FFM Meeting

Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy Requirements

  1. Fall semester in residence at Calvin Theological Seminary (show | hide)

    The dates for the 2011 fall semester for EPMC students are September 6 through December 16

    • September 6 - First day of class
    • October 10 - 14 One week Canadian Thanksgiving break
    • November 21 - 25 One week U.S. Thanksgiving break
    • December 13-16 Logos Seminar

    (Please note that in the new semester schedule, the EPMC summer seminar has been eliminated.)

    Admitted students do not need to register for these courses. The Registrar will do that for you and inform you by e-mail when registration is complete.

    • The Heidelberg Catechism (3 hours)
    • CRC: History and Polity (3 hours)
    • Practicum for Preaching in the CRC (2 hours)
    • Reformed Biblical Hermeneutics (2 hours)

    Syllabi will be available August 1.

  2. Mentored Ministries (including field education) (show | hide)

    "Formation for Ministry" is the integrating principle of all professional degree programs at Calvin Theological Seminary (CTS). Formation focuses upon the whole person: head, heart, hands, all in the context of community. Formation transcends the separation between academic and practical, between the classroom and the church. Formation seeks to make every part of the learning experience form students into increasingly faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.

    The entire Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (EPMC) is also rooted in this formation vision. However, "Mentored Ministries" in this section of the EPMC description is a specialized term that refers more narrowly to the EPMC requirements that involve the person in ministry and are managed by the Mentored Ministries Office whose director is Al Gelder.

    The "Mentored Ministries" component of the EPMC includes the four activities listed below. Please note that the first three activities are not sequential but should all be addressed at the outset of one's EPMC journey and early in one's M.Div. program.

    1. Congregational Internship (show | hide)

      Students must complete 600 hours (12 weeks full time or its equivalent) of supervised, congregation-based, ministry leadership experience that offers significant engagement with congregational ministry and opportunity to accomplish the Mentored Ministries Program Goals.

      The good news is that EPMC students can satisfy part, or sometimes all, of this requirement as part of their M.Div. program at another seminary and long before they ever take a course at CTS! By seeking admission to CTS early in their M.Div. studies at another seminary and planning their congregational internship experience at their seminary in consultation with the CTS Director of Mentored Ministries, students can receive maximal credit for congregational internship experience. The Director of Mentored Ministries will also assist EPMC students who need more congregational ministry experience and internship credit in securing a congregational internship (usually during the summer before the fall quarter in residency) that will achieve the Program Goals.

      Students should consult with the Director of Mentored Ministries (DoMM) as early as possible in their M.Div. program and should initiate the following two steps:

      1. Gather for presentation to the DoMM the following materials:
        • A concise summary of all ministry leadership experiences and congregational internship experience(s) that contribute to the Mentored Ministries Program Goals. This summary should include the names and locations of any congregation(s) with which you served and a description of your ministry responsibilities. (Ideally students will be contacting the Director of Mentored Ministries before they have congregational internship experience, but past experience indicates that many students do already have congregational internship experience by the time they matriculate at CTS.)
        • Any documentation related to the above ministry experiences, e.g., job descriptions, statement of internship objectives, self evaluations, supervisor evaluations, mentor reports, council evaluations, etc.
      2. Schedule a meeting with the DoMM. Ideally this meeting would be in person but it can be by phone if necessary. The purposes of this meeting are to:
        • review the materials presented, and, if available, the psychological evaluation report (see below);
        • in situations where students already have congregational internship experience, determine whether the amount and range of congregation-based ministry experience is adequate to satisfy the 600 hour program requirement and meet the Program Goals;
        • construct a plan through which outstanding requirements, if any, can be met and Program Goals achieved.
    2. Psychological Assessment (show | hide)

      A thorough psychological assessment is required of all those seeking ministerial candidacy in the CRCNA.

      CTS makes use of a staff of high quality psychologists who are aware of the peculiar demands of pastoral ministry and assess students' strengths and weakness with a view to increasing their effectiveness in pastoral ministry. The assessment guides students and seminary staff in maximizing learning and growth for each student.

      Ideally this assessment can take place early in the student's seminary studies thereby allowing time for the student to address the psychologists' recommendations in the context of a supervised internship. In reality, for many students this assessment takes place and is processed around the dates of the fall semester of residency.

      Psychological assessments done at other seminaries may be acceptable substitutes for CTS's psychological assessment. In most case it is necessary to do the psychological assessment provided by CTS. Please submit psychological assessment materials from another seminary to the Director of Mentored Ministries in order to determine their suitability for CTS's assessment program. The costs of this psychological assessment are included in the Mentored Ministries program fee.

      The Director of Mentored Ministries works with students to follow through on all psychologists' recommendations.

    3. Mentored Ministries Assessment (show | hide)

      Upon completion of congregational internship requirements and psychological assessment recommendations, students will meet with the Director of Mentored Ministries to assess their formation in light of the Mentored Ministries Program Goals and sketch out the Mentored Ministries Reflection Paper. One important task in this assessment meeting will be to review the six ministry practice areas listed in the Program Goals and determine, for purposes of the Reflection Paper, the two areas of greatest strength and of greatest weakness.

    4. Mentored Ministries Reflection Paper (show | hide)

      After the meeting with the Director of Mentored Ministries, the student will write the Mentored Ministries Reflection Paper and submit it as a WORD document by email attachment to mentoredministries@calvinseminary.edu. This paper is due March 1. Please make the subject line of your email and the document name "Mentored Ministries Reflection Paper" followed by your name.

      The purpose of this Reflection Paper is to give evidence that the three Program Goals of the Mentored Ministries component of the EPMC-pastoral identity, ministry practice competencies, accountability-have been substantially achieved. Please carefully reread those Program Goals and prayerfully reflect upon your growth in these three areas as you prepare to write this Reflection Paper.

      The Reflection Paper should be approximately 12 pages in length (double-spaced) and should contain three sections:

      1. Pastoral Identity -- approximately two pages

        In light of Program Goal #1, Pastoral Identity, reflect upon your developing pastoral identity, personal spiritual formation, and understanding and confirmation of call to ministry.

      2. Ministry Practice Competencies - approximately 8 pages

        In the two ministry practice areas identified as strengths, (1) summarize some of the practical ministry skills you have acquired in each Ministry Practice area, (2) reflect on how your ministry practice in this area has contributed to your own personal spiritual formation, and (3) reflect on how your call to ministry has been challenged, shaped, or deepened through your work in this Ministry Practice Area.

        In the two ministry practice areas identified as weaknesses, (1) summarize some of the practical ministry skills you have acquired in this Ministry Practice area, (2) describe the areas in which you most need greater competence and more experience, and (3) sketch out a possible plan for achieving such competence and experience in the coming three years.

      3. Accountability -- approximately 2 pages

        In light of Program Goal #3, Accountability, briefly describe a ministry situation in which you experienced tension or conflict with the supervising pastor and/or supervising body. Summarize some of the things you learned about yourself, ministry, and/or God through that experience.

    5. Mentored Ministries Group (pdf)

  3. Examinations (show | hide)

    Three comprehensive examinations are included in the EPMC program. These include examinations in Bible Survey, Hebrew, and Greek.

    EPMC students must also sustain an Ecclesiastical Interview with representatives of the Candidacy Committee, the Board of Trustees of Calvin Seminary, and the faculty of Calvin Seminary.

    1. Bible Survey Exam

      The primary purpose of the Bible Survey Comprehensive Examination is to ensure that students have obtained at least minimum competency in the Christian Scriptures. To measure proficiency in this regard, students will be questioned on the principle theme of each biblical book, key biblical verses, biblical geography, biblical history, and the people of the Bible.

      EPMC students must take the Exam before the beginning of the fall semester. The test is offered as a part of Gateway to Seminary (the orientation for new CTS students) Tuesday, August 23, 2011, from 2:30 to 5:30 PM. EPMC students who are not in Grand Rapids must take the exam with a proctor on that date. Please contact Vanessa Lake in Academic Affairs office with the arrangement details you have made for a proctor. All of the questions on the exam will be drawn from the study guide. Please allow yourself at least three months to review the study guide in order to prepare adequately. There is no charge for the first test. Please inform Vanessa Lake by August 1 whether you will be taking the test with Gateway or with a proctor.

      EPMC students who do not pass the Bible Survey Exam have two options:

      • Retake the exam the last Wednesday of the fall semester—December 7, 2011—from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Any retakes after the December exam will cost $50. You must allow a minimum of a one month interval between retakes.
      • Enroll and receive a passing grade in the Bible Survey class offered in the fall semester. This class is offered MWF from 11:30 to 12:20 and does not conflict with other EPMC courses and has received very positive reviews from students. Many CTS M.Div. students who pass this Bible Survey Comprehensive Exam decide to take the Bible Survey course anyway in order to further equip themselves with a deeper understanding of the Scriptures and their Christ-focus.

    2. Language Comprehensive Exams

      You must successfully complete a four-day Logos seminar, focusing on an introduction to the essentials of Biblical Hebrew and New Testament Greek for exegesis. The Logos Seminar option is available to all EPMC students who have completed the Hebrew and Greek language sequences and the required core courses in Old and New Testament exegesis at another seminary that is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

      Contact the Academic Office for current year dates and times.

    3. Ecclesiastical Interview

      An interview with the faculty. Toward the end of the fall semester, each EPMC student meets with a small panel representing the various divisions of the seminary faculty. The purpose of this interview is to more fully inform faculty and provide feedback to the student regarding the student's readiness for ministry and confessional soundness. Following the interview, faculty can knowledgeably recommend the student to CC and sy

      Preparing for the Interview

  4. Preaching Requirements (show | hide)

    EPMC students are required to preach and have evaluations completed on four different sermons by March of the year in which they intend to be declared a candidate. See Preaching Opportunities, Evaluations and Compensation (pdf) for further details.

  5. Licensure (show | hide)

    After being accepted into the program, EPMC students are encouraged to apply for licensure to exhort in the CRCNA. EPMC students must accept their admission into the program before they are invited to apply for licensure to exhort in the CRCNA.) This is a denomination-wide license to exhort, and as such assists students in completing the EPMC preaching requirements. Inquiries regarding application for licensure should be addressed to the Director of Mentored Ministries (DoMM). Students will complete their application online at http://internal.calvinseminary.edu/resources/licensure/index.php.

  6. Housing Information (show | hide)

    For questions about housing during your time in Grand Rapids, please contact the Housing Office via email or 1-800-388-6034 X 8618.

  7. Costs for 2011-12(show | hide)


    Late payment fees apply

    RequirementCostPayment Due
    Fall semester Tuition Costs for 2011 (10 credit hours X 391.00 per hour-estimate) 3,910.00 September 30
    Logos Seminar 500.00 December 1
    Logos software 300.00 When ordered
    Mentored Ministries - Psychological Evaluation, Mentored Ministries Assessment, and Reflection Paper 1400.00 September 30
    Books (estimate) 400.00 When ordered

    Additional Notes:

    1. Students taking the Logos Seminar will also need their own computer for the seminar.
    2. Because students meet their housing needs in any number of ways, it's difficult to project accurate cost estimates.
    3. Other costs include travel, medical insurance, food and other living expenses.