What is a Classis?

A Classis in the Christian Reformed Denomination is a group of congregations who are associated together for the purpose of helping each other with their ministries and outreach programs. Churches in a classis are generally in the same geographical area. There are 48 classes in the CRC, 11 in Canada and 36 in the United States, and one with congregations on both sides of the border. There are five Classes that cover the Grand Rapids area: Classis Grandville; Classis Grand Rapids North, Classis Grand Rapids East, Classis Thornapple and Classis Grand Rapids South.

What is Classis Grand Rapids South?

Classis Grand Rapids South is a group of Christian Reformed churches who are committed to:

  • bringing honor and glory to God
  • Making and growing disciples for Jesus Christ
  • And fostering a sense of mutual understanding and community among our congregations

Classis Grand Rapids South includes 16 congregations and covers an area of Grand Rapids stretching from our Northern most congregation in downtown Grand Rapids to the Southern-most congregation in Wayland Michigan. Our Classis includes churches ministering in a variety of settings—from urban settings to rural settings (see the map below). We also vary in size—from churches with 75 members to a church with over 1,800 members! Even though we vary quite a bit, there is one thing that binds us together—our faith in Jesus Christ. We may have many faces, but we share one faith.

Classis Strategic Vision

At the May 2011 Classis meeting, a Classical Vision was approved. This Classical Vision (or long range plan) has the purpose of helping churches in our classis, individually but even more so together, grow in spiritual and numerical maturity.

Here is an overview of the 5 key ministry areas:


    We wish to support each Classis church with the resources and tools necessary to grow.


    We desire to have a broad vision for Classis in terms of churches encouraging one another, sharing with each other, and collaborating together.


    We believe our ministry capacity and impact can be significantly increased through partnerships. We believe partnering at a local congregational level provides significant outlet for congregational member ministry and joy.


    We desire for our pastors and their families to be holistically strong and healthy with the resources to be a life-long learner.


    The Church Order describes the existence of classis for both administrative/polity and ministry. Contemporary ministry challenges seem to demand the reconsideration of some of the traditional functions of the classis, finding a helpful mix of polity and mission in order to make the classis leadership gatherings a blessing.

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