A regional group of Christian Reformed churches in Grand Rapids, Mich., celebrated ministries and church partnerships instead of hosting a regular classis meeting this fall.
Classis Grand Rapids South did not conduct any official business at its meeting, but instead highlighted two current classical partnerships and five partnership opportunities.
“The more we know about the opportunities that are out there, the more we can take advantage of partnering with other people,” explained Linda Howe, a ministry leader who attended from Community CRC in Wyoming, Mich.
“The intention was to show the possibilities of partnership. It was a celebration meeting—celebrating what happens when we partner together as churches,” said Rev. Randy Ledeboer from inSpirit CRC, a church plant in Byron Center, Mich.
The classis is working to shift its focus from being governance- or business-oriented to becoming more ministry-oriented.
“Yes, there’s the business part that has to be handled, but it’s about people and it’s about ministry and it’s about growth,” said Ledeboer.
The celebration included a time of worship, prayer for churches, and small group discussion questions.
Howe said she was thankful “to listen to what people have accomplished and realize I don’t need a lot of resources to get big results.”
Fourteen of the 18 churches in the classis were represented at the gathering. About half of those who attended were pastors and elders, while half were volunteer leaders.
“We presented several ministry stories, and we celebrated those stories, but I think in all of that was a challenge to everybody: What’s their story? How are they partnering?” said Ledeboer.
The classis plans to host a similar event each fall and to share about two ministries at each regular classis meeting.
“It created awareness of what we’re doing, and it challenged others to look at their part of what are they doing,” said Ledeboer. “There was a challenge to even bigger partnerships, more ministry, [more] working together.”