The Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (EPMC)


Credit Hours


Years to Complete

  • Residential
  • Online

    This ten-credit program prepares you to meet CRC synodical requirements by giving you an orientation to the theology, history, and ministry of the Christian Reformed Church and by walking with you on the final leg of your ministry formation journey.


    The Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (EPMC) is available to you if you are in or have completed an MDiv program at another seminary but seek ordination as a Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). In coordination with the CRCNA, Calvin Seminary provides four courses to be completed as part of the ordination process.

    The EPMC Program

    This program seeks to holistically prepare participants for ministry and meet thecandidacy requirements established by the Synod of the CRCNA. The 10-credit curriculum provides an orientation to the theology, history, and ministry of the Christian Reformed Church. In addition, vocational formation components prepare students with hands-on ministry experiences, mentorship and reflection.

    Required Courses10

    1 Biblical Interpretation for Ministry

    An introduction to basic principles for interpreting the Bible in the Reformed tradition. This course initiates the student in the fundamental task of a doing a responsible and relevant interpretation of the biblical text. Thus, the course aims to familiarize us with the indispensable abilities to hear attentively the Word of God and obey it.

    3 Christian Theology in Reformed Confessions

    Introduces Reformed theology through a study of confessions, from the Reformation era (Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort) and the more recent past (Contemporary Testimony, Belhar Confession), and through the basic elements of the Reformed worldview grounded in this confessional theology.

    3 Christian Reformed Church History (optional for MDiv)

    An Intro to the basic outline of CRC History and some key ethical and theological positions of the CRC. The course focuses on the key elements of CRC identity in North America, including the struggle for liberty, Christian education, and tensions about Americanization-that are essential knowledge for effective ministry in the CRC.

    Christian Reformed Church Polity (optional for MDiv)

    Prepares students for effective leadership and ministry in the CRC by introducing principles and structures of CRC polity and exploring case studies in church governance and administration, with reference to Church Order and the Synodical Regulations.

    2 Preaching the Word

    In this course, EPMC students will become familiar with the "Four Page" approach to homiletics. The importance of preaching anchored in the biblical text, sensitive to the needs of people, and guided by the confessions of the church will be stressed. One of the sermons required will be a doctrinally focused sermon using one of the Lord's Days of the Heidelberg Catechism.

    1 Digital Bible Tools for Teaching and Preaching

    This course introduces students to using digital tools for studying Scripture: exploring the text in its original languages, finding resources for deeper enrichment, and establishing a lifelong process for preparing to teach and preach.

    Application Requirements and Deadlines

    For the EPMC Program

    For those interested in the EPMC program, you will need to apply for admissions through the admissions office at Calvin Seminary. Below are some of the specifics about this process. If you have any questions, the admissions office is here to help!

    Admission Requirements

    The Registrar’s Office, with oversight from the Admissions and Standards Committee, will examine the academic, professional and ministry background of each applicant. If it is determined that an applicant would benefit from further study in a particular area, a learning plan will be developed which could include specific seminary electives or additional courses from another academic institution.

    Non-native in English: Applicants who are non-native in English must submit official TOEFL exam results as a part of their application for admission. A minimum internet-based total score of 80 with a score of 23 in the writing section is required. Use Calvin Theological Seminary's institutional code 1096 to order scores.

    For more specific information, please review the EPMC Handbook below, or contact Susan LaClear, Director of Candidacy for the CRCNA.

    Admission Deadlines

    Use the chart below to find out when your admission materials are due for a particular term. The due dates below are when all materials are due by (the application, recommendations, transcripts, etc). These dates are for both residential and distance hybrid students alike.

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