South Central Classis President’s Report

South Central Classis President's Report

It is an honor and privilege to have served as the president of the South Central Classis at its 2023 spring meeting, and as the chair of the executive committee for the following year. The Executive Committee Report will give a more detailed account of our activities, but it was a busy year for us. We had the honor of facilitating the entrance of one new church into the Classis and working with a second toward that end. We planned a special Classis meeting in the fall. In addition to the more official activities I also fielded a number of questions and requests for advice on constitutional matters and engaged with the Synod president on matters of denominational interest.

Speaking of the two churches, what a joy it is to have likeminded brothers and sisters desiring to join themselves to our Classis! We are thankful for the admission of Sovereign Grace Reformed Church at the fall meeting, and look forward to discussing the admission of Emmanuel Reformed Church in Denver.

Looking through the parochial reports and the statistical report, the general state of the Classis seems to be one of peace and slow growth. We gained about 25 communicant members in the previous year, an average of about 2.5%, and 11 of our 15 churches experienced growth in communicant membership. God is working through our churches through the ordinary means of grace. What a comfort to remember that what is required of us is simply to do what God has called us to, to make use of those ordinary means! The times and the challenges change, but the answer to the challenges of the day remains the same, the preaching of the Word. The Gospel is still the Gospel and the church remains the church. The church of Jesus Christ armed with the Word of God continues to have the answers to the shifting and changing issues of every age. Our churches seem mostly to be at peace at the moment, and while we know God will bring times of hardship and trial to refine His people, we are thankful for those times of respite and joy that He gives us as well. And of course every church and every minister have their private hardships and challenges which would never make it into a president’s report. But God sees, and comforts and preserves us through all.

We are blessed with a number of prospective ministerial candidates. We held the special Classis meeting in the fall in order to examine three of those candidates, and we have another three candidates to examine at this meeting. We thank God for providing us with so many candidates for the gospel ministry. But I would exhort us all to continue to be diligent in the examination of candidates, despite the burdensome time requirements. Ministerial candidates reflect strongly on the Classis and the church of Jesus Christ and it is our responsibility to ensure that candidates are not only not disqualified in some obvious way, but that they are not weak or ignorant men and are men who will reflect well on the church of our Lord,  just as the Apostle says that elders should have a good report with those outside. I hasten to add this is absolutely not expressing a concern about any of the candidates approved in the fall or up for examination at this meeting, but just a continued call to diligence. Examinations are among our most important duties as a Classis.

On that same note, these examinations do impose a substantial burden of time on the Classis. The Executive Committee proposed doing some of the non-doctrinal portion on the examination in committee, or possibly before the meeting via Zoom. Constitutional concerns were raised by some members of the Classis and so we elected to withdraw the proposal. But perhaps it would be good to request counsel from Synod on the constitutional propriety of such a procedure for future reference.

Our Classis is growing in members, in churches, and in ministers. We are thankful for the blessing of God, but let us as a Classis continue to be faithful in exercising our duties before God and before the church to care for the people of God as undershepherds, to govern the church well as we are called, and to acquit ourselves well before God’s people. We have a substantial docket of business before us this year, and a long meeting ahead. I pray for endurance for all of us for the meeting, and likewise patience, diligence and faith in the coming year to be faithful to our calling. We are but vessels of clay, utterly unworthy of the calling of God, but He has equipped us to the work and promised to use us as His instruments despite this unworthiness, so that we can press forward to the work with diligence and faith.

I thank the Classis for the honor of entrusting me with this work for the previous year, and pray for the Lord’s continued blessing on our tiny part of His great kingdom. 

Your Servant and Christ’s,

Rev. Matthew Powell

Synod 2024

Scroll to Top