Last week Tuesday at the winter classis meeting, the Board asked all people who were there a single question: How can we help? Almost 6 years ago, a team of classis leaders made a choice to focus our classis less on governance and more on “encouraging, empowering and equipping local congregations.” I asked a person on that guiding team at that time if this meeting felt like that vision. That person affirmed that meetings filled with support for emerging leaders, like Linda and Jose, and utilized to build relationships was certainly pretty close to their vision.
So, after you talked; what did we hear? From the pastoral side of the responses, we received a single strong theme. Keep (continue) helping us with the resources and support to lead the congregations we serve.
It’s obvious the pastors in Zeeland Classis are deeply engaged with the congregations they serve. The congregations in turn are looking to pastoral and staff leadership for helpful conversations as we approach General Synod 2020. The responses clarified for us where we fit in that picture. Classis staff is being asked to take the time to help fill the gaps. Pastors in local congregations are providing leadership for tremendous ministries of love, encouragement, and discipleship in the day to day life of the church. When a longer process – like Vision 2020 – occurs, it’s hard to carve out the time to put out an extra communication or lead an extra meeting or an extra whatever. So, what seemed clear is that classis is being encouraged by the pastors to keep providing resources – in person and through our dropbox files – to help churches as we navigate this time.
On the bottom of the “Welcome to Your Week” email, you’ll find four blue buttons that link you to classis resources. There is a link that takes you directly to all of our meeting minutes. There is another link that opens up a file of resources which includes a directory for classis members, financials, annual reporting and more. There is another link that leads you directly to resources related to Vision 2020. When you’re looking for information, scroll down to the bottom of Welcome to Your Week or Elder Monthly and click on the blue buttons at the bottom.
As you seek out resources, we’re going to keep adding resources. With the Board’s permission, we are going to create communications for you to use. We know that many of our congregations still put out a printed newsletter as well as utilizing email communications. These communications are for your use in your congregational communication. Tweak them, use them as source information for your own writing, use them as they are or don’t use them at all. It’s your call. Our call is to “encourage, empower and equip” you to shepherd the people whom God is bringing to you.
My final thought this week is this. As we head into the next five months, take some time this week to pray for each other. Pray for our health. Pray for congregational leaders. Pray for our spiritual antenna to be strong. Pray for us to be people of grace and truth.