FAQs by Candidacy Applicants for Upcoming Synod

Each fall the seminary hosts a meeting with potential candidates to answer questions about the candidacy process during their final year of seminary, through synod, and beyond. Below are some questions that students typically ask each year. This information is offered here for all candidates, especially those unable to attend the fall informational meeting.

  1. What’s the timetable as far as synod declaring candidates and candidates being eligible for call?

    Synod usually declares candidates on Tuesday morning (usually the second Tuesday in June). Students are asked, but not required, to be present for the Presentation of Candidates. The president of the seminary and of synod each make fitting congratulatory remarks, and delegates express their congratulations and joy both during the synodical session and at an informal reception held after the session.

    People are usually declared candidates on the Tuesday morning of synod and are immediately eligible for call.

  2. What are the dates of the CC interviews and the presentation of candidates at synod?

    CC interviews for candidacy will be T.B.D. Students must be present for these interviews. If travel to Grand Rapids presents a hardship, the student should request an exception from David Koll, Director of Candidacy. In rare cases the committee allows for phone interviews or interviews with Candidacy Committee members from the student’s region. Such request should be submitted to CC no later than March 1.

    The presentation of candidates to synod is usually Tuesday morning, (the second Tuesday in June). Though highly desirable, it is not mandatory that the candidate be present at synod.

  3. Are EPMC students living outside of Grand Rapids required to come to Grand Rapids for the CC interview?
    The Candidacy Committee has decided that all students including those in the EPMC program are required to come to Grand Rapids, Michigan for these interviews. If you do not live in Grand Rapids and judge that a trip to Grand Rapids will constitute an undue hardship, you may appeal this requirement to David Kroll, Director of Candidacy. In rare cases the committee allows for phone interviews or interviews with Candidacy Committee members from the student’s region. Students granted an appeal will be interviewed over the phone via a conference phone call.
  4. How do I actually get started in the candidacy application process? 
    In September you will receive email notice directing you to the Candidacy website which will guide you through the candidacy application process.Students must carefully read this material and scrupulously follow the timelines. For example, allow several weeks of “cushion” for getting your CC sermon taped. Don’t wait until the last Sunday before the deadline. Technology has a way of disappointing!
  5. What is legitimate dialogue between a candidate and congregation looking for a pastor? 
    Students wonder about what is legitimate interaction between a church and potential candidate and what violates the spirit of the synodical regulations regarding the calling of a candidate. It’s fine to talk to a church, to exchange information, to discuss philosophy of ministry, etc. But candidates should not make a commitment to a church before synod officially declares them candidates for ministry. If a church decides to make a commitment to a candidate, including a congregational and council decision that “on June XX, 20XX, this decision to call will become the official call to John Doe,” the potential candidate should make it clear that he or she is under no obligation to accept that call and cannot make a final decision on the call until synod has made it’s official decision on candidates.
  6. Should I apply for candidacy if I know I will not be able to take a call in the year of eligibility for call? 
    If you are contemplating activity in the year after synod declares you a candidate that will preclude you from taking a call (e.g., if you are going to do an advanced academic degree) you should wait until the following year to apply for candidacy. If you’re not sure about future plans, it is recommended that you begin the candidacy process so that you can keep your options open. You can always discontinue the process and start the process over again the following year.
  7. I want to be declared a candidate at this coming year’s synod even though I will have several requirements left. Under the seminary’s Delayed Candidacy Policy, exactly how many requirements can I have left at the time synod meets but still be declared a candidate?

    Delayed Candidacy Policy

    1. Applications for candidacy may be made by students who anticipate having any combination of four or fewer uncompleted units in their seminary program as of the meeting of the synod at which they will be declared a candidate. Each course and internship would be considered a “unit” for purposes of this calculation. Note: For those students who began their studies in 2008 or earlier, comprehensive exams would also qualify as one unit.The capstone course “Integrative Seminar”, which includes the oral comprehensive exam, cannot be one of the remaining requirements.Students anticipating a 3.5 year program must give priority to completing requirements that are crucial to demonstrating readiness for ministry. For example, students must give priority to meeting any Candidacy Committee concerns and recommendations so that the faculty is in a position to recommend the student for candidacy even though there may be many remaining requirements.Students should be especially aware that it is difficult for the faculty to recommend for candidacy someone who has not completed (1) a congregational internship, (2) a unit of CPE that has been recommended by the Candidacy Committee (which would be calculated as one “unit” for purposes of determining four or fewer units), or (3) any other candidacy committee recommendations.Students anticipating a 3.5 year program should work closely with their Mentored Ministry group leader, the Director of Mentored Ministries, and the Candidacy Committee chair to make sure their program proceeds in a way that will allow faculty to make an informed judgment regarding candidacy in the spring of the year in which the student desires to be declared a candidate.
    2. By synodical regulation, “Any student who does not complete the remaining requirements by March 1 must reapply for candidacy to the Candidacy Committee.” (Church Order Supplement, Article 6 C. 4)
    3. Upon completion of all remaining requirements, the Registrar will so inform the Executive Director of the CRC who will then announce the candidate’s eligibility for call.
  8. What do I do if I anticipate that I may not have received and accepted a call by the one year anniversary of being declared a candidate by synod?
    You should contact David Koll of the denominational Candidacy Committee before April 15 and he will help you process a request for extension of candidacy.
  9. How do congregations looking for a pastor and considering candidates get information on potential candidates? 
    The denominational web site (CRCNA.org) has information regarding candidates and potential candidates. It’s part of the Ministerial Information Service, which is part of Pastor-Church Relations. In March of each year, Pastor-Church Relations, upon receiving your completed Ministerial Profile (part of the Candidacy Application process), sifts out some basic information from each candidate’s profile and prepares a web page of Potential Candidates. After synod declares you a candidate, this information will be transferred to the web page of Candidates. Included in the candidacy application process is a Authorization to Release Information form that you must sign and return to Karlene Werner.

These questions no doubt raise more questions in your mind. Please address your questions to Karlene Werner.