In May 2013, Classis California South (a regional group of churches) moved its meetings to Sunday afternoons and evenings to promote better attendance and allow more time for prayer and fellowship. The experiment has met with mixed results. At its last meeting, 13 of 19 organized churches were represented by at least one delegate.
Cor Pool, pastor of Hope Community CRC in Riverside, Calif., explained some of the pros and cons to the Sunday meetings. “One of the pros . . . is that it gives us more time for prayer and worship and an opportunity for some leadership training. Delegates normally don’t have to take time off from work to come, and it’s also possible for others to come who are interested in the work of classis,” he said. On the negative side, “Some of our churches have Sunday evening services so they are not able to attend or are not fully represented. For pastors . . . with Sunday preaching, it does make for a busy day.”
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Sunday meetings is that three churches in Las Vegas find it very difficult to attend; the heavy freeway traffic makes for a very long drive to and from California on Sunday afternoons.
“It is much more difficult for me now that Classis has moved to Sundays,” said Steve Wunderink, pastor of Grace Valley CRC in Las Vegas. “I miss the time with my fellow elders and pastors. It was a time we could touch base as well as attend to business. I also would love to represent our classis on committees or at synod, but I am not known or seemingly unavailable.”
Will Verhoef, who serves as a pastor at The River CRC in Redlands, Calif., and as the clerk of Classis California South, explained that the classis executive team is in the initial stages of a conversation about trying something else.
“We struggle to make classis meetings the kind of inspirational, attractive, and excellent events that would draw churches. I’m not sure we are in a good place yet,” Verhoef concluded.