Becoming an official Presbyterian candidate made me think of when I became an Australian citizen.
I became an Australian citizen in Sept 1991. I'd been living here since 20 Dec 1988. But it took that long to go through the procedures required to get citizenship status. Once I had citizenship, I had access to all the privileges that came with it - passport, social security etc.
It's been a bit like that with Presbyterian candidacy. I've been attending a Presbyterian church since Feb 2007. I've been a member of the Presbyterian denomination since March 2007. But it's taken this long to go through the process of becoming a Candidate. And accessing all the benefits that come with it.
The biggest benefit is I get the respect and authority of "officially" belonging to this particular denomination, with its history, culture & way of doing things - a history, culture & way of doing things that, as you all know, I really like and identify with. I now "fit" the denomination in two ways - I've always fitted ideologically, and now I fit officially.
The biggest practical benefit is an added layer of ministry support and guidance. I'm now under the supervision of the Presbyterian dept of Ministry & Mission. They're job is to see that I get the best possible training & support, and then the best possible ministry role that "fits" my skills & personality. It's nice to have that kind of support - reduces the fears & uncertainties of what'll happen when I finally (!) finish all my training, and get launched into real ministry.