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.”
A primary interest of this blog is the changing social context of ministry in the 21st century. A facet of that social context that has been “front and center” for the past several years has been the economy. As we think about the realities of moving into professional church leadership ministries, it is important to remember that while the need for ministry only increases during periods of economic hardship and displacement the church as an institution is subject to the same economic pressures as the rest of society. The church, after all, is the community of God’s people ...
As I have over the last three weeks been meeting with ecumenical colleagues, seminarians, and presbytery staff and volunteers around topics related to preparing for ministry in the 21st century, one topic that has emerged repeatedly has been the challenge of preparing folks for denominational ministry in what is an increasingly post-denominational age.
A recent article in The New York Times dealing with law schools and the legal profession (“What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering”) reminded me a good bit of some discussions I sometimes hear about seminaries.
The article talked about how the selection criteria for law school faculties often do not emphasize, or perhaps even include, experience as a practicing lawyer. Even though they are technically professional schools, the curriculum emphasizes legal theory—both archaic (stressing precedents laid down a century or more ago) and esoteric (incorporating postmodernism and deconstructionism)—rather than the day-in and day-out activities performed by ...