Synod 2011 expressed strong encouragement for pastors to continue their education while serving but did not impose mandatory requirements.
“Last year’s advisory committee showed great enthusiasm for encouraging continued education and very great opposition to mandatory education,” said Rev. David Koll, director of candidacy.
Rev. Kenneth Baker, Classis Kalamazoo, cited the importance of “not just the pastor him or herself making the case for time away [to study], but others encouraging and stating the value of it.”
Synod also approved the addition of a line item on continuing education in the CRC Letter of Call, issued to pastors when called by a church.
Some delegates wanted synod to go a step farther and create a requirement for pastors.
Elder Gerald Schepers: “I’m wondering why pastors should be any different and not need some continuing education.”
“I’m wondering why pastors should be any different [than social workers] and not need some continuing education,” said elder Gerald Schepers, Classis Northern Michigan. Koll noted that most professions in North America have mandatory continuing education.
“If we as churches would take leadership in taking a mandate for continuing education, it would show leadership,” said Rev. John Luth, Classis Alberta North.
Koll did not completely rule out mandatory education in the future. “Do all you can to encourage. For now, let’s at least take some steps to move synod ahead. It wasn’t the judgment of the Candidacy Committee that this was the right time to bring a mandatory proposal.”
For more coverage while synod is in session, including webcasts, photos, discussion forums, reports, and more, visit the Synod 2011 website.