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Candidacy Process

This page is designed to be a guide and reference for all (CTS and EPMC program) participants in the 24-month candidacy process.  It describes all the steps of the 2-year process of candidacy. As you progress through these steps, please feel free to connect with the Candidacy Director if you have any questions! 

To reach the Candidacy Director, Susan LaClear, email [email protected]

To reach both the Candidacy Director and the Candidacy Administrative Assistant (for document submission) email [email protected].

CTS Students

We encourage CTS students to connect with the Candidacy Director early on in their MDiv program so that they can get an understanding of what’s involved in the 24-month candidacy process and keep candidacy assignments on their radar. We also welcome students to attend candidacy meetings each year to check in and ask questions, and to contact the Candidacy Director individually as needed.

There is a common misconception that CTS students can wait to connect with the Candidacy Director until the fall before they intend to candidate. We don’t recommend that, since there are a few elements of the process that you should be engaged in 2 years prior to your intended candidacy date. Throughout your candidacy journey, we want to get to know you well and to help you feel well-connected to denominational staff and resources as you discern your ministry path in the CRCNA.

Let us know if there are additional ways you would like us to help you connect, and we will be glad to help!

  • Meet with the CMLT (Classis Ministerial Leadership Team) of your classis and ask them to send an initial classis report to the Candidacy Director at [email protected]
  • At the end of this year meet with your CMLT again, and ask them to send their one-year classis report to the Candidacy Director at [email protected]
  • Optional: The Abuse of Power Training can be engaged at any point in your process, so it is listed as a year two requirement, but you may choose to take it earlier if you want to lighten the load of your final year.
  • Apply to the 24-month candidacy program (this can be done earlier as well).
  • Candidacy requires a 24-month mentorship and the submission of seven reports plus one final recommendation from the mentor. However, CTS students may choose to apply one year of their vocational formation mentorship towards this requirement instead of engaging the full two years with a candidacy mentor (in this case, an email from your VF mentor to the Candidacy Director stating that the mentorship was successfully completed will count for reports 1-3).  You can choose to either start a candidacy mentorship at the beginning of year one, or ask your vocational formation mentor to sign off on your mentorship at the end of year one, and start your candidacy mentorship in year two. 
  • Note: You should be on the MDiv track that contains courses required for candidacy: CRC Polity, History and Reformed Confessions
  • Candidacy requires that you preach two evaluated sermons in two different contexts other than your own. Begin scheduling preaching engagements at two different churches to fulfill this requirement. Each time you preach, ask your mentor or another qualified sermon evaluator fill out this evaluation form and then review the feedback with your mentor. (Note: Evaluated preaching assignments done through the CTS Vocational Formation office count towards this requirement).   
  • If you haven’t done this already in year one, now is the time to initiate a Candidacy Mentorship with a CRC pastor. (It can be your vocational formation mentor if that person is willing to continue meeting with you monthly and submit reports on your behalf, but most students find another mentor for candidacy). Meet monthly with that mentor until you complete candidacy.
  • Ask your candidacy mentor to fill out an initial mentor report and send it in to the Candidacy Director at [email protected]. Inform them also that they should send in three more reports before March 1st of the candidacy year (one every two months or so.)

Note: We encourage you to stay in communication with the Vocational Formation Office at CTS, since completion of all your vocational formation assignments (psych eval, internships, etc.) is a prerequisite for candidacy.

Due November 1

  • Declare your intent to candidate to the Candidacy Director at [email protected]. Your assigned preaching text will be sent to you. 
  • The CTS Academic Services Coordinator will be notified by the Candidacy administrative assistant that you intend to candidate, and they will email these documents for you to Docusign:
    • Authorization to Release Information
    • Background Check
    • Personal Disclosure
  • Over the course of the next few months write two sermons—one on your assigned text and one of your choice in the opposite testament. Begin to schedule opportunities to preach them to a congregation.

Due December 1

  • Submit your Vocational Reflection paper to the Director of Candidacy at [email protected]. The Vocational Reflection paper should be approximately 12 pages in length, double-spaced, and should contain the following:
    • 2 pages of reflection on your developing pastoral identity, call to ministry and personal spiritual formation.
    • 8 pages of reflection on your strengths and weaknesses in the six ministry competencies: leading, preaching/teaching, seeking justice, pastoral care, evangelism, and worship. 
    • 2 pages of reflection on your experience in accountability in ministry (i.e. what has been rewarding/challenging about your experience of accountability to mentors, pastors, councils, etc., and how that has formed you.)

Due February 15

  • Two Sermons and One Video
    • Create two (typed, double-spaced) sermon manuscripts and with supporting evidence, one on the assigned text and the other from a text of your choice (not one written for class work.)
    • Take a video of yourself preaching the assigned-text sermon, ideally from an actual worship service. Make sure that the video is no larger than 1 GB. More detailed instructions can be found here.
    • Upload the sermons and video to the Google Drive folder that the Candidacy administrative assistant will share with you.

Due March 1

  • Faith Journey and Statement of Reason: Write a 1.5 page Faith Journey and Statement of Reason to your shared Google Drive folder. Please also include a note that lists what languages you speak, the degrees you have earned, and the internships in which you have participated. This should be a Google or Word document (not a PDF). Examples can be found here.
  • Complete the Minister’s Profile: The CRC Information Technology department will send you an email with login instructions to create your own CRCNA Minister Profile. Even if you already know where you will be serving you need to complete this profile for future information sharing. If you have questions or need to access your profile, please contact [email protected].    
  • Photograph: Upload a high-res, color headshot photo for The Banner, the Synod booklet, and other Seminary uses. We recommend that you dress professionally for this photo. Upload to your Google Drive folder. 
  • Abuse of Power training: This new synodically-mandated training will require four hours of online work. Email Amanda Benckhuysen ([email protected]) for instructions on how to complete this training. 

April Candidacy Interview

  • An invitation will be sent to meet with an interview team in late April.  The Candidacy Director or a member of your interview team will contact you regarding the date/time of your interview for candidacy in the CRCNA. The topics of this interview: 
    • Personal call and sense of vocation
    • Knowledge of scripture and theology
    • Commitment to the doctrine and ministry of the Christian Reformed Church.

May Graduation 

  • Seminary graduation ceremony is held in mid-May.

June Candidacy Approval by Synod 

  • The Candidacy Committee sends a list of all approved candidates (even those with delayed status) to synod for approval at the June meeting.
  • Candidates are celebrated, prayed for and affirmed at synod.

Summer (or later) Call

  • You may officially accept a call! (Before this point, you can begin having conversations with churches but no call can be provisionally extended/accepted until after official approval by synod.)
  • You may start work at your calling church (without being ordained).

Fall (or later) Classis Exam and Ordination 

  • You should talk with the Stated Clerk of the classis of your church to obtain the classical exam requirements and their timeline. (Classis usually meet three times a year in September/October, January/February, and April/May, unless they schedule a special meeting for your exam.) 
  • If you have outstanding requirements that cause you to show up as a “delayed candidate” (asterisk behind your name) on the Candidacy website, your classis will not be able to examine you until those requirements are cleared up.
  • You will be examined by classis for ordination as a Minister of the Word.
  • After approved by classis, your ordination service can be scheduled with your calling church.

Note: You are examined and ordained only once in your lifetime as a CRCNA Minister of the Word (even if you transfer between churches and classes later on in your ministry.)

EPMC Participants

If you have enrolled in the EPMC program, you have already connected to the candidacy process! Many of the program elements below will be familiar to you, since they are also included in the individualized learning plan that your EPMC Facilitation Team designs for you after your initial interview. But take note of the "Final 6 Months" assignments, since they are not detailed in your learning plan document.

  • Meet with the CMLT (Classis Ministerial Leadership Team) of your classis and ask them to send an initial classis report to the Candidacy Director at [email protected]
  • At the end of this year meet with your CMLT again, and ask them to send their one-year classis report to the Candidacy Director at [email protected]
  • Optional: The Abuse of Power Training can be engaged at any point in your process, so it is listed as a year two requirement, but you may choose to take it earlier if you want to lighten the load of your final year!
  • After acceptance into the EPMC program (see application on this page if you haven’t yet applied) meet with your EPMC Facilitation Team for an initial interview
  • Send your vocational formation plan to your EPMC Facilitation Team for approval.
  • Contact Kenzie Sczcepanski ([email protected]) to set up your psychological evaluation.
  • Register for the next CTS Connection Trip in Grand Rapids, Mich. 
  • Begin the coursework in your individualized learning plan.
  • Ask your candidacy mentor to fill out an initial mentor report and send it in to the Candidacy Director ([email protected]). Meet monthly with your mentor to process your learning and growth. Your mentor should submit three additional reports to the Candidacy Office ([email protected]) over the course of this first year (see the Forms and Resources page for those forms.)
  • After the first connection trip, at which you will meet your formation group, begin meeting with this group every other week over the course of two semesters.
  • Continue meeting monthly with your mentor throughout this year to discuss your learning and growth in ministry identity and skills. Your mentor should send 3 more reports throughout this year.
  • Candidacy requires that you preach two evaluated sermons in two different contexts other than your own. Begin scheduling preaching engagements at two different churches to fulfill this requirement. Each time you preach, ask your mentor or another qualified sermon evaluator fill out this evaluation form and then review the feedback with your mentor.   
  • Register for your second connection trip, the CRCNA Connection Trip in either Burlington, Ontario or Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Review your psychological evaluation results with your mentor. If you are notified by the CTS Vocational Formation office that there are additional requirements that arose from this report, complete those requirements.
  • Complete all vocational formation assignments in your approved vocational formation plan and report their completion to your EPMC Facilitation Team.

Due November 1

  • Declare your intent to candidate to the Candidacy Director at [email protected]. Your assigned preaching text will be sent to you. 
  • Kenzie Szczepanski will be notified by the Candidacy administrative assistant that you intend to candidate, and they will email these documents for you to Docusign:
    • Authorization to Release Information
    • Background Check
    • Personal Disclosure
  • Over the course of the next few months write two sermons—one on your assigned text and one of your choice in the opposite testament. Begin to schedule opportunities to preach them to a congregation.

Due December 1

  • Submit your Vocational Reflection paper to the Director of Candidacy at [email protected]. The Vocational Reflection paper should be approximately 12 pages in length, double-spaced, and should contain the following:
    • 2 pages of reflection on your developing pastoral identity, call to ministry and personal spiritual formation.
    • 8 pages of reflection on your strengths and weaknesses in the six ministry competencies: leading, preaching/teaching, seeking justice, pastoral care, evangelism, and worship. 
    • 2 pages of reflection on your experience in accountability in ministry (i.e. what has been rewarding/challenging about your experience of accountability to mentors, pastors, councils, etc., and how that has formed you.)

Due February 15

  • Two Sermons and One Video
    • Create two (typed, double-spaced) sermon manuscripts and with supporting evidence, one on the assigned text and the other from a text of your choice (not one written for class work.)
    • Take a video of yourself preaching the assigned-text sermon, ideally from an actual worship service. Make sure that the video is no larger than 1 GB. Here are more detailed instructions.
    • Upload the sermons and video to the Google Drive folder that the Candidacy administrative assistant will share with you.

Due March 1

  • Faith Journey and Statement of Reason: Write a 1.5 page Faith Journey and Statement of Reason to your shared Google Drive folder. Please also include a note that lists what languages you speak, the degrees you have earned, and the internships in which you have participated. This should be a Google or Word document (not a PDF). Examples can be found here.
  • Complete the Minister’s Profile: The CRC Information Technology department will send you an email with login instructions to create your own CRCNA Minister Profile. Even if you already know where you will be serving you need to complete this profile for future information sharing. If you have questions or need to access your profile, please contact [email protected].    
  • Photograph: Upload a high-res, color headshot photo for The Banner, the Synod booklet, and other Seminary uses. We recommend that you dress professionally for this photo. Upload to your Google Drive folder. 
  • Abuse of Power training: This new synodically-mandated training will require four hours of online work. Email Amanda Benckhuysen ([email protected]) for instructions on how to complete this training. 

April Candidacy Interview

  • An invitation will be sent to meet with an interview team in late April.  The Candidacy Director or a member of your interview team will contact you regarding the date/time of your interview for candidacy in the CRCNA. The topics of this interview: 
    • Personal call and sense of vocation
    • Knowledge of scripture and theology
    • Commitment to the doctrine and ministry of the Christian Reformed Church.

May Graduation 

  • Seminary graduation ceremony is held in mid-May.

June Candidacy Approval by Synod 

  • The Candidacy Committee sends a list of all approved candidates (even those with delayed status) to synod for approval at the June meeting.
  • Candidates are celebrated, prayed for and affirmed at synod.

Summer (or later) Call

  • You may officially accept a call! (Before this point, you can begin having conversations with churches but no call can be provisionally extended/accepted until after official approval by synod.)
  • You may start work at your calling church (without being ordained).

Fall (or later) Classis Exam and Ordination 

  • You should talk with the Stated Clerk of the classis of your church to obtain the classical exam requirements and their timeline. (Classis usually meet three times a year in September/October, January/February, and April/May, unless they schedule a special meeting for your exam.) 
  • If you have outstanding requirements that cause you to show up as a “delayed candidate” (asterisk behind your name) on the Candidacy website, your classis will not be able to examine you until those requirements are cleared up.
  • You will be examined by classis for ordination as a Minister of the Word.
  • After approved by classis, your ordination service can be scheduled with your calling church.

Note: You are examined and ordained only once in your lifetime as a CRCNA Minister of the Word (even if you transfer between churches and classes later on in your ministry.)

Connection Trips

Note: If you are scheduling a flight, you should plan to arrive before 5pm on the first day listed and leave after 12pm on the last day listed for each trip.

CTS Connection Trip (trip #1), Aug. 22-25, 2022—Calvin Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

CRCNA Connection Trip in the US (trip #2), Oct. 3-6, 2022—CRC Denominational Building/Christian Reformed Conference Grounds.

CRCNA Connection Trip in Canada (trip #2), Oct. 31-Nov. 3. 2022—Burlington Denominational Office/Crieff Hills Retreat Center.

Register for the trips.