The summer internship is over and so is, in many ways, summer. Since my last entry about six weeks ago my family is back and we’ve been to Minnesota and Iowa and back again. We had a great few weeks back on our old stomping grounds visiting family and friends, seeing what has changed and what has stayed the same. Children have grown, friends have taken new jobs and moved to new towns, businesses and families are growing and there’s still something wonderful about having dinner with Mom and Dad.
It’s been a good summer. My internship went well and was very affirming. I got the opportunity to preach in both of my ‘home congregations’ in Sioux Center and Worthington in front of many supportive family and friends and to the glory of God which was equal parts nerve-wracking and enjoyable.
Alas, all good things must come to an end and summer is no different. Zachary and Bethany started school again today – going into 7th and 6th grade respectively. This morning before getting in the car we gathered in the living room and said had a prayer together asking God’s blessing on them and their school in the year that lies ahead.
I’m back at the seminary on a regular basis getting ready for another semester of coursework and beginning the process of candidacy for Minister of the Word in the CRCNA as this will be my third and final year in the Master or Divinity Program at Calvin Theological Seminary.
Many people, even within my own denomination (myself included once upon a time), have no idea what the candidacy process is like for its pastors. During the next several months on this blog, it is my intention to chronicle that process. In so doing, I hope to give an inside look at the seriousness and rigor that the CRCNA places on its clergy. While some decry the process as too strict and complicated it is also an affirmation of the weight that this denomination places on the proper training and vetting of its leadership.
While it is, indeed, complicated, time-consuming, and (at times) maddening, I think you will come to find that it is anything but easy. I hope that through my writing about and reflecting on the process you will gain a greater appreciation for the men and women who stand in pulpits across the CRC each Sunday and share a “word from the Lord.” It is something that neither they nor the denomination they serve take lightly.