Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) CI.

I. The Offices of the Church

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) CI.A.

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 2

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
2

The church recognizes the offices of minister of the Word, elder, deacon, and commissioned pastor. These offices differ from each other only in mandate and task, not in dignity and honor.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 3-a

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
3-a

All adult confessing members of the church who meet the biblical requirements are eligible for the offices of minister, elder, deacon, and commissioned pastor.

— Cf. Supplement, Articles 3-a, 45, and 48-a

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 3-a

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Supplement, Article
3-a

Regulations

1. a. All congregations may, but will not be required to, allow women to serve in the office of minister, elder, deacon, or commissioned pastor.
b. Classes may, in keeping with their understanding of the biblical position on the role of women in ecclesiastical office, declare that women officebearers (ministers, elders, deacons, and commissioned pastors) may not be delegated to classis.
c. All duly elected and ordained officebearers may be delegated to synod. Officebearers shall not be asked to participae against their convictions.

2. Synodical deputies shall not be asked to participate against their conviction in any matter relating to ministers of the Word as provided in Articles 6-18 and 82-84 of the Church Order.

3. Every classis shall respect the prerogative of its constituent churches to call and ordain officebearers according to their own biblical convictions. No members of classis shall be required to participate against their convictions in a candidate’s examination or in processing ministerial credentials. The examination for ordination of a female candidate may then be conducted by a classis contracta consisting of delegates from churches that do not object. In the event that a quorum cannot be found, representatives from churches in a neighboring classis may be invited to achieve the equivalent of a quorum.

4. Women ministers may not be approved for fields of labor outside North America where our partner churches do not permit the ordination of women.

5. In the consideration of applications submitted by qualified women for candidacy for the office of minister of the Word, both the Candidacy Committee and synod shall ensure that trustees and delegates will not be forced to participate against their convictions. In the declaration of candidacy delegates may exercise their right to abstain from voting.

6. The executive director shall maintain a list of classes that have declared that women of cebearers (ministers, elders, deacons, and commissioned pastors) may not be delegated to classis.

(Acts of Synod 2007, pp. 610-12)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 3-b

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
3-b

Only those who have been officially called and ordained or installed shall hold and exercise office in the church.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 4-a

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
4-a

In calling and electing to an office, the council shall ordinarily present to the congregation a nomination of at least twice the number to be elected. When the council submits a nomination which totals less than twice the number to be elected, it shall give reasons for doing so.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 4-a

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 4-a

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Supplement, Article
4-a

Modification for Church of Classis Red Mesa

In calling to an office, the council shall present to the congregation a nomination of one or more persons for each position to be filled.

(Acts of Synod 1983, p. 660)

Use of Lot in Elections

The use of the lot in the election of officebearers is permitted when a congregational vote is part of the process.

(Acts of Synod 2003, p. 609)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 4-b

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
4-b

Prior to making nominations the council may give the congregationan opportunity to direct attention to suitably gifted persons.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 4-c

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
4-c

The election by the congregation shall take place under the supervision of the council after prayer and in accordance with the regulations established by the council. Adult confessing members in good standing shall have the right to vote.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 4-d

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
4-d

After having called the elected persons to their respective offices and having announced their names, the council shall proceed to ordain or install them if no valid impediment has arisen. The ordination or installation shall take place in the public worship services with the use of the prescribed ecclesiastical forms.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 5

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Article
5

All officebearers, on occasions stipulated by council, classical, and synodical regulations, shall signify their agreement with the doctrine of the church by signing the Covenant for Officebearers.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 5

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 5

I. The Offices of the Church

A. General Provisions

Supplement, Article
5

Covenant for Officebearers *

We, [the undersigned], believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God, which proclaims the good news of God’s creation and redemption through Jesus Christ. Acknowledging the authority of God’s Word, we submit to it in all matters of life and faith.
We affirm three creeds — the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed — as ecumenical expressions of the Christian faith. In doing so, we confess our faith in unity with followers of Jesus Christ throughout all ages and among all nations.
We also affirm three confessions — the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort — as historic Reformed expressions of the Christian faith, whose doctrines fully agree with the Word of God. These confessions continue to define the way we understand Scripture, direct the way we live in response to the gospel, and locate us within the larger body of Christ.
Grateful for these expressions of faith, we promise to be formed and governed by them. We heartily believe and will promote and defend their doctrines faithfully, conforming our preaching, teaching, writing, serving, and living to them.
Along with these historic creeds and confessions, we also recognize the witness of Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony as a current Reformed expression of the Christian faith that forms and guides us in our present context.
We also promise to present or receive confessional difficulties in a spirit of love and fellowship with our brothers and sisters as together we seek a fuller understanding of the gospel. Should we come to believe that a teaching in the confessional documents is not the teaching of God’s Word, we will communicate our views to the church, according to the procedures prescribed by the Church Order and its supplements. If the church asks, we will give a full explanation of our views. Further, we promise to submit to the church’s judgment and authority.
We honor this covenant for the well-being of the church to the glory of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

(Acts of Synod 2012, pp. 761-62)

* To be signed by professors, ministers, commissioned pastors, elders, and deacons when ordained and/or installed in office.

Guidelines and Regulations re Gravamina

Synod declares that gravamina fall into at least two basic types:

1. A confessional-difficulty gravamen: a gravamen in which a subscriber expresses personal difficulty with the confession but does not call for a revision of the confessions, and
2. A confessional-revision gravamen: a gravamen in which a subscriber makes a specific recommendation for revision of the confessions.

A. Guidelines as to the meaning of affirming the confessions by means of the Covenant for Officebearers:

1. The person signing the Covenant for Officebearers affirms without reservation all the doctrines contained in the standards of the church as being doctrines that are taught in the Word of God.
2. The signatory does not by affirming the confessions declare that these doctrines are all stated in the best possible manner, or that the standards of our church cover all that the Scriptures teach on the matters confessed. Nor does the signatory declare that every teaching of the Scriptures is set forth in our confessions, or that every heresy is rejected and refuted by them.
3. A signatory is bound only to those doctrines that are confessed, and is not bound to the references, allusions, and remarks that are incidental to the formulation of these doctrines, nor to the theological deductions that some may draw from the doctrines set forth in the confessions. However, no one is free to decide for oneself or for the church what is and what is not a doctrine confessed in the standards. In the event that such a question should arise, the decision of the assemblies of the church shall be sought and acquiesced in.

B. Regulations concerning the procedure to be followed in the submission of a confessional-difficulty gravamen:

1. Ministers (whether missionaries, professors, or others not serving congregations as pastors), elders, or deacons shall submit their “difficulties” to their councils for examination and judgment. Should a council decide that it is not able to judge the gravamen submitted to it, it shall submit the matter to classis for examination and judgment. If the classis, after examination, judges that it is unable to decide the matter, it may submit it to synod, in accordance with the principles of Church Order Article 28-b.
2. In all instances of confessional-difficulty gravamina, the matter shall not be open for discussion by the whole church, since this type of gravamen is a personal request for information and/or clarification of the confession. Hence this type of gravamen should be dealt with pastorally and personally by the assembly addressed.

C. Regulations concerning the procedure to be followed in the submission of a confessional-revision gravamen:

1. The basic assumption of the church in requiring affirmation of the Covenant for Officebearers is that the doctrines contained in the confessions of the church fully agree with the Word of God. The burden of proof, therefore, rests upon the signatory who calls upon the church to justify or revise its confessions.
2. Ministers (including missionaries, professors, or others not serving congregations as pastors), elders, or deacons shall submit their gravamina calling for revision of the confessions to their councils for examination and judgment. Should the council decide that it is not able to judge the gravamen submitted to it, it shall submit the matter to classis for examination and judgment. If the classis, after examination, judges that it is unable to decide the matter, classis may submit it to synod, in accordance with the principles of Church Order Article 28-b.
3. If the gravamen is adopted by the council and the classis as its own, it becomes an overture to the broader assemblies, and therefore it is open for discussion in the whole church.
4. If the gravamen is rejected by the classis, it may be appealed to synod; and when the constituted synod declares the matter to be legally before it for action, all the signers of the Covenant for Officebearers shall be free to discuss it together with the whole church until adjudicated by synod.
5. Since the subscriber has the right of appeal from the judgment of a council to classis and from classis to synod, the mere fact that the matter is being appealed shall not be a reason for suspending or otherwise disciplining an officebearer, provided other provisions of the Church Order are observed.
6. A revision of the confessions shall not be adopted by synod until the whole church membership has had adequate opportunity to consider it.

(Acts of Synode 2012, pp. 762-65)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) CI.B.

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 6-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
6-a

The completion of a satisfactory theological training shall be required for admission to the ministry of the Word.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 6-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
6-b

Graduates of the theological seminary of the Christian Reformed Church who have been declared candidates for the ministry of the Word by synod shall be eligible for call.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 6-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
6-c

Those who have been trained elsewhere shall not be eligible for call unless they have met the requirements stipulated in the synodical regulations and have been declared by synod to be candidates for the ministry of the Word.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 6

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 6

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
6

A. Students having studied theology at other than Calvin Theological Seminary shall complete the prescribed requirements of the Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (EPMC) before they shall be declared eligible for call in our churches.

(Acts of Synod 1924, p. 38)

B. Students shall be declared candidates by synod after being interviewed by the Candidacy Committee. Recommendations regarding academic quali cations, doctrinal soundness, spiritual fitness, and personality are to be presented to the Candidacy Committee by the Calvin Theological Seminary faculty.

(Acts of Synod 1961, p. 55)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2004, 619-20)

C. Regulations for declaring candidacy between the annual synods

1. Applications for candidacy may be made by students who anticipate having a 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.
2. Synod may declare such students to be candidates contingent upon completion of all remaining requirements.
3. When a student completes all remaining requirements, the Candidacy Committee shall announce the candidate’s eligibility for call.
4. Any student who does not complete the remaining requirements by March 1 must reapply for candidacy to the Candidacy Committee.
5. Any such candidate who has not received and accepted a call to one of our churches and desires to continue eligibility for candidacy must make application the Candidacy Committee by May 15.

(Acts of Synod 1975, p. 111)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2004, pp. 619-20)
(See also Supplement, Article 10)

D. When voting to declare candidates for the ministry of the Word, synod shall vote on the candidates as a group.

(Acts of Synod 2006, p. 639)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 7-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
7-a

Those who have not received the prescribed theological training but who give evidence that they are singularly gifted as to godliness, humility, spiritual discretion, wisdom, and the native ability to preach the Word, may, by way of exception, be admitted to the ministry of the Word.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 7-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
7-b

Those preparing for the ordained ministry under the provision of this article are required to complete the Modified Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (MEPMC).

— Cf. Supplement, Article 7

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 7

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
7

A. Eligibility for Call by Way of Article 7

1. If anyone wishes to be admitted to the ministry of the Word in accordance with Article 7, the procedure described in “The Journey to Ministry: Article 7” available from the Candidacy Committee and online at www.crcna.org/candidacy must be carefully followed. The home classis of the applicant will examine the candidate in the presence of synodical deputies when a favorable recommendation from the Candidacy Committee has been received. In addition to meeting the high standards of Church Order Article 7, a person who seeks to be ordained as a minister of the Word by way of Article 7 must also do so in the context of a particular congregation’s desire and commitment to call that person to serve as minister of the Word.
2. The classical exam for an Article 7 applicant shall include the following subjects:
a. Exegesis of the Old and New Testaments
b. Bible History
c. Dogmatics
d. General and American Church History
3. If the examination is favorable, the applicant shall be declared eligible for a call.
4. When the candidate receives and accepts a call, a pre-ordination exam shall be administered, in the presence of synodical deputies, by the home classis of the calling church. This exam shall be in accordance with existing regulations, excepting the ancient languages.

(Agenda 1920, pp. 26-27; Acts of Synod 1922, pp. 72-73)
(Amended Acts of Synod 1996, p. 581)

B. Declarations re Admittance by Way of Article 7

The Candidacy Committee, in determining the suitability of an applicant for ordination by way of Article 7, shall be guided by the following criteria:
1. The “gifts” mentioned in Article 7 should be possessed by an applicant in a very exceptional measure. No one should be considered unless the applicant has extraordinary qualities.
2. Not only the quali cations mentioned in Article 7 should be considered but such an applicant should also possess exceptional knowledge of the Word, knowledge of spiritual needs, and native ability to apply the Word.
3. This article should never be used as a means to ordain lay workers who may desire such, and whose prestige would be increased by such action. The churches are reminded that the regular door to the ministry is a thorough academic training. This must be maintained in theory and practice.

(Adapted from the Acts of Synod 1947, p. 94)

C. Special Advice for Classis Red Mesa

1. That the following be the method by which the ordination of native workers is to be effected:
a. That capable persons, who feel the call to the gospel ministry, be encouraged to pursue the regular course of study for ordination.
b. That those who are not able to pursue that course, and who possess exceptional gifts, be advised to seek ordination under the pattern prescribed by Article 7 of the Church Order, and make known their desire to their council, the classis, and the Candidacy Committee.
2. For those seeking ordination by way of Article 7 of the Church Order, the following procedure is recommended:
a. The written credentials of the council and the Classis Ministerial Leadership Team concerning the required quali cations stated in Article 7 are to be forwarded to the Candidacy Committee.
b. Upon receipt of application, together with the recommendation of the council and the Classis Ministerial Leadership Team, the Candidacy Committee shall determine whether it considers the applicant eligible for further consideration to become ordained under Article 7.
c. If the preliminary judgment is favorable, the Candidacy Committee is authorized to issue the applicant a preaching license so that the applicant can preach at several of the churches in the classis.
d. All other procedures of the Candidacy Committee (as approved by Synod 2006) shall apply.
e. The examination for ordination follows later according to existing rules, except in the classical languages.

(Adapted from Acts of Synod 1958, pp. 87-88)
(Acts of Synod 2006, p. 663)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 8-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
8-a

Ministers of the Christian Reformed Church are eligible for call, with due observance of the relevant rules.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 8-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
8-b

Ministers of the Reformed Church in America are eligible for call to serve in the Christian Reformed Church, with due observance of the relevant rules.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 8-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
8-c

Ministers of other denominations desiring to become ministers in the Christian Reformed Church shall be required to complete the Modified Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (MEPMC).

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 8-d

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
8-d

Ministers of other denominations who have not been declared eligible for a call shall not be called unless all synodical requirements have been met.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 8

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 8

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
8

A. Nominating Ministers Who Have Served Their Present Churches Less Than Two Years

The synod judges that councils of vacant churches when nominating, should not place in nomination the names of ministers who have served their present churches less than two years, unless there are very special and weighty reasons. And if the counselor deems it necessary, in the name of classis, to approve a nomination bearing the name of a minister having served the present church less than two years, the counselor shall give an account of such action to the classis.

(Acts of Synod 1916, p. 29)

B. Calling Same Minister Within a Year

Calling the same minister twice for the same vacancy may not take place within a year without the advice of classis.

(Acts of Synod 1906, p. 16)

C. Calling Ministers for a Specified Term of Service

1. If the letter of call designates a specific term, the letter shall also include a statement concerning the possibility and method for reappointment and the financial arrangements which will be made in the event that the appointment is not extended beyond the specified term.
2. The church’s counselor, on behalf of classis, shall make sure the termination procedures and arrangements stated in a letter of call are fair and reasonable.
3. When a call is terminated following the procedure agreed to in the letter of call, the minister shall be eligible for a call for a period of two years, after which time the classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, shall declare the minister to be released from the ministerial of ce. For valid reasons the classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, may extend the minister’s eligibility for call on a yearly basis.

(Acts of Synod 1987, p. 575)

4. When a term call is extended to a candidate, it shall ordinarily include a term of service of not less than two years.

(Acts of Synod 2000, p. 712)

D. Calling Ministers from the Reformed Church in America

1. A church may call a minister of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) with due observance of the relevant rules that govern the Orderly Exchange of Ordained Ministers (Cf. Acts of Synod 2005, p. 741). This shall apply only to a church that continues to have a viable ministry.
2. Orderly exchange is intended for ordained ministers of the other denomination to engage in extended service with an indefinite or long-term call in a church (the inviting church) while remaining a member of their own church that holds their ministerial credentials.
3. An ordained minister of the CRC, in good standing, is eligible to engage in extended service (a call) in the RCA and an ordained minister of the RCA, in good standing, is eligible to engage in extended service (a call) in the CRC.
4. Extended service is understood to mean that an ordained minister of the CRC may be invited to serve as a minister of an RCA congregation for an extended period of time while maintaining status as an ordained minister of the CRC, and, vice versa, a minister of the RCA may be invited to serve as a minister of a CRC congregation for an extended period of time while maintaining status as an ordained minister of the RCA. Such a person would preach, teach, and administer the sacraments in a manner consistent with the polity of the inviting church.
5. Orderly exchange allows an ordained minister to express the desire, through appropriate channels, to serve in another denomination as an ecumenical witness. However, orderly exchange is always at the invitation of the inviting church and subject to that church’s polity.
6. To be able to serve in another church, an ordained minister will demonstrate to the appropriate body of the inviting church a knowledge of and appreciation for the theological and liturgical identity, history, polity, and discipline of the church.
7. Approval for extended service must be done in consultation with and with the concurrence of the sending body. (In the CRC, the sending body is the calling church council; in the RCA, it is the classis holding the pastor’s membership.) The minister remains accountable to the sending body for continuation of ministerial status. In the event of termination of a call, the polity of the calling church shall be followed, in consultation with the sending church.

(Acts of Synod 2014, pp. 564-65)

8. Responsibility for the pastoral care of ordained ministers and their families is to be initiated by the served congregation, which will also inform both the sending and inviting bodies of the CRC and the RCA, which will then share in that pastoral care.
9. The ordained minister is subject to the supervision of the sending body with regard to matters of discipline. The inviting body shall have oversight of the congregation in which the minister serves. Both the inviting and sending bodies shall be in communication and participate as appropriate.
10. Each church will make provision for an ordained minister’s being granted participation in the appropriate bodies of the church in which he/she is serving (the inviting church). (Cf. Article 38-g and its Supplement.)
11. All ordained ministers shall continue to participate in the pension and benefits program of the denomination that holds their ministerial credentials (the sending church). The inviting church has the obligation to cover the pension and benefit costs. (Cf. Article 38-g and its Supplement.)

(Acts of Synod 2005, pp. 741-42)

12. It is important to the faithful and orderly exchange of ordained ministers that one who would serve in a congregation of another church first be formed and educated for ministry in one’s own tradition and have experience in serving in that church’s ordained ministry. Such experience and grounding in one’s own tradition are seen to be essential prior to serving in a setting of another tradition; therefore, such service is not intended for a first call.

(Acts of Synod 2011, p. 824)

E. Calling Ministers from Other Denominations

1. A church may consider calling a minister of another denomination only if it has put forth a sustained and realistic effort to obtain a minister from within the Christian Reformed Church or the Reformed Church in America. This shall apply only to a church which continues to have a viable ministry.

(Acts of Synod 2005, p. 742)

2. A minister of another denomination desiring to be declared eligible for a call to a Christian Reformed church shall make application to the Candidacy Committee. Once the application has been filed, the procedures prescribed by the Candidacy Committee in the “Journey Toward Ordination” document shall be followed.
3. A council shall not nominate a minister from another denomination for a call without the approval of its classis and the Candidacy Committee.
4. The need for calling a minister of another denomination shall be acknowledged when:
a. The minister to be called has such extraordinary qualifications that the church recognizes that it would be important for the denomination to acquire the minister’s service, or,
b. The need of a particular congregation for a pastor is so urgent that it can be met only by calling a minister from another denomination, or,
c. The minister is a new-church developer and is being called to start a new church, or
d. There is a need for indigenous leadership in a multicultural or ethnic minority church.
5. At the scheduled colloquium doctum, the applicant or nominee shall present a testimonial from the council or classis or presbytery by the Candidacy Committee, concerning the applicant’s or nominee’s purity of doctrine and sanctity of life.
(It is conceivable that just because the applicant is loyal to the Word and the creeds that the minister is adjudged persona non grata by their own ecclesiastical assemblies and that the minister would not be granted such a testimonial. Should such be the case, a careful preliminary investigation must be made by the classis in consultation with the synodical deputies. The report of this investigation, if satisfactory to the classis and synodical deputies, will serve under such circumstances in lieu of the testimonial.)
6. The following criteria shall be applied for approving or disapproving the proposed nominee or applicant:
a. soundness of doctrine
b. sanctity of life
c. knowledge and appreciation of Christian Reformed practice and usage
7. When ministers from other countries are being proposed for nomination or request an examination to be made eligible for call, the Candidacy Committee shall use the following additional criteria:
a. ability to speak, or learn, the English language
b. ability to adjust to the American/Canadian situation
c. age limit of forty years (as a general rule)
8. The proposed nominee or applicant, having sustained the examination and having received the approbation of the synodical deputies, may now be called or declared eligible for call, as the case may be. No further examination or colloquium doctum will be required.

(Adapted from Acts of Synod 1984, pp. 642-43)

F. Determination of Need

1. Synod directs the Candidacy Committee to take specific and special note of the “need” factor when requested to give their advice to the councils and/or classes in the calling of ministers from other denominations and in declaring ministers from other denominations available for call in the Christian Reformed Church at their own request.
2. Synod requires of the councils and/or classes such written specification of the “need” for approving such ministers and their calling as will satisfy the Candidacy Committee in their decision, which written specification shall then become part of the report of the Candidacy Committee to be submitted for synodical approval.

G. Joint Ministry of Ministers from Churches in Ecclesiastical Fellowship

Ministers of denominations in ecclesiastical fellowship with the Christian Reformed Church may be called by way of exception to serve in the Christian Reformed Church while jointly serving ministries within their own denominations. This arrangement requires the approval of classis and the concurrence of the synodical deputies. The specific need for their services must be demonstrated and the pension fund arrangements must be satisfactorily met in the denomination holding the minister’s credentials.
Ministers of denominations in ecclesiastical fellowship who so serve churches in the Christian Reformed Church will be accorded the right of delegation to classis and participation in classical committee work for the duration of their time of service in the Christian Reformed Church. This right of delegation and participation shall not extend beyond the boundaries of the classis.
The Christian Reformed Church will by way of exception allow its ministers to be called by a congregation of a denomination in ecclesiastical fellowship if such a minister jointly serves in a congregation of the denomination in ecclesiastical fellowship and in a congregation of the Christian Reformed Church.

(Acts of Synod 1997, p. 663)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 9

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
9

In nominating and calling a minister, the council shall seek the approval of the counselor who acts on behalf of classis to see that the ecclesiastical regulations have been observed. The council and counselor shall sign the letter of call and the counselor shall render an account of all matters processed to classis.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 10-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
10-a

The ordination of a candidate for the ministry of the Word requires the approval of the classis of the calling church and of the synodical deputies. The classis, in the presence of the deputies, shall examine the candidate concerning the candidate’s doctrine and life in accordance with synodical regulations. The ordination shall be accompanied by the laying on of hands by the officiating minister.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 10-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
10-b

The installation of a minister shall require the approval of the classis of the calling church or its interim committee, to which the minister shall have previously presented good ecclesiastical testimonials of doctrine and life which have been provided by the former council and classis.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 10

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 10

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
10

Rules of Procedure Related to Candidates

1. The letter of call to a candidate must indicate the provisional nature of this call until the classical examination has been sustained.
2. The date of ordination shall be officially announced only after the candidate has passed the examination.
3. The candidate shall preach a sermon on a text assigned by classis, in an official worship service in the presence of classical representatives, preferably on the Sunday preceding the meeting of classis, and in the calling church.
4. A copy of the candidate’s sermon shall be provided by classis to the synodical deputies and to the delegates to classis.
5. In addition to the required sermon on an assigned text, the candidate shall submit to each of the sermon critics of classis copies of two other sermons which were preached as a student, one based on a Scripture text and the other on a Lord’s Day of the Heidelberg Catechism. The combination of Scripture texts should include both the Old and the New Testament. These sermons shall not include those which have been used in practice preaching, or for academic evaluation, in the seminary.

(Acts of Synod 1975, p. 90)

6. Synod advises the classes, with reference to the credentials required by classes, that synod’s declaration of candidacy may be taken to certify that the candidates have met the requirements for candidacy. No further inquiry into these matters need ordinarily be made by a classis at the examination for ordination.

(Acts of Synod 1978, p. 24)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2009, p. 583)

7. Four classical delegates shall be appointed as the official examiners, two to function as sermon critics and to be present at the worship service in which the total sermon is being preached, and two to conduct the actual examination at the time classis meets.
8. Synod adopted the following schedule for classical examination:
a. Introduction: a classical examiner shall introduce the candidate to the classis.
b. The examination proper shall consist of inquiry into three main areas as follows:
1) Practica (no time limit)
a) The classical examiner shall inquire into the candidate’s relationship to God and commitment to the ministry, the candidate’s understanding of the meaning and relevance of the ministry for our times, loyalty to the church, and related matters.
b) The synodical deputies and delegates shall have opportunity to ask additional questions.
c) Before proceeding to the next area of inquiry, a motion to proceed shall carry.
2) Sermon Evaluation
a) In the presence of the candidate, the written sermon shall be evaluated, and attention shall be given to the candidate’s manner of conducting a worship service.
b) Additional questions with reference to the sermon and its delivery shall be allowed.
c) Before proceeding to the next area, a motion to proceed shall carry with the concurrence of the synodical deputies.
3) Biblical and Theological Position (minimum, thirty minutes per candidate)
a) The examiner shall inquire into the candidate’s biblical and theological judgment, competence, and soundness.
b) Opportunity shall be provided for additional questions (no specific time limit).
c. Procedure for admitting to the ministry:
1) A motion to admit shall be received and given preliminary consideration in executive session.
2) Prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit shall be offered.
3) The synodical deputies shall leave the floor to prepare their recommendation.
4) The classis shall vote by ballot.
5) The synodical deputies shall offer their written statement, from which it will become evident whether or not they can concur with the decision of classis.
6) In the event they do not concur, the classis and the synodical deputies may try to reach a unified decision.
7) In the event that agreement cannot be reached between them, the matter is automatically referred to the synod for final adjudication.

(Acts of Synod 1972, pp. 44-46)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 11

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
11

The calling of a minister of the Word is to proclaim, explain, and apply Holy Scripture in order to gather in and equip the members so that the church of Jesus Christ may be built up.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 12-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
12-a

A minister of the Word serving as pastor of a congregation shall preach the Word, administer the sacraments, conduct public worship services, catechize the youth, and train members for Christian service. The minister, with other officebearers, shall supervise the congregation and fellow officebearers, exercise admonition and discipline, see to it that everything is done decently and in order, exercise pastoral care over the congregation, and engage in and promote the work of evangelism and diaconal outreach.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 12-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
12-b

A minister of the Word who (1) enters into the work of missions, chaplaincy, or specialized transitional ministry; or (2) is appointed directly by synod; or (3) whose appointment is ratified by synod shall be called in the regular manner by a local church, which acts in cooperation with the appropriate committees of classis or synod.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 12-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
12-c

A minister of the Word may also serve the church in other work which relates directly to the calling of a minister, but only after the calling church has demonstrated to the satisfaction of classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, that said work is consistent with the calling of a minister of the Word.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 12-c

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 12-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
12-c

Regulations for the application of Article 12-c of the Church Order to specific tasks and situations:

a. The calling church shall secure the prior approval of classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, for each new ministerial position, by providing classis with the following information:
1) The description of the official position (purposes, duties, quali cations, etc.) as determined by the calling church in consultation with cooperating agencies as applicable.
2) The evidence that the minister will be directly accountable to the calling church, including an outline of requirements for reporting to the calling church, and supervision by the calling church, in consultation with cooperating agencies as applicable.
3) The demonstration that the position will be consistent with the calling as a minister of the Word.
4) When any position having been declared by a classis to be “spiritual in character and directly related to the ministerial calling” . . . becomes vacant, this position shall be reviewed in light of Articles 11-14 of the Church Order before another call is issued.
b. When a new ministry opportunity can be met only by immediate action, the calling church (and the appropriate denominational agency) may obtain provisional approval from the classical committee, subject to subsequent approval by classis with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies. In the event that the provisional approval is not sustained and the minister desires to continue in the position, the minister may be honorably released from office and may be readmitted according to the regulations of the Church Order. (Cf. Article 14-e.)
c. Prior to calling a minister of the Word to any chaplaincy ministry, the calling church also is required to obtain the endorsement of the Office of Chaplaincy Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church (Acts of Synod 1973, p. 56; amended Acts of Synod 1998, p. 391).
d. The church visitors of classis shall inquire annually into the supervision of the calling church toward said minister(s) as well as the reporting of said minister(s) to the calling church. The church visitors shall inform classis of departure from the approved provisions for supervision and reporting.

(Acts of Synod 1978, pp. 47-48)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 13-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
13-a

A minister of the Word serving as pastor of a congregation is directly accountable to the calling church, and therefore shall be supervised in doctrine, life, and duties by that church.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 13-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
13-b

A minister of the Word whose work is with other than the calling church shall be supervised by the calling church in cooperation with other congregations, institutions, or agencies involved. The council of the calling church shall have primary responsibility for supervision of doctrine and life. The congregations, institutions, or agencies, where applicable, shall have primary responsibility for supervision of duties.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 13-b

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 13-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
13-b

If any council, agency, or institution of the CRC involved in the cooperative supervision of a minister of the Word learns about significant deviation in doctrine, life, or duties, it shall officially inform in writing its partner(s) in that supervision about such deviation before any action is taken that affects that minister’s status and future. A similar communication officially informing its partner(s) in supervision is expected from an agency or institution when a minister’s status is altered at a time of downsizing or position elimination.
Provisions for cooperative supervision of ministers of the Word working for agencies and institutions not directly under the authority of the synod of the CRCNA are to be formulated and processed according to the regulations contained in Church Order Supplement, Article 12-c and the provisions regarding chaplains adopted by Synod 1998 (see Acts of Synod 1998, pp. 391-92, 457-60).

(Acts of Synod 2002, pp. 469-70)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 13-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
13-c

A minister of the Word may be loaned temporarily by the calling church to serve as pastor of a congregation outside of the Christian Reformed Church, but only with the approval of classis, the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, and in accordance with the synodical regulations. Although the specific duties may be regulated in cooperation with the other congregation, the supervision of doctrine and life rests with the calling church.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 13-c

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 13-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
13-c

Regulations Pertaining to Article 13-c of the Church Order

A minister whose service is requested by a congregation outside the Christian Reformed Church may be loaned temporarily to serve such a church while still retaining ministerial status in the Christian Reformed Church in keeping with the following regulations:

a. The congregation seeking the services of the Christian Reformed minister is desirous of the Reformed faith and seriously contemplates af liation with the Christian Reformed Church or some other Reformed denomination, or is already in a Reformed denomination and seeks to be strengthened in the Reformed faith.
b. The minister contemplating service in a nondenominational church acknowledges this as an opportunity to encourage such a church to affiliate with either the Christian Reformed Church or a Reformed denomination similar to the Christian Reformed Church.
c. The duties of the minister are spiritual in character and directly related to the ministerial calling, and such duties do not conflict with the minister’s commitment to the faith and practice of the Christian Reformed Church as required by one’s signature to the Covenant for Officebearers.
d. If the congregation to be served is in close proximity to a Christian Reformed congregation of another classis, the approval of that classis shall be required, in addition to the approval of the classis of the minister’s calling church, and the synodical deputies.
e. The loaning of such ministerial services may be for a period of time not to exceed two years. Extension of not more than two years each may be granted if circumstances warrant, with the approval of classis and the synodical deputies.
f. Should the minister become subject to discipline, the non-Christian Reformed congregation which is being served shall have the right to suspend the minister from serving that church, but suspension from office and deposition may be applied only by the Christian Reformed Church.
g. Continuation under the Christian Reformed Church Pension Plan shall require that the minister, or the non-Christian Reformed church which is being served, shall contribute to the ministers’ pension fund the amount which is determined annually by the Ministers’ Pension Funds committees for ministers serving in extraordinary positions outside of our denomination.

(Acts of Synod 1976, pp. 33-34)
(Acts of Synod 2011, p. 872)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 14-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
14-a

A minister of the Word shall not leave the congregation with which the minister is connected for another church without the consent of the council.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 14-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
14-b

A minister of the Word who resigns from the ministry in the Christian Reformed Church to enter a ministry outside the denomination shall be released from office by the classis with an appropriate declaration reflecting the resigned minister’s status and with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 14-b

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 14-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
14-b

Declaration regarding ministers who resign from the CRC

a. Synod directed the churches and classes dealing with ministers who depart from the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) in order to seek ordination in the ministry of the Word in another church to take note of the statement made by Synod 1978 that “Synod has instructed all our churches and classes that in all cases of resignation a proper resolution of dismissal must be adopted with the concurring advice of synodical deputies” and to realize that this statement allows for a broad degree of flexibility in responding to such situations (cf. Acts of Synod 1978, p. 73).
b. Synod directed the churches and classes to take into account the manner and spirit in which a minister has acted during the time leading up to and including departure from office when determining what action to take. (Some situations may require a deposition; others may require only a simple release from office.)
c. Synod encouraged the churches and classes
1) To recognize carefully the conditions and circumstances of a particular case that may come to their attention (e.g., whether it be a formal or a de facto resignation) and, having done so,
2) To make a declaration re ecting the resigned minister’s status that is appropriate to the way and spirit in which the minister acted during the time leading up to and including the minister’s resignation from office. Such a declaration could reflect one of the following:
a) The resigned minister is honorably released.
b) The resigned minister is released.
c) The resigned minister is dismissed.
d) The resigned minister is in the status of one deposed.
Note: In distinction from a minister who retires, any resigned minister no longer retains the honor and title of minister of the Word in, nor has an official connection with, the Christian Reformed Church in North America (cf. Church Order Article 18-b).
d. Synod encouraged churches and classes to prayerfully consider the following principles in their deliberations:
1) Schismatic activities are to be considered a serious violation of the sacred trust associated with ordination and a dishonoring of God which results in pain and brokenness in the body of Christ.
2) All declarations by churches and classes should clearly evidence hope for the possibility of restoration and mutual reconciliation.

(Acts of Synod 1993, pp. 581-82)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 14-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
14-c

A minister of the Word, once lawfully called, may not forsake the office. A minister may, however, be released from office to enter upon a non-ministerial vocation for such weighty reasons as shall receive the approval of the classis with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 14-c

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 14-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
14-c

The provisions of Supplement, Article 14-b also apply to Article 14-c, especially in those situations when ministers resign under discipline or to avoid discipline.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 14-d

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
14-d

A minister of the Word who has entered upon a vocation which classis judges to be non-ministerial shall be released from office within one year of that judgment. The concurring advice of the synodical deputies shall be obtained at the time of the judgment.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 14-e

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
14-e

A former minister of the Word who was released from office may be declared eligible for call upon approval of the classis by which such action was taken, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies. The classis, in the presence of the deputies, shall conduct an interview that examines the circumstances surrounding the release and the renewed desire to serve in ministry. Upon acceptance of a call, the person shall be re-ordained.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 15

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
15

Each church through its council shall provide for the proper support of its minister(s). By way of exception and with the approval of classis, a church and minister may agree that a minister obtain primary or supplemental income by means of other employment. Ordinarily the foregoing exception shall be limited to churches that cannot obtain assistance adequate to support their minister.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 15

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 15

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
15

“Proper Support” Defined

Proper support of a church’s minister is to include an adequate salary, medical insurance, a housing provision, payment to the denomination’s ministers’ pension plan, a continuing education stipend, and other employment-related items.

(Acts of Synod 2004, p. 611)

Guidelines for Churches Whose Ministers Receive Salary Support from Other Employment

1. The church is responsible for a total compensation package proportionate to the time spent in ministry to the church (forty-eight hours equals full time). The compensation package shall ordinarily be based on synodically stated minimum salary, fringe bene ts, and housing costs.
2. Since the compensation package includes a percentage allowance for health insurance, the minister is expected to secure adequate health insurance for the minister and the minister’s family.
3. The value of the parsonage provided by the congregation may be used for part or all of the compensation package.
4. The minister shall receive pension credits in the Ministers’ Pension Fund proportionate to the percentage of time devoted to the duties of the church. Eligibility for full pension credit may be secured if full contribution to the Ministers’ Pension Plan is made.
5. The nature and amount of time of the task(s) other than ministry shall be specified. The average amount of time expended upon the total of the ministerial and nonministerial tasks shall not exceed sixty hours per week.

(Acts of Synod 1987, p. 572)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 16

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
16

A minister who for valid reasons desires a temporary leave of absence from service to the congregation must have the approval of the council, which shall continue to have supervision over the minister. In all cases of a temporary leave of absence the minister shall return to service in that congregation.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 17-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
17-a

Ministers who are neither eligible for retirement nor worthy of discipline may for weighty reasons be released from active ministerial service in a congregation through action initiated by themselves, by a council, or jointly. Such release shall be given only with the approval of classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, and in accordance with synodical regulations.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 17-a

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 17-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
17-a

Provisions regulating release from ministerial service in a congregation

a. If a classis decides a released minister needs evaluation and assistance before accepting another call, it shall specify at the time of release what is required before the minister is declared eligible for call.
1) The classis shall appoint an oversight committee of no fewer than three persons to plan and monitor an evaluation of readiness for the ministry that focuses on professional competence and personal/ emotional status. An evaluator or evaluators mutually agreed upon by the classis and the oversight committee shall conduct the evaluation. (Pastor-Church Relations is able to recommend appropriate evaluators.) Classis shall determine who is responsible for any costs of evaluation or stipulated personal counseling.
a) The committee, composed of both laity and clergy, may include one council member of the congregation involved in the separation.
b) The committee, in consultation with the interim committee of classis, shall develop specific expectations for the minister and shall monitor progress toward established goals. The issues addressed shall be determined by concerns raised by the council and the classis in collaboration with the minister.
c) The committee shall present a progress report at each regularly scheduled classis meeting.
d) After it has received the report of the evaluator(s), the committee shall make a recommendation to classis regarding the minister’s eligibility for call.
2) The minister shall participate in the evaluation and assistance process as follows:
a) The minister shall consent to the release of a detailed report, with recommendations, from the evaluator(s) to the oversight committee.
b) In addition to the evaluation stipulated above, the minister shall engage in any personal counseling required by classis with a therapist mutually agreed upon by the minister and the oversight committee.
3) Based upon the recommendation of its oversight committee, the classis shall make the final decision concerning the minister’s readiness to be declared eligible for call.
4) If the classis does not declare the minister eligible for call, it shall, with the concurrence of the synodical deputies, release the minister from of ce.
5) With the approval of classis, a minister who has been released from service in a congregation may transfer his/her membership and ministerial credentials to a neighboring council within the classis during the evaluation process. If classis declares the minister eligible for call, the council that holds the minister’s credentials shall publicize the minister’s availability.
6) With the approval of classis, a minister who has been released from service in a congregation may transfer his/ her membership and ministerial credentials to a council in another classis after the classis in which the separation occurred declares the minister eligible for call. The council that holds the minister’s credentials shall publicize the minister’s availability.
b. If a classis decides a congregation that has been separated from its minister needs a time of evaluation and assistance before extending another call, it shall specify at the time of separation what is required before the congregation calls another minister.
1) The classis shall appoint an oversight committee composed of the council’s classical counselor and at least two other persons to plan and monitor the evaluation process.
2) In conjunction with the church council, the committee shall secure interim pastoral leadership, preferably a specialized interim pastor, and set goals. (Pastor-Church Relations is able to assist with securing pastoral leadership.)
3) The committee shall present a progress report at each regularly scheduled classis meeting.
4) Based upon the recommendation of its oversight committee, the classis shall make the  nal decision concerning the congregation’s readiness to extend a call.

(Acts of Synod 2003, pp. 623-24)

Note: Councils and classes should take note of the regulations regarding “release from ministerial service” adopted by Synod 1998 (see Acts of Synod 1998, pp. 392-96) and as amended by Synod 2010 (see Acts of Synod 2010, pp. 915-16).

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 17-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
17-b

The council shall provide for the support of a released minister in such a way and for such a time as shall receive the approval of classis.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 17-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
17-c

A minister of the Word who has been released from active ministerial service in a congregation shall be eligible for call for a period of two years, after which time the classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, shall declare the minister to be released from the ministerial office. For weighty reasons the classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, may extend the eligibility for call on a yearly basis.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 17-d

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
17-d

In some situations, the classis may decide that it cannot declare the released minister eligible for call after the minister has completed the process of evaluation and assistance. The classis, with the concurring advice of the synodical deputies, shall then declare the minister to be released from ministerial office.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 18-a

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
18-a

A minister who has reached retirement age, or who because of physical or mental disability is incapable of performing the duties of the office, is eligible for retirement. Retirement shall take place with the approval of the council and classis and in accordance with synodical regulations.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 18-b

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
18-b

A retired minister shall retain the title of minister of the Word and the authority, conferred by the church, to perform official acts of ministry. Supervision shall remain with the church last served unless transferred to another congregation. The supervising church shall be responsible for providing honorably for the minister’s support and that of qualifying dependents according to synodical regulations.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 18-c

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
18-c

Should the reasons for retirement no longer exist, the minister emeritus shall request the council and classis which recommended the retirement to declare the minister eligible for call.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 18

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 18

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
18

Retirement

Ministers shall have the privilege of retiring at the age of sixty-six years, if they so desire.

(Acts of Synod 2011, p. 813)

Ministerial professors in the college and seminary shall be granted the privilege of honorable retirement with full retirement bene ts at the age of sixty-five, if they so desire.

(Acts of Synod 1960, p. 53)

Supervision of an emeritus minister (except when the minister remains as a member in the congregation, or when the emeritation is expected to be of a temporary nature) may be transferred, at the minister’s request, to the church where they become a member after emeritation.
This transfer is to be made in the following manner: the council of the church which the emeritus minister served last formally requests the council of the church which the emeritus minister wishes to join, to exercise supervision over the minister.

(Acts of Synod 1968, p. 69)

Early Retirement Option

Ministers of the Word shall be granted the privilege of retiring at the age of fifty-five years, with the approval of the classes involved, under the reduced pension scale adopted by Synod 2011.

(Acts of Synod 1993, p. 579)
(Acts of Synod 2011, p. 813)

“Official Acts of Ministry”

1) Certain acts of ministry — among them the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, the pronouncement of blessings for the people, the laying of hands on new leaders, and the reception and formal dismissal of members — are part of the ministry of Christ to his followers and are entrusted to the church and, within the church, to its ordained leaders, not to a specific office.
2) Therefore, no long-standing, organized congregation of Christians should be deprived of these liturgical acts simply because it cannot provide for the presence of an ordained minister or commissioned pastor.
3) These acts of ministry symbolize and strengthen the relationships among the Lord, leaders, and the people of God. Their use is a sacred trust given to leaders by the Lord for the purpose of strengthening the flock. Therefore the administration of these acts should continue to be regulated by the church.

(Acts of Synod 2001, p. 504)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 19

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
19

The churches shall maintain a theological seminary at which persons are trained for the ministry of the Word. The seminary shall be governed by synod through a board of trustees appointed by synod and responsible to it.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 20

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
20

The task of the ministers of the Word who are appointed as professors of theology is to train the seminary students for the ministry of the Word, expound the Word of God, and vindicate sound doctrine against heresies and errors.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 21

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
21

The churches shall encourage individuals to seek to become ministers of the Word and, in coordination with classis, shall grant financial aid to those who are in need of it.

— Cf. Supplement, Articles 6, 7, and 8

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 22

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Article
22

Students who have received licensure according to synodical regulations shall be permitted to exhort in the public worship services.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 22

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 22

I. The Offices of the Church

B. The Ministers of the Word

Supplement, Article
22

A. Rules for Licensure

1. The Candidacy Committee may grant licensure to conduct religious services in our churches only to such as
a. are approved as students for minister of the Word and enrolled in a seminary program.
b. have successfully completed the  nal examinations of one full year of seminary including work in biblical, theological, and preaching courses.
2. The Candidacy Committee shall not grant licensure to such students until it has made sure of the following with respect to such applicants:
a. That they are members in good standing in our churches.
b. That they have spiritual qualifications necessary for the ministry, and that they consider themselves called of God to prepare themselves for the of ce of ministering the gospel of Jesus Christ.
c. That they intend to enter the ministry of the Christian Reformed Church.
d. That they have sufficient knowledge of the Bible, and especially of our Reformed principles, to act as a guide to others.
e. That they speak acceptably and to the edification of the churches. It is left to the discretion of the Candidacy Committee, however, whether it will obtain this information by consulting the seminary faculty or by examining the applicant.
3. The Candidacy Committee has the right to extend the licensure of those who want to take post-graduate work, but with the understanding
a. that this privilege is to be granted to those who are taking post-graduate work and declare that it is their definite intention to enter the ministry of the Christian Reformed Church.
b. that this extension is valid for no more than one year.
c. that further extension may be given at the end of the first year in case the applicant makes a request in writing, and at the end of the second year if applicants appear in person and are willing to submit to another examination (the latter part of this Rule 3, c does not apply to those who are taking post- graduate work outside of the United States or Canada).
4. The Candidacy Committee is obliged to revoke the licensure
a. of those who have completed their theological studies but have failed to take steps to enter into the sacred ministry of the Word.
b. of those undergraduates who either discontinue their studies or fail to enroll again at the seminary.

(Acts of Synod 1936, pp. 46-48)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2004, pp. 619-20)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2010, p. 909)

B. Licensure of International Students

1. The student must be a communicant member of a sound Reformed church and must be a regular or special student at our seminary.
2. The student must have sufficient training at our school so that the faculty can make a recommendation regarding their academic competence and ability to speak fluent English.
3. The student must have completed the course in homiletics required of our students or passed an equivalent course in some other school, and must demonstrate the ability to exhort to the satisfaction of our professor in homiletics.
4. The request for licensure must be sent to the Candidacy Committee.
5. The Candidacy Committee or its designees must interview the applicant.
6. The exhorting of the student must be under the auspices of Calvin Theological Seminary; the student may not make individual arrangements.
7. Licensure will be in force while the student is enrolled as a student at Calvin Theological Seminary. Extension of licensure must be made by special application.

(Acts of Synod 1961, p. 36)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) CI.C.

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 23-a

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Article
23-a

Commissioned pastors shall be acknowledged as such in their calling churches. Normally, their work on the church council shall be limited to the ministries in which they serve as commissioned pastors.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 23-a

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 23-a

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Supplement, Article
23-a

General Regulations

The office of commissioned pastor is applicable to a variety of ministries, provided that these ministries fit the guidelines adopted by Synod 2001 and that the other Church Order and synodical regulations for the office of commissioned pastor are observed. These include ministries such as education, evangelism, pastoral care, music, and ministries to children, youth, adults, and others within or outside of the congregation. Before examining a person for the office of commissioned pastor or granting permission to install a previously ordained commissioned pastor in a new position, the classis, with the concurring advice of synodical deputies, will determine whether or not the position to which the person is being called fits the guidelines adopted by Synod 2001. In addition, the candidates for the office of commissioned pastor must have proven ability to function in the ministry to which they are being called.

Before a person who will serve as the solo pastor of an emerging or an organized church is examined for a position as a commissioned pastor, that person, in cooperation with classis, shall develop and complete a contextualized learning plan, adopted by classis and approved by the Candidacy Committee. Ordinarily the learning plan would include an introduction to the CRC Church Order, CRC history, CRC ministry, CRC creeds and confessions, Reformed hermeneutics, and an introduction to the discipline and art of preaching.

The candidate shall also sustain a classical examination. The concurrence of synodical deputies is not required for the examination of a candidate for the office of commissioned pastor. The classical examination shall include the following elements:
1) Presentation of the following documents
a) A council recommendation from the church in which the appointee holds membership
b) Evidence (diplomas, transcripts, etc.) of formal general education and of specialized training in the ministry area to which the candidate is being called
c) A copy of the letter of appointment from the church that is requesting ordination of the candidate as commissioned pastor
d) A copy of the candidate’s letter of acceptance
2) Where applicable, presentation of a sermon
a) In an official worship service, preferably on the Sunday preceding the meeting of classis and in the church to which the candidate for ordination has been called, the commissioned pastor shall preach a sermon on a text assigned by classis. Two members of classis shall be present to serve as sermon critics.
b) A copy of the sermon shall be provided to the classical delegates. In the presence of the commissioned pastor, the sermon critics shall evaluate the sermon and the commissioned pastor’s manner of conducting the entire worship service.
3) Examination in the following areas
a) Knowledge of Scripture
b) Knowledge of Reformed doctrine
c) Knowledge of the standards of the church and the Church Order
d) Practical matters regarding Christian testimony, walk of life, relationships with others, love for the church, approach to ministry, and promotion of Christ’s kingdom
The classis shall ensure that the candidate meets the standards of character, knowledge, and skill adopted by Synod 2004 (Acts of Synod 2004, p. 619) and inserted below.
The classis shall also ensure that commissioned pastors, especially those working at some distance from their calling congregations, will have proper supervision and support for their ministry.
When the commissioned pastors accept another call, their ordination shall require the approval of the classis to which their calling church belongs, to which the commissioned pastors shall have presented good ecclesiastical testimonies of doctrine and life given to them by their former council and classis.
A calling church that terminates the service of a person in an approved commissioned pastor position must seek the concurrence of the classis in which approval was given.

Elements of a Good Job Description

1. A description of the functions and responsibilities that are ministerial in nature (see the first paragraph of Church Order Supplement, Artricle 23-a).
2. A description of the supervision and lines of accountability for the position.
3. Specific notation of whether preaching and/or administering the sacraments are to be included in the position.

(Acts of Synod 2012, p. 741)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2013, p. 557)

Standards to be Met by Those Seeking to be Ordained as a Commissioned Pastor

An examination for the office of commissioned pastor will require that all commissioned pastors meet the church’s standards for character and knowledge, whereas the standards for skill competence will relate specifically to the particular commissioned pastor’s area of calling and expertise.

Qualifications for a Commissioned Pastor

Character

The commissioned pastor is mature in Christ. “Christ-likeness” covers all of what it means to be godly. The following guidelines, which are rooted in Scripture (references are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive), suggest many aspects of godly character:
1. Devoted to Jesus - The commissioned pastor is “in Christ” (John 15: 5), filled with his Spirit (Acts 1: 8), and exercises personal spiritual disciplines.
2. Committed to the church and its mission (Acts 20: 28, 1 Peter 5: 1-4, Eph. 4: 11-13, 1 Tim. 5: 22) - The commissioned pastor is a person in Christian community. She/he has been tested and proven. She/he has been recognized as prepared for ministry by the community of believers and evidences accountability to it.
3. Called and gifted (Matt. 28: 16ff, Acts 1: 8) - The commissioned pastor has a calling from God that is confirmed by the church. That calling provides her/him with a mission, with vision, and with intrinsic motivation. She/he ministers out of giftedness (1 Cor. 12, Rom. 12, etc.).
4. Filled with love (Matt. 22: 37-40) - The commissioned pastor is characterized by love — love of God, love of self, and love of others, including lost and diverse people.
5. Possesses the fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23) - The commissioned pastor gives evidence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
6. Possesses the qualities of an officebearer (1 Tim. 3: 1-13, Titus 1: 5-9) - The commissioned pastor demonstrates such qualities as being: reputable, loyal, self-disciplined, respected, hospitable, mature, honest, sincere, teachable and able to teach, emotionally stable, blameless, lover of God and not money, resilient, responsible, not quick-tempered, not overbearing, not quarrelsome, not abusive (of others or substances), managing her/his own household well (including spousal support of ministry), risk-taking,  exible, adaptable, etc.
7. Has a servant’s heart (Matt. 20: 26) - The commissioned pastor is a servant-leader.
8. Possesses wisdom (Prov. 1: 1-7) - The commissioned pastor lives according to God’s design, recognizes Christ as “wisdom from God” (1 Cor. 1: 30, Col. 2: 3), and seeks wisdom from above (James 1: 5, 3: 13).
9. Manages life well - The commissioned pastor practices good stewardship of time, talents,  nances, and physical creation (Gen. 1: 27-28, Ps. 8: 6-8).
10. Eager to learn - The commissioned pastor is a lifelong learner, ever studying God’s word and world (Ps. 19) and demonstrates that she/he has been and is currently being mentored.

Biblical Knowledge

The commissioned pastor has a working knowledge of the Bible in her/his native language, and:
1. is able to identify Scripture’s main themes (covenant, kingdom of God, missio Dei, etc.) and to locate their place in the redemptive history that is centered in Christ;
2. has command of the divisions of Scripture (Law, prophets, gospels, epistles, etc.), the historical and literary contexts of each biblical book, and basic hermeneutical principles required to interpret them;
3. is able to demonstrate knowledge of key Scripture passages, and to apply them appropriately to life and ministry.
Based on the above, the commissioned pastor is able to prepare and preach/teach meaningful and motivational messages/lessons that are true to Scripture. The commissioned pastor is able to communicate clearly the gospel to unbelievers and believers.

Theological Knowledge

1. The commissioned pastor has knowledge of doctrinal standards and systematic theology at the level of Berkhof’s Manual of Christian Doctrine. This would include knowledge of Reformed systematic theology, the Ecumenical Creeds, and the three confessional standards of the Christian Reformed Church. Furthermore, the commissioned pastor is able to differentiate and defend the Reformed faith biblically from other systems of thought, both Christian and non-Christian. She/he is able to reflect from a biblical perspective on the cultures, circumstances, and events of everyday life and ministry.
2. The commissioned pastor has a basic knowledge of church history (including Christian Reformed Church history and culture) and is able to apply its lessons to present reality and ministry.

Skill - Practice of Ministry

Commissioned pastors give evidence of ministry skills. The skills necessary for ministry are many, and not all commissioned pastors possess them in the same measure. Someone in a ministry position will be expected to demonstrate skills in relation to the particularity of her/his position. Commissioned pastors, whether in specialized ministry within an organized congregation or in new church development, use skills to lead the church of Jesus Christ to fulfill the New Testament purposes of outreach, worship, fellowship, discipleship, and service. Some necessary ministry skills are:
1. Leadership & Administration - The commissioned pastor is able to help people and the church move from where they are to where God wants them to be. To do this, commissioned pastors possess such skills as: casting vision; creating ownership; creating functional organizational systems; resolving conflict; developing gift-based ministries; planning ministry; developing and mentoring leaders; and managing time, money, and people (according to principles of CRC polity).
2. Outreach - The commissioned pastor is able personally to share (witness); to defend (apologetics) the faith; and to lead the church in reaching out to the lost, in receiving them, and in developing new churches.
3. Worship - The commissioned pastor is able to prepare and deliver messages/teach lessons (homiletics), administer the sacraments, and lead in worship and prayer.
4. Pastoral Care - The commissioned pastor possesses relational skills that enable her/him to provide personally and through the church (corporately) pastoral care, visitation, small groups, youth ministry, spiritual counsel, and conduct of weddings and funerals.
5. Fellowship - The commissioned pastor is able to foster a nurturing Christian community.
6. Discipleship - The commissioned pastor is able to raise up, teach, and nurture disciple-making disciples.
7. Service - The commissioned pastor is able to respond to personal and community needs by mobilizing the church for ministry.
8. Specialized - The commissioned pastor has any necessary skills specific to her/his particular calling within the church.

(See Acts of Synod 2004, p. 619 and Agenda for Synod 2004, pp. 373-75)
(Amended Acts of Synod 2009, pp. 583-84)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 23-b

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Article
23-b

Ordinarily, the office of commissioned pastors who serve in emerging congregations will terminate when a group of believers becomes an organized church. However, upon organization and with the approval of the newly formed council and the classis, commissioned pastors may continue to serve the newly organized church until an ordained minister of the Word is installed or until they have served the newly organized church for a reasonable period of transition. Commissioned pastors who continue to serve a newly organized congregation beyond this reasonable period of transition must seek the permission of classis with the concurrence of the synodical deputies.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 23-c

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Article
23-c

Commissioned pastors may also serve in organized congregations along with a minister of the Word and may serve as chaplains in institutional settings in the community. Commissioned pastors who have served an organized congregation along with a minister of the Word may, in exceptional circumstances, with the approval of classis and the concurrence of synodical deputies, continue serving that congregation as a solo pastor after the minister of the Word has left.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 23-c

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 23-c

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Supplement, Article
23-c

The mandate, characteristics, and guiding principles that define chaplains ordained as ministers of the Word are applicable to chaplains ordained under Article 23.

(Acts of Synod 2003, p. 613)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 23-d

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Article
23-d

Commissioned pastors may be called to serve as solo pastors in organized congregations if the classis, with the concurring advice of synodical deputies, ascertains that such congregations are from a ministry context where the standards for pastoral preparation required by Articles 6, 7, or 8 are not presently practical.

— Cf. Supplement, Article 23-d

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Ubp. Art. 23-d

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Supplement, Article
23-d

Guideline for calling a commissioned pastor to an organized congregation

The ministry context is ordinarily one in which cultural differences (e.g., ethnic, social, economic, educational, language) between the congregation and its ministry context on the one hand, and the dominant culture of the denomination as expressed in the seminary, other leadership development entities, and broader denominational life on the other hand (a) present significant obstacles to raising up indigenous leadership in ways that are sustainable by the respective congregations and communities, and (b) have resulted in limited- or non-availability of competent indigenous leaders trained for ministry via one of the prescribed routes for ministry of the Word.

(Acts of Synod 2008, p. 520)

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 23-e

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Article
23-e

Commissioned pastors who desire to serve beyond their specific field of labor must secure the approval of their consistories and classes.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 24-a

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Article
24-a

The task of the commissioned pastor is to bear witness to Christ through the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, church education, pastoral care, evangelism, and other ministries in order that believers may be called to comprehensive discipleship and unbelievers may be called to faith.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 24-b

I. The Offices of the Church

C. The Commissioned Pastors

Article
24-b

Commissioned pastors shall function under the direct supervision of the council, giving regular reports to it and being present at its meetings, particularly when their work is under consideration.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) CI.D.

I. The Offices of the Church

D. The Elders and Deacons

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 25-a

I. The Offices of the Church

D. The Elders and Deacons

Article
25-a

The elders and deacons shall serve for a limited time as designated by the council. The length of term should be appropriate for continuity and succession of ministry leadership. Retiring officebearers shall be succeeded by others unless the circumstances and the profit of the church make immediate eligibility for reelection advisable. Elders and deacons who are thus reelected shall be reinstalled.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 25-b

I. The Offices of the Church

D. The Elders and Deacons

Article
25-b

The elders, with the minister(s), shall oversee the doctrine and life of the members of the congregation and fellow officebearers, shall provide counsel and discipline along with pastoral care in the congregation, shall participate in and promote evangelism, and shall defend the faith. As shepherds of the church, they shall encourage and support the members in their Christian life. The elders also shall nurture in the congregation grateful and obedient participation in the Lord’s Supper through encouragement, instruction, and accountability.

Kerkorde CRCNA (2010) Art. 25-c

I. The Offices of the Church

D. The Elders and Deacons

Article
25-c

The deacons shall represent and administer the mercy of Christ to all people, especially to those who belong to the community of believers. Deacons shall lead the members in ways that inspire faithful stewardship of their time, talents, and resources and so give life in this world the shape of God’s kingdom. Thus deacons shall create and encourage participation in structures and ministries of mercy, justice, and reconciliation, both locally and globally. All of this shall be done with words of biblical encouragement and testimony, which assure the unity of word and deed.