How Do I Become a Pastor in the Christian Reformed Church?

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There are several routes to becoming ordained as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. Find brief descriptions of each route below. For more detailed information, contact the Candidacy office or click on the resources link on the Journey Toward Ordination page.

  • the “seminary training route” (Church Order Article 6).
    • Persons seeking to become a candidate in the CRCNA are highly encouraged to look into the MDiv program at Calvin Theological Seminary, which is the official seminary of the CRCNA. The program is offered both in a residence format and in a distance learning format.
    • Those who attend other seminaries should make sure: 
      • the MDiv program is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.
      • the MDiv program integrates the EPMC (Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidates), which is an accredited program offered through Calvin Seminary in either the residence or distance learning format. The credits from this program can be transferred into other accredited seminaries as either elective or substitute courses. More information on the EPMC is available in the Candidacy Google Drive site (specifically section 2.4.1).

Financial aid for the MDiv degree and for the EPMC is generally available through a student fund committee of a regional classis in the CRCNA. Please contact your local CRC pastors or the student fund committee of the classis in your region.

  • the “exceptional giftedness route” (Church Order Article 7).
  • the route for those already ordained in another denomination (Church Order Article 8).
    • For pastors ordained in other denominations who are looking to become ordained in the CRCNA, please click here for more information.
  • the route to ordination as a Commissioned Pastor (Church order Article 23).
    • Commissioned Pastors are appointed at the local level with permission of the regional body, the classis. They serve in a variety of positions as approved by the classis. These positions include church planting, various associate church staff positions, chaplaincy positions in various settings, and missionary positions. For more information, click here.

If you have further questions, please leave a comment below or contact director of candidacy, David Koll ([email protected]). 

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