A Regional Pastor’s Perspective at our recent Leadership Gathering
Sitting at the head table facing the delegates as Classis’ Stated Clerk gave me a particular perspective, but it has its limitations. One cannot daydream, minutes need to be accurate. One cannot wander away to secure the ever-so-tempting refreshments, that’s distracting. One cannot still acrimonious debate, that’s the chair’s responsibility.
But, I wasn’t asked to write a Stated Clerk’s perspective of our recent meeting. No day-dreaming needed. Chairman Ron Kool assured variety and constant motion. No daydreaming needed! Refreshments were tempting and got passed around, including suckers. It’s rather amusing to watch a senior pastor enjoying one while pretending to be engrossed in the budget. No heated debate broke out, so no demonstration of temperament or strongly-entrenched tradition or theology. So, what did I observe as regional pastor from my privileged position?
My initial observation was, “We’ve become casual, pastors, elders and deacons.” Often, being those who dressed more formally, pastors stood out. No more! Being those who often did all the talking, pastors too stood out. No more! But, looking at the pastors present, they remain male dominated. The elders and deacons showed a slight wavering, one might suggest. A female chaplain’s reporting on the Ministry Leadership Team displayed enthusiasm for its work. She was talking about seminarians, our future pastors! Change is in the air! …even in churches.
So, what was I seeing as regional pastor, focusing on the ministerial delegates? I knew one was missing because he had the flu. Pastors are human and get sick. One was missing because he’d flown home to be with aging parents. Pastors have parents, nearby or far away, with the consequent concerns. One minister looked weary, making me wonder as to the challenges in his life. Another one spoke of the need for providing pastoral nourishing and refreshing. Amen, for sure! Some present share the burden with other ordained staff, a real privilege. Most serve as the only pastor with support staff, also a blessing.
Experientially aware of the stresses of ministry as well as the all too-frequent pastoral separations as reflected by an oversight committee’s report, I viewed the pastors, both absent and present, with a sense of appreciation. They’re capable and deeply committed. They love people and are often likeable themselves. They do fall and they do fail. They’re like me. But, I know with certainty, God uses “cracked pots.” (II Corinthians 4:7)
Pastor George Vink
Minutes of Classis Grand Rapids South
Hillside Christian Reformed Church October 18, 2018 6:30 p.m.
WE GATHER TOGETHER-
- Arrival- Delegates presented their credentials to the clerk, put on name tags and picked up new and materials not previously distributed. First-time delegates signed the Covenant for Officebearers in the Christian Reformed Church indicating their agreement as delegates to Classis Grand Rapids South. (Pastors, elders, & deacons signed previously upon installation as officebearers.)
- Opening Devotions- Ron Kool, pastor of the hosting congregation led us in opening prayer and singing, integrating our worship with Pastor Amy Schenkel’s presentation and exercise from RESONATE demonstrating and encouraging a strategy for engaging our neighborhoods.
- Roll Call- Stated Clerk George Vink called the role as listed on the submitted credentials.
- Declaration- Upon completion of the roll call, chairperson Ron Kool declared Classis constituted and welcomed the delegates and guests. George Vink served as recording clerk.
- Approval of May 17, 2018 Minutes- Moved, supported and passed.
- Appointment of Committee(s)- Credentials: LaGrave’s Delegates, Michael Hoogeboom, Alanna Rynders and Chris Blanker
- Oversight Committee Report-Dr. Randy Blacketer– Ron Kool reported that the Blacketer membership and Ministerial Credentials have been accepted by Hillside CRC. Consequently, the Classical Interim Commitstee has replaced Pastor Kool and Elder Faber. Peter Jonker, Henry Schenkel, Mark Jansen and LeAnne Jansen have agreed to serve as the Oversight Committee.
NEW BUSINESS- Matters from the Classical Interim Committee
- Retirements-As requested by way of correspondence or credentials, Classis approved the retirements of the following pastors per C.O. Article 18. Reason: age
~Rev. Maurice De Young-Kelloggsville CRC Effective Date: April 1, 2019
~Rev. (Dr.) Michael Williams- LaGrave CRC Effective Date: July 1, 2018 (Retro-active)
- Safe Church-Referencing Synod 2018’s mandate, CIC member Ron Kool detailed the work being done to implement a classical team as well as having every congregation be aware of its responsibility in this area of concern. Names of those willing to serve were requested.
- Classis Meeting Date-Upon hearing rationale for moving the January date to a March one, Classis approved CIC’s recommendation with the understanding that the various teams of classis will provide regular reports to the Stated Clerk for distribution as a means of keeping churches informed as well as involved in the ministry. Two annual meetings instead of three can be supplemented by a meeting to be called as may be required.
The March 7, 2019 date allows time to forward the elected Synod delegates by the March 15th deadline.
11a Reports from Classical Support Ministry Individuals and Teams
Stated Clerk, George Vink supplemented his previously submitted written report. Motion passed to approve his work.
Classical Interim Committee- Chairman Paul reviewed its report and encouraged classis’ team leaders to seek replacements as needed with those gifted as well as having a vision for the specific work of each team. CIC’s work was approved.
Treasurer– Brenda Bosch distributed and highlighted the previously-distributed proposed budget. She noted that it is based on fewer members in Classis Grand Rapids South and “dipping into” reserves. Individual ministries and teams gave reports, videos and testimony supporting their inclusion. The Budget reflects a 1.5% increase in classical ministry shares, making the per member responsibility $30.39. The Budget was moved, supported and passed.
Credentials Committee-Mike Hoogeboom reported the retirements requested as well as Kelloggsville’s concern regarding “safety and abuse training for volunteers.” Its concern for classical action and possible online resourcing were referred to pending safe church committee being formed. Kelloggsville’s requesting a classical audit will be handled by the CIC.
11b Reports from Ministry Committees and Servants of Classis
Classical Ministry Team(CMT)-Dave Struyk reviewed its work during budget discussion.
Established Church Development(ECD)-Cityfest- Mike Hoogeboom reported on behalf of Peter Jonker. Over 400 churches and 1000’s of others cooperated and worked together to make an impact. Hundreds of “Commitments to Christ” were celebrated. Several ALPHA ministries are taking place while a focus on housing, education and racism will continue.
New Church Development (NCD)-Dave Struyk reported on continuing efforts to support various ministries within classis as well as a cooperation with Classis Grandville. He introduced Robert Garcia who is doing radio ministry and more, using Community’s facilities. Pastor Garcia shared his passion for reaching a Hispanic community.
Spiritual Growth and Prayer-Bob Boersma highlighted its work and encouraged churches to contact Prayer Coordinator, Felecia Bud. The Pastor’s Retreat video highlighted its importance.
Diaconal Ministries (DMC)-Sandy Nicely shared a video on the ministry of Streams of Hope during the budget presentation.
Ministry Leadership Team(MLT)- Emily VandenHeuvel reported that MLT will be working with the CRCNA Candidacy Committee and its 24 month candidacy process being implemented at Calvin Seminary. She’ll attend an information and training session on October 31st.
Church Visitors-Visit to Moline CRC previously distributed with agenda.
Mike Hoogeboom reported that Alger Park has installed their new pastor, Rev. Sam Gutierrez, in August.Curt Walters reported that Cutlerville East will install Rev. Ed Visser on November 18. Tim Buist from inSpirit will represent classis to welcome him. Ideal Park is beginning their search.
Regional Pastor– George Vink indicated that he’s initiating meetings with pastors and welcomes their initiative to have times of encouragement and discussions together. Classis expresses its concern for the health of its pastors in this and other ways. Ie Retreat
Prayer Coordinator—Video on the retreat was shown. Church prayer coordinators are urged to be in touch with Felecia Bud.
Communications Coordinator –Daniel Maat provided a colorful, explicit handout describing various activities of Classis as well as encouraging the regular viewing of OneFaithManyFaces.
Finance-Brenda Bosch presented the Proposed Budget. — Cf REPORTS-Treasurer 11a iii
11c. Reports related to our denominational relationship-
Council of Delegates-Dave Struyk reported on its October 2018 meeting in Chicago. Ministry shares and a possible different system were discussed. COD’s work is divided into five committees, reflecting our “Five Streams.” He served on BTGMI and Resonate “stream.” A detailed report will be sent to Stated Clerks who’ll distribute it to the congregations.
World Renew-No Report
Calvin Theological Seminary– Curt Walters highlighted the report distributed at the meeting.
Calvin College-No report
11d. Reports Sharing Ministry Information for Delegates
Friendship Ministries-Tom Van Wingeren handed out “Ten Ways to be a More Inclusive and Welcoming Adult Small Group” and also demonstrated reasons and ways of doing so.
Resonate-Amy Schenkel distributed a packet of material and led in the exercise of engaging our neighbors as part of opening devotions. —Cf WE GATHER TOGETHER 2
Chairman Ron Kool commended the host church for its hospitality and closed in prayer.
NEXT MEETING: MARCH 7, 2019 at IDEAL PARK CRC
Deadline for the March 7th Agenda: Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Respectfully submitted, George G. Vink, Stated Clerk