If you are a first-time delegate, we’re glad you’re coming! This page is set up with you in mind, but also to act as a resource to others who have been before.
Below are some questions that you might have. If you have more, please email email@example.com or you can comment at the bottom of this page.
Why are we meeting in the first place?
To encourage, support, hold accountable, do ministry together, and more. Each church sends two delegates to the meeting.
What does it mean to be a delegate?
It means that your council has invested in you the full authority to make decisions on their behalf. Your job as a delegate isn’t necessarily to vote as a representative of your church (although it’s good to know how the members lean on an issue), but to come to the meeting ready to discuss and decide. Because the church has invested in you the authority to make decisions on their behalf, what we decide together as a regional group of churches is considered the official decision of all our local churches.
What do I need to bring?
- Classis Credentials: this is the document that your councils signs, giving you the authority to be there as a delegate.
- Classis Expense Cheque: There is a per-member rate set by classis to cover the cost of the meetings and some of the ongoing work of the classis in between meetings. Churches are asked to bring an expense cheque to each meeting (half the annual total to each meeting).
- Agenda & Addenda. You should have access to them here on this website, or else you should have received them from your council clerk. Either way, be familiar with the agenda and bring it along.
- Passport: if you’re traveling across the border.
How does lodging work?
The classis clerk takes care of arranging lodging. You should receive some communication from him as the meeting comes closer, to ensure your name is registered at the hotel. Usually, you will be sharing a room with the other delegate from your church or, if you are the only delegate, you are put into a room with someone else. If you would prefer to have your own room, you will be expected to pay for the extra amount.
Lodging is covered for Sunday night and Monday night. Many people who live closer by will simply arrive on Monday morning, but if arriving on Sunday works best for your travel arrangements, then you are welcome to come then.
Who pays for my travel?
The Classis. The Classis Expense Voucher is available on the Documents page. Each church pays a per-member amount to the Classis, and the Classis treasurer writes a cheque to those seeking reimbursement. This includes lodging, meals, and mileage. If you are Canadian, you will be reimbursed in Canadian funds. If American, American funds.
What’s the schedule look like?
We meet from Monday-Tuesday.
On Monday, we usually start off at 1pm CT with a pre-classis seminar. These seminars cover a wide variety of topics and are used as an equipping session for churches. After dinner, we have a time of worship, sharing, and prayer, where various churches within our classis will speak about what has been happening so we know better how to pray for each other.
On Tuesday, we meet from 8am CT until about 5pm CT (or earlier, if the agenda allows). This is more of the business side of Classis, where we hear reports and make decisions based on the agenda that was sent out prior to the meeting.
How do I get a copy of the Agenda?
Ask the clerk of your local council, who should have received a copy of the agenda to distribute to the council. Otherwise, look at the “Meetings” page on this website, where there should be a link to documents including the agenda. Also, you should know that usually there is an “Addenda to the Agenda” which includes material that did not make it to the clerk on time to be included in the main agenda. So make sure by the time you come to the meeting you have both the Agenda and the Addenda!
Who runs the meeting?
At each meeting, there are a President and a Vice-President who were elected at the previous meeting. The CIC usually presents a nomination of four people at each meeting, and the one with the most votes will be the is the President and the second most votes will be the Vice-President at the following meeting. If you are open to having your name on the list for one of these positions, contact the CIC.
Who are some of the “people” of Classis that I might hear about?
- Clerk: Rev. Henry Gunnink serves as the Classis clerk. He oversees the administrative wing and keeps things organized. Between meetings, he responds to phone calls, distributes information, and acts as a resource to churches. He also organizes the meetings including lodging, sets up the agenda, and records minutes.
- Treasurer: Mr. Wayne Tobak is our Classis treasurer and sits on the Finance Committee. He oversees all the money coming in and going out on a day-to-day basis. At the September meeting, he presents the Finance Committee’s budget for the following year.
- Synodical Deputies: These are people that are appointed by Synod (the annual general assembly of the whole denomination) to oversee the work of the Classis in matters that effect the work of the church beyond just our region. For example, they are present when we examine someone who is a candidate to become a minister in the CRC and is called to one of our local churches. They come to be a resource and a measure of accountability so we do things well.
- CIC (Classis Interim Committee): they usually come with a fairly substantial report on their work that includes a list of recommendations to Classis.
- Ministry Partners: There are a number of ministries that we financially support as a Classis, and we invite leaders in those ministries to come and report to our classis on a regular basis.
What happens after the meeting?
You go home and forget what happened. (Ok, hopefully not. Seriously, though, it happens too often that those who go to Classis don’t take the chance to share what they learned while at the meeting.)
So go home, but take the experience with you. Consider some different ways of letting the council and congregation know what Classis was all about, whether it be asking for a few moments in a worship service, creating a short report for your bulletin, or something else altogether.