Ministerial Formation Certification Agency
Who We Are
An agency of the Reformed Church in America preparing and credentialing future ministers of Word and sacrament
The Ministerial Formation Certification Agency of the Reformed Church in America serves the RCA by:
Overseeing the education of, and awarding the Certificate of Fitness for Ministry to, candidates for the ministry who are seeking the degree of Master of Divinity or its academic equivalent from a seminary not officially related to the RCA
Approving means by which candidates for the ministry may meet the requirements for the receipt of a Certificate of Fitness for Ministry, as provided in the RCA Book of Church Order
Consulting with and providing counsel to congregations and classes in the care and nurture of candidates for the ministry who are seeking the Certificate of Fitness for Ministry and who are not attending an RCA seminary as matriculated students
Our Specific Purpose
Coordinating the process of preparing individuals for ministry of Word and sacrament
The MFCA has separated the preparation for ministry into five interrelated areas.
Academic Preparation: successful completion of the fields of study as required by the Book of Church Order, normally fulfilled through the attainment of an M.Div. degree at an accredited seminary
Spiritual Formation: manifest progress in one's faith journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ
Ministry Development: tested and affirmed gifts and calling; developed ministry competencies in such areas as preaching, teaching, congregational care, administration, and equipping the members for ministry
Personal Wholeness: indication of reasonable health in all the significant aspects of life including physical, emotional, and social
Denominational Identity: an understanding of and adherence to the polity, liturgy, and confessions of the RCA; an understanding of its history and loyalty to its agencies
THE ORDINATION PROCESS
Minister of Word and Sacrament
INTERNAL CALL EXTERNAL CALL
Personal sense of call The Church (others) affirm
The Local Church
The individual, as an active-confession member of the congregation (minimum of one year), goes tot he consistory and requests to be enrolled as a candidate for ministry. The consistory then applies to the classis on behalf of the applicant. Form 1.
Upon the consistory's recommendation, the candidate is asked to appear in person before the classis or its committee for an interview. Areas of discussion will include the applicant's character and behavior; physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and educational qualifications; and the motives which lead the applicant to seek the ministry as a vocation. If the classis is satisfied the applicant is received "under care" and enrolled as a candidate for ministry.
At this point the "dual-track" system kicks in where the classis shares responsibility for the process with either the RCA seminary or the MFCA. Form 2.
The Certificate of Fitness for Ministry
Immediately following the enrollment of a candidate for the ministry, the classis shall petition the General Synod on behalf of the candidate for a Certificate of Fitness for Ministry. Such a petition must be received a minimum of twenty-four months prior to the time it is to be given final disposition by the General Synod through the board of trustees of the RCA seminary or the MFCA. RCSC Form V and AAR Form 5a.
Once the candidate has received the Certificate of Fitness for Ministry and passed the classis exams for licensure and ordination she or he will be eligible to have the classis ordain upon the receipt and acceptance of an official call into a specific ministry. Form 6.