The general synod shall be held once every three years. Each regional synod shall delegate to this synod four ministers and four elders. If it appears necessary to convene a general synod before the appointed time, the convening Church shall determine the time and place with the advice of regional synod.
 The general synod shall be held "every third year." That is how it is phrased in the Latin text of the Church Order. It should not be the second or the fourth year, but the third year.
Various ecclesiastical bodies have an annual general assembly or general conference or general synod. The Canadian Reformed Churches have a general synod only once every third year. To have one more often would not only lay a heavier financial burden upon the churches, it would also lead to considering a general synod a sort of permanent board. Increased frequency would result in general synods taking more and more matters and activities into their sphere, with all the disastrous results of this. We can see it when reading the Acts or Proceedings of various annual general assemblies or general synods. The importance and function of regional synods is thereby diminished. In some instances regional synods are simply not there. There is no need for them as there is an annual general assembly.
The Canadian Reformed Churches still maintain that the essence and center of the life of the church is to be sought in the local churches and that broader assemblies, although useful and beneficial where they are assigned their proper place, cannot add anything which is not already there. They also are convinced that the broader the assembly, the fewer the matters that should be dealt with by them, as may be recalled from our discussion of Art. 30.
Once every third year a general synod is to be held. When, therefore, a general synod determines the time of the next one, it should take care that the date for the next general synod is fixed at no more than three years hence, give or take a few months. What happened in the past, namely, that a general synod added matters to its agenda over a period of three years and then decided that the next general synod should be postponed for a year, was completely un-Reformed in more than one respect. We are referring here to events in the Netherlands.
The various classes send delegates to a regional synod; delegation to a general synod is done by regional synods. Although there is no rule for it, usually the good custom is observed to choose the brothers equally from the classical areas. This is not done to give all areas "equal representation," for the brothers represent no one else but the churches. This equal representation is done in order to show that indeed all the churches are involved when a general synod is held. It is impossible to have a brother from each and every
 church sent to general synod; besides, the most able and knowledgeable brothers should be sent, and these qualifications are not determined by the question of which church one is a member. Yet care should be taken that as much as possible the delegation is taken from the various districts.
Four ministers and four elders comprise the delegation from each regional synodical district. At present there are two such districts, so that a general synod has sixteen members. Even if, at some time in the future, the Canadian Reformed Churches should have three such regional synodical districts, it still will be better to leave the number at four plus four, which will divide the workload at general synod more evenly and might even make for shorter general synods. However, at the moment it does not appear that there is any prospect of having an increase of that kind.
When a regional synod chooses delegates to general synod, it is not restricted in its choice to those who are members of that regional synod. Not every elder at regional synod may be able to be absent from home and work for the whole duration of a general synod, and although it is to be preferred that such are delegated as are at regional synod and have taken part in the discussions there, it is not an absolute requirement and it may be necessary to choose others.
Frequently the members of regional synod are asked who of the local office- bearers could be delegated. The names are mentioned and a list is prepared from which four brothers and their alternates are to be chosen.
There are serious drawbacks connected with this method. Several members of the regional synod may not know the brothers but go by the number of votes someone collected in the first round of balloting. Others may remember having seen and heard a brother once or twice at a classis, and, because of the favourable impression at that time, may decide to vote for the brother. Again others may remember having heard the name of a brother being mentioned in the past more than once, and conclude from this that he must be capable.
It is our experience that the election of elder-delegates takes quite a few ballots and that, in the end, sometimes in what appears to verge on desperation, it is decided to take the ones who collected the most votes as delegates and their alternates. Thus it could happen that one became an alternate and so perhaps even a member of general synod, although he received only five or six votes of the sixteen. We remember the puzzled looks on the faces of members of regional synods and the shrugging of shoulders when they looked over the list from which they had to choose the elder-delegates.
Should not a better method be sought and introduced? The question usually asked is: "Who from your congregation would be able to go to general synod?" The result is a list of brothers whose only known qualification is that they will be able to break away from family and work for up to four weeks, but nothing is said about their ability, their insight, their knowledge, their being familiar with all that is going on in the life of the churches. Thus sometimes brothers were chosen who had the reputation of being pious, God-fearing, and faithful men in every respect, but whose only asset at a general synod was that they were there and voted on the various proposals.