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Commissioned Pastor Route

Step 1 – Sponsor Church

Commissioned Pastor candidates need to have a “sponsoring” consistory/church. The Candidate also needs to be ordained an Elder by the time of Commissioning.


Step 2: – Paperwork

The Sponsoring Church will need to fill out a Consistory Sponsorship Form.
The Candidate will need to fill out an Application to be taken under care of Classis as a Commissioned Pastor Candidate – along with the application would be two mentoring covenants, one between the candidate and a pastor, and one between the candidate and an elder. All candidates are required to have a pastor and an elder mentor. The final document/s will be a Specific Release Form(s); this will give the discipleship team access to you psychological assessments, and any course work. In addition to these documents the candidate will need to write a report on the BCO process and requirements for a commissioned pastor (this is done to ensure the candidate knows exactly what the process entails). All documents need to be turned in before a potential candidate can be interviewed by the Discipleship Team: Consistory Sponsorship Form, Application, Elder Mentor Covenant, Pastor Mentor Covenant, Specific Releases, BCO Report.

Step 3 – Classis Interview

The Classis Discipleship Team (or a designated sub-committee), after receiving all paperwork, will have an interview with the candidate and vote as to take the candidate “under care.”


Step 4 – Learning Plan

After a candidate is taken “under care” the Discipleship Committee will appoint a Classis Representative to the candidate, and a Learning/Training Plan will be put together. The Learning/Training Plan will include, but is not limited to, any requirements stated in the BCO; and any requirements the Discipleship Team (or sub-committee) deem necessary for each candidate. BCO Requirements: 1) maturity of faith, 2) personal integrity, 3) understanding of the Old and New Testaments and biblical interpretation, 4) Reformed theology, 5) church history, 6) knowledge of and adherence to the Constitution of the Reformed Church in America (the Government, the Standards, and the Liturgy), 7) nature and administration of the sacraments, 8) ability to preach, 9) capability to minister within the church, and 10) understanding of and adherence to pastoral ethics and practices. (These are only the BCO requirements and the Classis is in no way limited to these.)

 Step 5 – Examination of Progress

The candidate will begin the Learning/Training Plan, which the Discipleship Team (or sub- committee) will review and examine the candidate on their progress. The candidate will also attend the retreats and examinations for “students und care” of Classis. Part of the Learning/Training Plan will include of a psychological assessment (to be done at the students expense).

Step 6 – Commissioning

Upon completion of all requirements, in the candidates Learning/Training Plan, the candidate may be commissioned to a specific ministry (domain and duration), under the authority of the Classis, to be supervised by the Discipleship Team (or sub-committee).

Step 7 – Review

The Discipleship Team (or sub-committee) will conduct annual reviews of the Commissioned Pastor to determine whether to extend, change, or terminate the commissioning.

Change

The lazy days of Summer will soon be behind us and many of us will be gearing up for Fall programing. Planning a new year of Sunday School, Youth Group, and Catechism can be an exciting mix of nostalgia and future hope. However, there is an increasing dread in many of our churches as they face the reality of declining numbers and general lack of zeal to run programs. If you are among the latter, be encouraged that God is still God and he is faithful even in the midst of cultural shifts like we are currently experiencing.
Historically, the Church of Jesus has always adapted to cultural shifts with new strategies for instructing the next generations in the ways of the Lord. From the tents and fields of the Old Testament, to house-churches of the New Testament, God has always provided. What has not changed, is the core element of our teaching – God’s Word.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8

As we work to make next generation disciples, it is vital that we stand and start from this position. Jesus is Lord and the Church belongs to Jesus! Our strategies must never become another rock upon which we stand. Sunday School, Catechism, and Youth Group are great tools, but they’re only tools. If those tools are still working to edify your next generation disciples and glorify Jesus, rejoice and be glad! If they’re not, then it might be time to seek the Lord concerning how your church needs to adapt for a new season.

A conversation is currently growing in our Classis concerning the future of Christian Ed and the local church. If this is a passion area for you, please don’t hesitate to email sethsundstrom@gmail.com to join in. Our hope is to host a one day (or evening) gathering this Fall for those serving in this area. Stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for more info.

Pastor Search

Engaging a search for your next Pastor brings many emotions and questions for church leaders. When approached from a kingdom perspective, the search season can be a rich time of growth for the church. However, given the infrequency of searches for most churches, many experience the search season as a time of confusion and frustration. Below are links, resources, and ideas to assist you.

1. You’re Not Alone! – If you’re a church in search, contact your support network ASAP.
Churches without a called/installed pastor are required to have a Classis Supervisor (moderator). The Supervisor will be able to help you make connections needed to begin you search. In addition, the Classis Pastor (staff) is tasked with helping churches in the search process.

2. Go World Wide – connecting to the right resources online will make your search faster and broader.
Here are some links from the rca.org site:

Church profile form (this is the form you fill out and provide to the denomination)

Advertise in the Classifieds. Click not he “Submit a Job” button to create an ad for your church. While you’re at it, read some ads placed by other churches to inspire you to write your own ad.

The CRC Banner has a similar option here.

Use Social Media. If your church maintains a Facebook page or website, advertise there and ask others to share.

3. Resource Your Team

Get a copy of the Pastoral Search Handbook.

There are also some great books available to help your team think through the process ahead. A recent top seller is, “Search: The Pastoral Search Committee Handbook” by Willian Vanderbloemen

4. Pray
This seems obvious, right? Yet this is the element most of us push to the end of a meeting and rush to accomplish. If we really believe in the sovereignty of God, its important to express it. Make prayer a priority by scheduling it.

Commissioned Pastor Process

Step 1 – Sponsorship

Commissioned Pastor candidates need to have a “sponsoring” consistory/church. The Candidate also needs to be ordained an Elder, by the time of Commissioning.

Step 2 – Paperwork

The Sponsoring Church will need to fill out a Consistory Sponsorship Form.
The Candidate will need to fill out an Application to be taken under care of Classis as a Commissioned Pastor Candidate – along with the application would be two mentoring covenants, one between the candidate and a pastor, and one between the candidate and an elder. All candidates are required to have a pastor and an elder mentor. The final document/s will be a Specific Release Form(s); this will give the discipleship team access to you psychological assessments, and any course work. In addition to these documents the candidate will need to write a report on the BCO process and requirements for a commissioned pastor (this is done to ensure the candidate knows exactly what the process entails). All documents need to be turned in before a potential candidate can be interviewed by the Discipleship Team: Consistory Sponsorship Form, Application, Elder Mentor Covenant, Pastor Mentor Covenant, Specific Releases, BCO Report.

Step 3 – Interview

The Discipleship Team (or a designated sub-committee), after receiving all paperwork, will have an interview with the candidate and vote as to take the candidate under care.

Step 4  – Learning Plan

After a candidate is taken under care the Discipleship Committee will appoint a Classis Representative to the candidate, and a Learning/Training Plan will be put together. The Learning/Training Plan will include, but is not limited to, any requirements stated in the BCO; and any requirements the Discipleship Team (or sub-committee) deem necessary for each candidate. BCO Requirements: 1)maturity of faith, 2)personal integrity, 3)understanding of the Old and New Testaments and biblical interpretation, 4)Reformed theology, 5)church history, 6)knowledge of and adherence to the Constitution of the Reformed Church in America (the Government, the Standards, and the Liturgy), 7) nature and administration of the sacraments, 8)ability to preach, 9)capability to minister within the church, and 10)understanding of and adherence to pastoral ethics and practices. (These are only the BCO requirements and the Classis is in no way limited to these.)

Step 5 – Progress Review

The candidate will begin the Learning/Training Plan, which the Discipleship Team (or sub-committee) will review and examine the candidate on their progress. The candidate will also attend the retreats and examinations for students under care of Classis. Part of the Learning/Training Plan will include of a psychological assessment (to be done at the students expense).

Step 6 -Commissioning

Upon completion of all requirements, in the candidates Learning/Training Plan, the candidate may be commissioned to a specific ministry (domain and duration), under the authority of the Classis, to be supervised by the Discipleship Team (or sub-committee).

Step 7 – Follow-Up Reviews

The Discipleship Team (or sub-committee) will conduct annual reviews of the Commissioned Pastor to determine whether to extend, change, or terminate the commissioning.