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Synod 2019 made changes in how pastors who have been ordained in other churches can enter the CRC, generally making it easier for congregations to call pastors from outside of the CRC.

With the exception of pastors who come to the CRC from the Reformed Church in America, before a congregation calls a pastor from another denomination, the church order requires “a sustained and realistic effort” to find a pastor within the CRC.

The standards for calling a pastor from another denomination can seem severe: gifts in a pastor not found in other pastors, urgent need in the congregation, specialization in planting churches, or “indigenous leadership in a multicultural or ethnic minority church.”

These provisions were put in place to protect pastors trained in the CRC from losing positions to pastors trained in other denominations. For years they were strongly enforced.

This year the Candidacy Committee signaled to synod that it was willing to interpret the Church Order more broadly, making it easier for congregations to call ministers from outside the denomination, provided the minister is willing “to complete a learning plan endorsed by the Candidacy Committee.”

The number of ministers coming to the CRC by means of this route is still small. Expect it to grow.

Synod 2019 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 14-20. For continuous coverage from our award-winning news team, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted on The Banner’s dedicated Synod web page several times daily. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

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