The Far West’s Newest Classis
The Hispanic population in North America is growing. In the U.S., one out of every six adults is Hispanic, and demographic projections predict that the Hispanic population will continue to grow in the coming decades.
Yet throughout the Far West Region and across the RCA, few pastors and churches are adequately prepared to effectively connect with, lead, and walk with the Hispanic community.
To address the gap between the growing Hispanic population and the RCA’s ability to meet its needs, the Far West Region organized a new classis on November 4, 2017: the Classis of the Americas.
The mission of the Classis of the Americas is to gather, equip, and empower leaders and new congregations in highly populated Hispanic regions to be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and to transform their multigenerational, multiethnic, and multicultural communities.
Our vision is that the Classis of the Americas will be a focused body to help develop fruitful Hispanic leaders and ministries. The classis is an affinity classis, meaning that the congregations within it have a common focus, rather than being geographically close. In this case, the common focus of the classis is ministry to Hispanics—both first-generation immigrants, most of whom are Spanish-speaking, and also second-generation English-speaking Hispanics.
The classis is not just for Hispanic churches, but for all congregations—Spanish-speaking, bilingual, or English-speaking—that are seeking to reach the Hispanic community through evangelism, discipleship, leadership development, and church planting.
The Far West Region’s hope is that the classis will become a hub for effective Hispanic ministry in the RCA.
One way the classis can accomplish this is by supporting the RCA’s goal of starting 50 Hispanic churches in the next five years. The classis will provide a context for new and culturally relevant strategies to gather, equip, train, and prepare leaders to plant churches.
Another way is by coming alongside other classes to assist and train them in more effective ways to minister to the multicultural Hispanic community, which is itself diverse. As the Classis of the Americas grows and matures, it will be better able to understand the particular needs of the varied cultures that fall under the larger “Hispanic” umbrella.
Ultimately, the goal of the classis is the intentional empowerment of Hispanic leaders in the RCA. It is a place where theological training (in partnership with the seminaries and MFCA) can be contextually nurtured. Lay leaders can be more readily identified and engaged in the classis’s ministry and mission.
The following RCA churches and church plants are now part of the Classis of the Americas:
- Iglesia El Calvario, Hemet, California
- Emmanuel Reformed Church, Paramount, California
- Iglesia La Senda, Corona, California
- City Church of Compton, Compton, California
- Church of Grace, Garden Grove, California
- Reformed Church of Los Angeles, Lynwood, California
- Elohim, Paramount, California
- Nepalese Christian Church, Paramount, California
- Nueva Familia, Paramount, California
- Ministerio El Reino de Dios, Detroit, Michigan
- Iglesia Impacto, Pittsburg, Texas
Our prayer is that each of these congregations, and those that are yet to come, will be effective leaders in reaching the Hispanic community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bruce Bugbee is regional executive of the Far West Region.