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.
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I have previously written in this blog about the PC(USA) initiative to begin 1,001 new worshiping communities in a ten-year period (for more about that mission emphasis, see http://www.pcusa.org/1001). Whenever I write or talk about “1001” particularly with our inquirers and candidates, they are usually simultaneously interested and also full of questions. Not surprisingly those questions are very pragmatic:
Well, I recently heard about one presbytery that is ready to put into practice one possible model.
New Castle Presbytery in Delaware is now taking applications for its FIRST program—“Freeing the Imagination of the Recently Seminary Trained” (see http://www.firstncp.com for the details and application form). It is conceived as a partnership between the presbytery, churches and “starters” to imagine and begin new worshiping communities. The presbytery provides financial support, health insurance and mentoring to a cohort group. The congregation provides support and networking. The “starter” provides imagination, entrepreneurialism, and at least a one-year commitment (with the option to continue in the partnership with presbytery support for up to three years).
They are clear that these are not “full-time jobs” (they envision 20 hours per week) and that the level of financial support being provided would require outside work to supplement the income. The initiatives would not likely begin as validated ministries, although “at some stage” they may develop into validated ministries to which the starters could be called and ordained. While current congregations are key partners in the program, these are not program enhancers for those churches. Rather it is “a chance for a church located near a large young adult population (for instance) to shepherd/provide a home-base for a person that wishes to begin an emerging worshipping community with twenty-somethings.”
What other models are emerging that you know about?