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Paths to Ordination

The CRCNA has two pastoral ordination categories, Minister of the Word and Commissioned Pastor. All paths to ordination are explained in the “Journey Toward Ordination” document.

Minister of the Word

This is a denominational ordination and requires a Master of Divinity degree at an accredited seminary.

Seminary Training Route (Article 6)

Calvin Theological Seminary - Owned and operated by the Christian Reformed Church, CTS is the preferred seminary for preparation for ordained ministry. Their MDiv program includes all the required elements to become a candidate for minister of the Word. This program takes 3 years through full-time in-residence learning, or 4 years through distance learning. Apply to Calvin Seminary.

Other Seminaries EPMC Program - Students who elect to attend other seminaries can pursue ordination in the CRCNA through this special accredited denominational orientation program called the Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy. This program is available in distance learning forms, and consists of:

  • Coursework through Calvin seminary
  • Mentorship with a local mentor
  • Connection events
  • Vocational Formation work
  • Peer formation group

Apply to the 24-month EPMC program.

Transferring Ordination From Another Denomination (Article 8) 

If, after a CRC congregation has done a “sustained and realistic” search for a minister within the CRCNA, it is still unable to find someone who they consider a good fit for their context, that congregation may begin conversations with their classis about calling a pastor from outside the denomination through Article 8.

Commissioned Pastor

Commissioned Pastor is a classis ordination. A standardized academic degree is not required, and learning plan requirements vary from classis to classis. To find out what your classis requires as a learning plan to become a commissioned pastor, contact someone on your classis CMLT

Please contact Rev. Susan LaClear, Director of Candidacy, if you have questions about these routes or need help connecting with the right program or classis.