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“Farmers don’t plant seeds in the barn.” The white-haired pastor paused in the front of the sanctuary, letting the metaphor of evangelism and the church sink in. This simple truth struck a chord for Lynn Dornbush, a youth leader at Jamestown Christian Reformed Church in Hudsonville, Mich. “I loved his point, especially coming from a farming community,” she said.

The pastor was John De Vries, founder of Mission India, and the event was the annual Fall Leadership Kickoff at Graafschaap Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. More than 200 pastors, elders, deacons, and other church members from three West Michigan classes (regional groups of churches) came to the evening event to help kick off the church year.

Participants worshiped, shared ideas and inspiration during seminars, and enjoyed a brief time of fellowship.

“I like to keep learning and growing, so I like to attend these kinds of events,” said Stephanie Walters, a member of Noordeloos CRC in Holland. Seminar topics ran the gamut from discipleship, worship, and film to personal finance and church prayer ministry.

Initially started as an educational component for Classis Holland meetings, the event has grown into an annual gathering that is open not only to pastors and officebearers in the classis but to all members of churches in the Holland, Zeeland, and Georgetown classes, representing over 70 congregations.

The aim of the event is to inspire, train, and challenge church leaders, said Milton Doornbos, ministries coordinator for Classis Holland. “It’s a sheer delight, and I’m so glad that these three classes can join together,” he said. “It broadens our perspective and it broadens our feelings for each other.”

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