EPMC Faculty Interview

A. The nature of this interview

The EPMC pre-candidacy interview, which is approximately one hour long, is more than a casual conversation with the student but it is not the same as the oral examination for an academic degree. Whereas the primary focus of the oral examination is the demonstration of one’s theological competence as part of receiving an academic degree, the primary focus of the EPMC pre-candidacy interview is more confessional, ecclesiastical, and professional. In the EPMC pre-candidacy interview, the faculty seek to become more acquainted with the student with a view to assessing (1) the student’s personal, spiritual and professional readiness for ministry, (2) the student’s knowledge of and agreement with the confessional positions of the Christian Reformed Church, and (3) the student’s general suitability for ministerial candidacy in the Christian Reformed Church.

The interview focuses primarily on the following areas:
1. The candidate’s personal background and sense of vocation.
2. The candidate’s knowledge of the Reformed confessions, his/her Reformed confessional identity, and his/her willingness to sign the Covenant for Officebearers in good conscience.
3. The candidate’s biblical and theological abilities and pastoral sensitivities as demonstrated in a response to a ministry case study.

B. Lunch meeting of faculty panels and EPMC students (residential only) before October 15

It is strongly suggested that faculty panels be formed and EPMC students be assigned to each panel by September 15. The convener of the panel (assigned by Dean of the Faculty) is responsible for setting up a brown-bag lunch between September 15 and October 15 with the faculty members on the panel and the students to be interviewed. The purpose of this lunch is threefold: (1) to give everyone a chance to get to know each other (e.g., all students could share 3 to 4 minutes of autobiographical information, and faculty panel members could give a brief overview of their life and ministry career, etc.), (2) to give the faculty convener the opportunity to explain the nature of the EPMC interview, and (3) to give students opportunity to ask questions and get answers about the interview from the very people who will be conducting their interview within a month or two.

C. Clear and uniform practices for the interview and communication of interview results to the student and the CTS Candidacy Committee.

1. At the beginning of the interview, the convener will clarify with the student that
a. this IS a pass-fail interview, and
b. the purpose of this interview is to more fully inform faculty regarding the student’s readiness for ministry and confessional soundness with a view to preparing a candidacy recommendation in the near future.
2. Faculty questions will stay within the framework of the documents listed in Point “D” below.
3. The interview itself will be divided into three 15-minute segments:
a. The convener will begin the interview and focus upon the candidate’s personal background, spiritual journey, and sense of vocation. (15 minutes);
b. One faculty member will focus upon the candidate’s Reformed identity, especially knowledge of and agreement with the Reformed confessions and his/her willingness to sign the Covenant for Officebearers. (15 minutes),
c. One faculty member will converse with the candidate concerning the assigned case study, focusing on the candidate’s biblical/theological abilities as they inform pastoral sensitivities. (15 minutes)
4. At the end of the interview, for approximately 15 minutes, the convener will
a. excuse the student for a brief time of panel deliberation,
b. solicit feedback from the panel on the student’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to the three segments of the interview and determine if the student has passed or failed the interview,
c. call the student back into the room and provide feedback to the student regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the interview and inform the student if the interview was passed/failed,
d. end the meeting with a prayer of thanksgiving for the student and prayer for wisdom as the faculty processes this student’s candidacy application and as the student continues on the journey toward professional ministry,
e. prepare a brief written report on the strengths and weakness of the interview for the CTS Candidacy Committee,
f. and turn in the report to Karlene Werner.


D. Student Preparation for the EPMC interviews

The CTS faculty recommends that students prepare for the EPMC pre-candidacy interview in the following ways:
1. Thoroughly read and review
  • the three ecumenical creeds-Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed
  • the three confessions of the Christian Reformed Church–Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dort
  • “Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony” and
  • the CRC Church Order.

(These resources are all available online at www.crcna.org.)

2. Thoroughly read and review summary statements of the Reformed perspective as it comes to expression in the Christian Reformed Church, e.g.,
  • What It Means to Be Reformed: An Identity Statement, endorsed by the 2002 synod of the Christian Reformed Church as part of the CRCNA’s Denominational Ministries Plan.
  • Authentic Worship in a Changing Culture, a study of worship based upon a report adopted by Synod, 1997. Of particular interest here are the relationship between worship, ecclesiology and evangelism and the theological principles that inform reflection on these matters.
3. In reviewing the creeds, confessions and summary statements of the Reformed perspective, pay particular attention to the biblical support given for the major tenets of the Reformed perspective.
4. Review the denomination’s official positions on a variety of theological and ethical matters. Summaries of these positions can be found on the denominational website at http://www.crcna.org/whoweare/beliefs/position.asp?WhoWeAreMenu.
5. The student will prepare an oral presentation of a case study that he or she will receive from the EPMC coordinator 48 hours prior to the interview. The student will also prepare a 1-2 page paper referencing the sources used in responding to the case study – Scripture, theological materials, seminary courses, conversations with pastors or other students, etc. This paper will be handed to the panel at the beginning of the interview.

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