News from Ripon

Classis is an ecclesiastical gathering of a region of churches. It is considered a middle-judicatory by those who know of such things. People usually yawn or cringe about classis meetings, but I love these gatherings. I especially loved going to the one for Classis Central California. Or maybe I should say I love the two classes that met as one.

I have recently returned from a joint meeting of Classis Central California for the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA). These two classes with the same name have been divided by denomination, but came together for a training session on Organic Outreach by Kevin Harney, a joint worship service where both Rev. Joel Boot, Executive Director of the CRC, and Rev. Tom DeVries, General Secretary of the RCA preached and a session where President Tim Brown of Western Seminary, Dr. Scot Sherman of Newbigin House of Studies and I spoke about theological education. It all happened in Ripon, California.

(In another highlight, Jackie and I also visited an almond farm for the very first time thanks to Rick and Margie Winters. I was also indoctrinated on how to pronounce -almond!).

I have been at a number of gatherings where RCA and CRC leaders gather together. I know there are concerns about what this may mean for the future, but here is what I do know. This is not about the M word – merger. It is about two other M words – Movement and Mission. God is at work and God is at work before us.

Testimony was given at this joint gathering at how God is breaking down barriers and building bridges. Ministry opportunities are being explored where the witness of the gospel will be spread by working together.

As we face the future together, I will especially remember two key phrases that will help me navigate that future. Rev. Joel Boot preached about the “Urgency of the Mission” and Rev. Tom DeVries preached about the “Breadth of the Kingdom.”

Urgency. When there is a world that is dying – I believe Jesus is calling us all into the mission field. Breadth. When we even have a heart beat of considering how this affects “my” world – I believe Jesus will remind us that it is His Kingdom that will reign.

I do not know the future, but I do know that Aslan is on the move!

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