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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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May 31, 2011

Smaller Congregations Aren’t (Always) What You Think

small, country churchOver the past several decades a powerful narrative has taken hold in the mainline church. The story attempts to relate and explain two facts in our communal lives. First, membership in mainline denominations has been in steady decline. Second, much time and energy has been devoted to theological debates about scriptural authority, sexual ethics, the lordship of Jesus Christ, etc. The narrative tells a story where the second of these facts is the cause for the first. As the mainline has wrestled with these issues it has lost members and its congregations have gotten smaller. But research on congregations would ...

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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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