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The Rev. Timothy Cargal, Ph.D., serves as Assistant Stated Clerk for Preparation for Ministry in 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 of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 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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April 27, 2011

Big Insights at Big Tent

Bigtent2011

The Office of Vocation is proud to offer the “Healthy Ministry Conference” as part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s biennial Big Tent event. This conference is the most comprehensive training event offered to support presbyteries in their work of discerning and developing the gifts for ministry of those exploring a call to service as ministers of Word and Sacrament.

Big Tent will be held from Thursday, June 30 through Saturday, July 2. Though pending immigration legislation in Indiana has cast some uncertainty over whether we will meet in Indianapolis as planned, a final decision on that is now just days away (it will be announced on Monday, May 2). But the “Healthy Ministry Conference” and all Big Tent events will definitely be held on those dates. That’s the great thing about “Tents” – you can pitch them in many places!

The full program for the “Healthy Ministry Conference,” including descriptions of all plenary sessions and workshops, is available on the Big Tent website, but here I want to highlight some that will be of particular interest for those working with persons under care as inquirers and candidates.

A series of three workshop sessions on Friday and Saturday will cover the full process of preparation for ministry in the PC(USA), from the first stirrings of a sense of call to ordination. Participants can attend all three, or select sessions focused on the inquiry stage, candidacy, and assessment of readiness and finding a first call. The Office of Preparation for Ministry has been developing a number of online resources over the past two years, and a member of our staff will walk you through how to access and make the most of these tools for the Internet age.

There will be separate sessions devoted to helping committees understand the changes coming as a result of amendments to the Book of Order currently being voted on by the presbyteries, and to understanding a variety of developing legal issues in the supervision of inquirers and candidates. Another session will explore how to help congregations with their key role as the third partner in this discernment and preparation process.

A full set of workshops is designed to explore issues of common interest to CPMs and COMs. Topics will include such areas as financial management of educational and other forms of debt; healthy ministry in body, mind, and spirit; new models of leadership and ministry for this new century; coaching and support groups; and developments in theological education.

You can register now for the “Healthy Ministry Conference” and then make your travel arrangements in May when the final decision on where the Big Tent will be pitched is announced. I hope to see you there and to hear about what you are learning about the future God is preparing for our church as you work with those preparing for ministry


April 20, 2011

New Form of Financial Support

Yesterday I was contacted by an executive presbyter for some statistical information to be used in an upcoming meeting with the small church cluster in that presbytery about the challenges faced by churches of under 100 members as they seek...

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March 31, 2011

A Horse of a Different Color

With apologies for the delay (March has been a busy month of travel and meetings), I do want to follow-up on the question about what other issues test takers raised in their feedback forms after the spring ordination exams. There...

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March 1, 2011

Testing Beyond the Questions

Last week I read through the evaluation forms submitted by those who wrote senior ordination exams at the end of January. These exams were only the second to involve online registration and the first that required all test takers (and...

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February 18, 2011

"I'm their leader ..."

Years ago I worked with the youth of a congregation as a seminary intern (yes, it was many years ago). One time as I was gathering my charges at the close of a fellowship outing to an amusement park, one...

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