Classis is the front line for leadership development, deployment and support for the CRC yet most classes struggle with consistency and follow-through with basic tasks.
How does your classis create the space for relational, gospel community for it leaders?
For whatever reason we are in a cultural spot where the greater witness seems to need to be embodied in a local church and the Christian voice needs speak from a local church. What does this mean for your classis?
It's not easy to take a picture of a classis. Both Rev. Devries and Rev. Boot spoke about how this project is helping both denominations move closer together, and this I celebrate. But I think it's also important to see how in many ways classis is a better initial level in which to pursue practical collaboration and unity.
We have no titles, hats or golden staffs in the CRC, but don't be fooled, the CRC has bishops and I praise God for them. I think we might benefit from chilling a bit on our egalitarian and libertarian culture and find ways to recognize how to employ this natural dynamic of leadership for the benefit of the church.
In my brief time as guide for the Classis network I’ve encouraged its readers to give voice to the frustration and angst I often hear about Classis in the CRC. A comment that’s been repeated both on and off line seems to reflect the perception that Classis is often resistant to influence and leadership. I very much imagine that observation to be true.
Is your classis merely perfunctory? Is it dying like the village goat tied to the post? Are a few pastor/roosters using classis to play pecking order games? Is classis about some old men talking about "glory days" long gone? Tell your favorite classis horror story (no names please) or what you did to fix it.
The denominational structure is a drama queen that too often distracts Synod from where its focus should be. Let's trying thinking outside the box. What if we got Synod out of the agency management business? Could shifting resources from the denominational to the classical level better serve the church by reinvesting in local ministry? Would local ministry flourish if your classical budget were two to three times its current size?
Classis is sometimes viewed as a sort of forgotten middle child, but it is really a foundational structure the value of which I don't think we have fully explored. When denomination is "too big", and one classis is "too small", can inter-classical partnerships fit "just right"?
Why do I want to blog about classis? I believe that the continued development of classis will be key for the vitalization of the CRCNA. I think classis is the least supported, most neglected, level of our three tiered system of church structure. I think investment in classis as a tool offers some of the greatest potential
No more "exceptional gift" entry for Ministers of the Word (Article 7) by Classis. In 2010 Synod discouraged affinity classes. In 2011 Synod didn't like ratifying confessional changes at Classis. It's not difficult to see within these debates the tension between uniformity and diversity, between trust and control.
Reformed polity locates authority in three different assemblies: the local council, the synod and the classis. It is my assertion that the classis is the least valued, the most neglected, the most poorly resourced and the least utilized level of the three.