmatism. But I read it, and I want to recommend it...
The power of classis - the strategic intersection between congregations and denomination. If you’ve been reading the CLASSIS network, you’ve already heard the invitation to consider the vital importance of classis renewal. So why wouldn’t it be one of the places we’d expect the Holy Spirit to be at work reforming the CRC? A few extra minutes designed to catch the breeze wouldn’t be amiss, right?
This is a time of significant questioning in the CRC – why are we shrinking so fast? What should we do? What structures do we need? What kind of leadership? What vision? Are there resources for a sustainable and robust future? Are we at risk of paralysis of polarization? We need to do some heavy discernment together.
Conversations about change in the structure, culture, and leadership of the CRC are more and more beginning to recognize the strategic position and importance of classis. This marks a change in how we are thinking about the denomination's future. It's where change and church connect! Classis renewal is coming of age!