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.”
In just over month we will enter the second year of fully online ordination examinations. We have learned a lot in this first year, both about how candidates and readers prepare themselves for the online exam process and how they use the system. In response to feedback we have received we have continued to make changes and additions both to our resources and the online exam programming. Today we are formally releasing two updated resources incorporating these changes.
In the examinations section of the Preparation for Ministry portion of the denominational website (http://www.pcusa.org/exams) we have added a new “FAQ” page. Like examples on other sites, the page presents a list of the most frequently asked questions we get about the online ordination exams. By clicking on the question, you are taken to a short answer to the question (in most cases a single, brief paragraph). Where it can be helpful, the responses also have a “VIDEO” link that can be clicked for a brief demonstration posted to YouTube. Most of the videos are roughly a minute long, and none are much longer than two minutes. Here are links to a few of the most frequently asked questions to give you a taste of these videos:
How can I recover my “Username” or reset my password? VIDEO
Can I try out the exam system before the testing date? VIDEO
How can I move between the different pages of an examination? VIDEO
That last sample demonstrates one of the newest features of the exam system—and the most often requested by both candidates and readers. We now include a “Go To Page” navigation button that allows users to skip ahead (or back) over several pages to go to a particular place in the exam. It will prove especially helpful in the Exegesis examination because of its longer format.
The other resource we are releasing today is an updated Handbook to the Standard Ordination Exams. It is a PDF file that can be downloaded from the pcusa.org/exams website, and it includes the FAQ materials along with links to the related videos. If you are reading the handbook on a computer or tablet device, you can click the links to watch the videos. For those who prefer to work with a printed copy, the full Internet address for each video is provided.
All the changes that have been made to the examinations system over the past few years have been designed to improve the process for both candidates and their presbyteries. We will continue to listen to and take seriously comments and suggestions that we receive.