Candidates and Calls

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Each summer, in the July issue, The Banner publishes pictures of and information about men and women whom synod has declared to be candidates for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church. It’s a significant milestone in a candidate’s journey, but it kicks off a process that can be a bit confusing the first time around.

Calvin Theological Seminary recently held a panel discussion to help prospective candidates navigate the candidacy and calling process. Rev. David Koll, director of Candidacy for the denomination’s Candidancy Committee(formerly known as the Synodical Ministerial Candidacy Committee or SMCC); Rev. Duane Visser, director of Pastor-Church Relations; and Rev. Duane Kelderman, chair of the Candidacy Committee at the seminary, answered a wide range of questions, such as the following:   

  • How much initiative may I take in the calling process? How do I get my name out there without appearing pushy or looking like I’m not relying on the Holy Spirit to lead a church to me?  
  • As a Canadian can I accept a call in the U.S.?    
  • When and how should I talk to a church about salary? Should I tell the church how much educational debt I have?  
  • How many different congregations should I talk to at once?
  • How do I get independent information about a congregation? Should I talk to a former pastor?

In addition to answering questions, the panelists underscored key themes: be honest, be humble, conduct yourself in the calling process in a way becoming of a minister of the gospel, and, above all, trust the Holy Spirit to bring you and the congregation of God’s choosing together.  

Visser also announced the publication of a brochure to help congregations with questions about calling candidates. You can find it online at www.crcna.org/pages/pastorchurch.cfm.

About the Author

Duane Kelderman is interim pastor at Faith Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. He is a convener of the realignment project described in this article.

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