This was the first year the Synodical Ministerial Candidacy Committee (SMCC) presented candidates for the ministry to synod.
SMCC is the result of a decision by Synod 2004 to try to bring some consistency to the requirements for people entering ministry in the CRC. Until this year, candidates from Calvin Theological Seminary were presented by the seminary’s board.
Those entering the ministry with exceptional gifts but without theological education were approved by individual classes (regional groups of Christian Reformed churches), as were ministers transferring in from other denominations. As a result, the requirements from classis to classis varied widely.
Now, however, every person entering the ministry of the Word in the CRC must meet a common standard for character, knowledge, and skills that will help ensure a stable supply of strong and deeply spiritual leaders for the churches.
That means people coming in under Church Order Article 7 (exceptional gifts) and Article 8 (from other denominations), as well as students who complete their master-of-divinity degree at another seminary will also be required to complete courses at Calvin Theological Seminary that will give them an orientation to the theology and ministry of the CRC.
The SMCC spells out the responsibilities of three specific partners in the process of developing candidates for the ministry: the local church council, the Classis Ministerial Leadership Team, and the committee itself. The information is contained in a manual written by Rev. Shawn R. Brix.
More information on this committee and its work will be available on the CRC website, www.crcna.org, under “synodical resources”.