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Repackaging the Classis Candidate Assessment Process

Repackaging the Classis Candidate Assessment Process

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Repackaging the Classis Candidate Assessment Process

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  1. Repackaging the Classis Candidate Assessment Process A Presentation for Candidate Care Committees

  2. The Reformed Church in America (RCA) utilizes a dual track process for preparing and credentialing candidates pursuing ordination to minister of Word and sacrament. The RCA seminaries and MFCA have responsibility for one of the tracks and award the Certificate of Fitness for Ministry. The candidate’s classis is responsible for “orthodoxy” and grants licensure and ordains. The dual track

  3. Opening Statement • The candidate shall be examined by the classis at the conclusion of each year of seminary training. The classis may also require the candidate to appear at the conclusion of any period of internship. The candidate’s classis may request a classis in the vicinity of the seminary or field of internship to act in its behalf at the conclusion of the year/s between the first and the last. From 1999 BCO This statement is unique to the BCO pre 2000 – It has been eliminated since

  4. Comparison of Section 6 BCO 1999 BCO 2008 As the candidate pursues theological education, the classis shall satisfy itself that the candidate exhibits • Prior to the final year of study the classis shall satisfy itself concerning the candidate's competence in the following areas, placing the examination in each subject in the session in which the candidate is best qualified to be examined in it, as determined from a copy of the candidate's academic record furnished by the seminary:

  5. BCO 1999 BCO 2008 (1) appropriate character and call to the ministry of Word and sacrament; (2) comprehension of Scripture and of the history, theology, and church order of the Reformed Church in America; (3) requisite skills in interpretation and proclamation of Scripture, including sufficient Greek and Hebrew to understand nuances of the biblical text; (4) competence for ministry; (5) commitment to the unity of the church, the ministry of all Christians, and the proclamation of the gospel. (1) Hebrew; (2) Greek; (3) biblical introduction and exegesis; church history; (5) church government; (6) views of the ministry and its duties; (7) competence in conducing public worship; (8) sermon preparation and delivery; (9) Christian educational theory and practice with children, youth, and adults; and (10) personal piety and fitness for the ministry.

  6. Comparison of Section 6 BCO 1999 BCO 2008 (1) appropriate character and call to the ministry of Word and sacrament; (2) comprehension of Scripture and of the history, theology, and church order of the Reformed Church in America; (3) requisite skills in interpretation and proclamation of Scripture, including sufficient Greek and Hebrew to understand nuances of the biblical text; (4) competence for ministry; (5) commitment to the unity of the church, the ministry of all Christians, and the proclamation of the gospel. (1) Hebrew; (2) Greek; (3) biblical introduction and exegesis; church history; (5) church government; (6) views of the ministry and its duties; (7) competence in conducing public worship; (8) sermon preparation and delivery; (9) Christian educational theory and practice with children, youth, and adults; and (10) personal piety and fitness for the ministry.

  7. Comparison BCO 1999 BCO 2008 When the candidate has been granted a Certificate of Fitness for Ministry, the classis shall examine the candidate for licensure and ordination. The classis shall satisfy itself that the candidate is competent in: (1) theology; (2) the nature and administration of the sacraments; (3) knowledge of and adherence to the Constitution (the Standards, the Government and Disciplinary Procedures, and the Liturgy) of the Reformed Church in America; and (4) the history and program of Reformed Church mission. When the candidate is examined for licensure and ordination at the conclusion of seminary training, the classis shall satisfy itself concerning the candidate’s competence in: (1) theology; (2) the nature and administration of the sacraments; (3) knowledge and adherence to the Standards and the Government and Disciplinary Procedures of the Reformed Church in America; and (4) the history and program of Reformed Church world mission.

  8. Comparison BCO 1999 BCO 2008 When the candidate has been granted a Certificate of Fitness for Ministry, the classis shall examine the candidate for licensure and ordination. The classis shall satisfy itself that the candidate is competent in: (1) theology; (2) the nature and administration of the sacraments; (3) knowledge of and adherence to the Constitution (the Standards, the Government and Disciplinary Procedures, and the Liturgy) of the Reformed Church in America; and (4) the history and program of Reformed Church mission. When the candidate is examined for licensure and ordination at the conclusion of seminary training, the classis shall satisfy itself concerning the candidate’s competence in: (1) theology; (2) the nature and administration of the sacraments; (3) knowledge and adherence to the Standards and the Government and Disciplinary Procedures of the Reformed Church in America; and (4) the history and program of Reformed Church world mission.

  9. THE SHIFT AND REPACKAGING The weakness in the pre-2000 approach to examining students was that it tended to separate areas for examination into the discrete subjects of the theological curriculum of a seminary rather than taking an integrative approach that more closely matched the actual practice of ministry in congregations and other ministry settings.  The shift from examination to assessment not only invites classes to exercise creativity and imagination in their means of assessment, the shift from academic subject to broader areas of competence invites them to think in a more integrative way. 

  10. CASE STUDIES In order to have dynamic assessments it is recommended that case studies be one of the tools utilized. The case study method encourages an assessment that is more likely to be a matter of degree than one of either ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ In having candidates respond to cases, the classis is able to determine if the candidate “showed only limited ability to...”  or perhaps “exceptional ability” or “adequately demonstrated the ability to…”  This allows for a more nuanced assessment. Thus, in developing case studies it is recommended that we avoid close-ended questions.

  11. A SAMPLE CASE STUDY (2) Comprehension of Scripture and of the history, theology, and church order of the Reformed Church in America; Imagine if you will that it is June, 2010 and we are on the floor at the 204th regular session of the General Synod, meeting in Orange City, Iowa. The opening worship has been held and we are at that portion of the proceedings known as “the Formation of the Synod,” a series of usually perfunctory motions necessary to get down to business. The roll of delegates and other attendees has been noted and a motion is made to seat the delegates as enrolled. There is an objection raised from the floor on point of order. The delegate at the microphone identifies herself as a delegate and says that she objects to the seating of the delegation of the Open and Affirming Network Classis on the bases that it is not a classis at all, having been illegally constituted in violation of the denominational policy on homosexuality.

  12. Imagine if you will that it is June, 2010 and we are on the floor at the 204th regular session of the General Synod, meeting in Orange City, Iowa. The opening worship has been held and we are at that portion of the proceedings known as “the Formation of the Synod,” a series of usually perfunctory motions necessary to get down to business. The roll of delegates and other attendees has been noted and a motion is made to seat the delegates as enrolled. There is an objection raised from the floor on point of order. The delegate at the microphone identifies herself as a delegate and says that she objects to the seating of the delegation of the Open and Affirming Network Classis on the bases that it is not a classis at all, having been illegally constituted in violation of the denominational policy on homosexuality. The above “imagination” suggests things about the denomination and how it governs itself in terms of structure and theological / social positions. Reflect on the scriptural position, the historical tradition, the theological perspective, and church order of the RCA as it does its work as congregation, classis, regional synod and general synod. For further reflection, it may be helpful to change the particulars of the case so as not to get bogged down in the issue it presents. Think about the same scenario at General Synod 2010 but change the affinity classis name to “Believer’s Baptism Classis” and the denominational policy being violated as “pedobaptism.”(Thanks to Chicago Invitation for the opening narrative)

  13. The classis asks the following in its assessment: Did the candidate show adequate comprehension of Scripture and of the history, theology, and church order of the Reformed Church in America?

  14. End Prepared for the Phoenix EventFebruary 2009 Cornelis G. KorsSpecial thanks to Rev. Dr. George Brown for his review and contribution.