Leaders from Christian Reformed classes (regional groups of churches) met this month to explore the purpose and practice of classis. The meeting, which involved Classes Atlantic North, Pacific Northwest, Heartland, and Northern Michigan, was facilitated by denominational Classis Renewal Coordinator Rev. Al Postma. It is one of the pilot projects he and the Classis Renewal Group have been working on since his hiring last August.
Postma is building relationships with leaders in all 48 classes, “ensuring that the classis leaders are resourced and equipped and feel like they have the capacity to do what they need to do.” This gathering intentionally welcomed leaders who are engaged in renewal efforts though not already participating in denominational initiatives. Postma is targeting a selection of regions in order to foster what he called “cross pollination.”
The meeting, which was funded by the denomination, “is not meant to be the end of a conversation,” Postma said. Rather, he expects to continue hearing from these four classes “to see if the people who were there were able to find ways to integrate their [new] understandings in their own classis setting.”
One leader, Rev. Kevin Muyskens, from Immanuel CRC in Sheldon, Iowa, who serves as program coordinator for Classis Heartland, said he has several planned next steps: “Focus on celebration; prepare the delegates for the practice of discernment and deliberation at classis; write and distribute a post-classis evaluation/feedback mechanism; [and] plan classis meetings with the one-time attendees as the most important delegates.”
Muyskens said he appreciated learning from others’ experience. “We saw four significantly different ways of carrying out classis meetings. We saw the difficulties faced by the various classes and their ingenuity in seeking to deal with them. It was good to be able to discuss with the other delegates why and how they did what they did.”
The summit ran from May 1 to 3 at Elmhurst (Ill.) CRC.