“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:16-18)
These are the words which we have been using at Zion Reformed this year as we conduct family visitation; and as I reflect on the state of the church in South Central Classis, I am reminded of these exhortations of the Apostle Paul. The state of our Classis has been relatively peaceful in this past year, and we praise God for granting this blessing. Living peaceably with all men is a daunting task–a task which requires purposeful humility as we consider the needs of one another above our own desires.
Our statistical reports show a small increase in membership within our Classis by three persons. In this, we can see that the Lord is continuing to nurture His church, and we have been blessed with a number of covenant children (29) as well as professions of faith (25). It is a time of sorrow as we witness the death of fellow members; this past year our Classis lost ten members by death. Although we mourn the loss to the church militant, we rejoice as they have joined that church triumphant.
It was a joy to read the parochial reports for this past year, as we witness the guiding hand of our gracious Lord leading His church. We are encouraged to report that the Word of God is being faithfully proclaimed throughout the Classis, and there is general peace within the churches. Rev. Carroll (Grace Reformed, Mitchell, SD) reports that “2015 was marked by a spirit of peace and joy…(and) the affection that the saints have for one another is evident.” Rev. Henry (Providence Reformed, Vermillion, SD) notes “the members of Providence Reformed Church are continually growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is evident by their walk of humility before the Lord.”
Dr. C.W. Powell noted that this is his forty-seventh, and likely his final parochial report. Certainly the Lord has greatly used this honorable pastor in his 58 years of ministry. We have been blessed to have our brother serve in our midst, and to enjoy the benefits of his wisdom and encouragement. Not many have the strength or fortitude to continue daily in the ministry until they are 81 years of age. The Lord has greatly blessed this brother and blessed His church through the faithful labors of His humble servant.
The work of missions continues within the bounds of Classis, and we pray that the Lord would continue to fill His church through these humble measures. The work in Scottsbluff, NE, in God’s providence is not able to continue at this point. Rev. Fagrey writes, “In spite of six years of this effort, there has been no appreciable change…the Lord’s timing is not always our timing.”
Rev. Matthew Powell notes that the average attendance at the mission work of Christ Reformed Church in Casper, WY, has increased by about 10%. A number of people are either taking new membership classes or planning to move to the area and join the congregation. We praise God for this growth and pray that He continues to bless this fledgling congregation.
After years of struggle, hopes, trials, and disappointments, St. John’s Church in Lincoln, NE, has held steady in their labors to establish a Reformed work in Omaha. Rev. Johnson reports that the “Consistory is very excited to welcome Rev. Klynsma to Omaha, and we do not doubt that this is the Lord answering prayers.” Rev. Randall Klynsma, formerly the pastor in Kansas City, MO, has now been installed in the Omaha, NE, church plant and has begun his labors. We pray that the Lord adds His blessing to this work.
Finally, this Classis meeting marks the initiation of a “pre-Classis meeting”, which the Spring 2015 Classis asked the Executive Committee to organize for this gathering. Your Executive Committee spent time working on plans, topics, speakers, etc., and we hope that the pre-meeting was a blessing to the entire body. It seems to your president that if we desire to continue with this practice for subsequent Spring Classis meetings, it may be of benefit to the host church to have the opportunity to structure the event themselves. In this way, the host church could determine a topic such as they thought would be of interest to the delegates, and arrange for the speaker or speakers whom they believe could best address the issue at hand.
As we began, this past year has been marked with humble harmony. I will continue to keep all in the Classis in prayer, that we may continue to be of the same mind toward one another.
Rev. Travis Grassmid