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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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June 24, 2011

"Withdrawal" and "Removal" Aren't "Failure"

Exit signI have recently encountered discussions in a variety of settings about candidates who have been “certified ready” but still have not received a call after a period of years. Especially among presbyteries, there have been questions surrounding working with candidates who might be described as more “waiting for a call to find them” rather than actively “seeking a call” wherever there is a need and the Spirit might lead. Should candidates remain under care indefinitely?

It may be helpful to remember our Reformed theology teaches us that “call” always involves God, the individual, and the community. And within our preparation ...


June 6, 2011

… and Neither are Larger Ones

Crystal CathedralIn my blog post last week I explored some facts about smaller congregations and ministry that are often overlooked. In this post, I want to draw attention to one of those facts that is shared in common with larger—and indeed, “mega” —churches, and to reflect on its implications for those entering ministry in the 21st century.

One of the demographic forces that researchers have identified as reducing the size of many congregations has been an inability to bridge the increasingly wider generational span in American communities. As congregations get older, and as the differences between “older” and “younger ...