As a general rule, the pastors of our churches in Classis West look forward to a meeting of Classis. If the great distance between our churches can be called a chasm to fellowship, the meetings of Classis are the bridge. Some of our colleagues we have not seen in the six months since our last meeting!
Two factors heightened our anticipation for the meeting of Classis West on September 24, 2014, at Peace PRC, in Lansing, IL.
The first was the scheduling of an officebearers conference on Tuesday, September 23. This meant that we had an opportunity for intellectual/spiritual stimulation, even more time for fellowship with our colleagues in the west, and the ability to see other ministers from the east, as well as the professors and students from our seminary.
The keynote speaker was Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma, who emphasized the importance of developing our preaching beyond seminary, and suggested some ways to do so. Prof. Dykstra spoke on “The Art of Making Christ- Centered Sermons, with Biblical Illustrations.” Prof. Gritters set forth the necessity of making applications in the sermons, and gave some templates to help in that. Prof. Cammenga concluded the day by speaking on “The Elders’ Supervision of the Preaching.”
The second joyful event of this meeting was the examination of Mr. Joshua Engelsma, who had accepted the call to be pastor of Doon PRC. Following the prescribed custom in Classis West, Peace PRC’s consistory called an official public worship service for Tuesday evening, at which Mr. Engelsma preached his specimen sermon. On Wednesday he was examined in the areas of the six loci of Reformed doctrine, knowledge of Scripture, knowledge of the confessions, controversy, and practica. Classis West, with the concurrence of the synodical deputies from Classis East, unanimously approved his examination and advised Doon PRC to ordain him to the ministry. Doon intends to do this at a special worship service on October 3.
Chairing this meeting of Classis for the first time was Rev. Erik Guichelaar, who proved himself capable. The four elders who had never before been delegated to Classis signed Classis West’s copy of the Formula of Subscription in the presence of the Classis.
All of the other work of Classis was routine, and Classis adjourned before midafternoon. The expenses of this meeting totaled $10,032.05. Classis is scheduled to meet next on March 4, 2015, at Doon PRC.
I’m looking forward to it!
Rev. Douglas Kuiper, Stated Clerk