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The Rev. Timothy Cargal, Ph.D., serves as the Coordinator, Preparation for Ministry/Exams for Mid Council Ministries of the Office of the General Assembly.

“... the Land that I Will Show You” is the blog of the Office of Preparation for Ministry/Examinations of the Presbyterian Church (USA). This blog is designed to serve as a resource for those discerning and preparing for a call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament as ordained teaching elders of the church. It will also provide a place for reflecting on and dialoging about the changing context of pastoral ministry in the early 21st century.

For quick announcements about changes or developments in the preparation process, dates related to exams or other key events, discussion boards, surveys, etc., you can follow us on Facebook at “Preparing for Presbyterian Ministry.”

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December 19, 2011

Changing Face(s) of Teaching Elders

JanusAs a new year approaches, it is customary to look back as we also look toward the future. It is in that spirit that I share in this post some statistics I compiled recently looking at trends among current teaching elders and those in the process of preparation for ministry.

First, a brief description of the overall context. There are currently just over 21,000 teaching elders in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and about 2,300 inquirers and candidates, for a ratio of roughly 1 person in preparation for every 9 current teaching elders. However, 37% of current teaching elders ...


December 13, 2011

Expectations of Reality

Trying to fit circle within a squareRecently I heard a professor discussing the “pre-commencement address” he gives to seniors in the last class with them in the fall semester before they will graduate in the spring. He contends they are in a much better position then to hear “practical advice about the ways of getting hired and … some hard truths about life.” Here is a bit of what he says:

“First, I tell them to imagine a ladder whose bottom rung is about 6 feet off the ground. That’s the reality in most fields, where the perks — be they prestige, excitement, money, or best of ...