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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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Posts with category: Ordination Process

March 27, 2012

Who is the Client?

Today I joined with a number of colleagues who serve the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the national level for presentations by and conversations with Gil Rendle about cultural forces in which denominations are currently going about their work. (I’ve discussed some aspects of his book, Journey in the Wilderness, in a previous post.) There was one question he posed to the group specifically with reference to those who are preparing for ordained ministry that I would like to pose to those who follow this blog.

First though, let me summarize the background against which he posed the question. In ...

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March 23, 2012

The End of an Era

Exam book laying on computerAcross the church this week those who wrote standard ordination examinations last January have been receiving their examination books and readers’ evaluations back from their proctors. What as been a twice-yearly ritual for more than four decades was being performed for the last time. When the “ords” are next taken in August of this year, they will be a paperless process.

The first steps toward online ordination exams were actually taken back in October 2009. On the first Friday of that month, a “pilot test” of Internet-based administration of the Bible Content Examination (BCE) was conducted. A total of 138 ...

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February 28, 2012

Considering Our--and Others'--Call

Block question mark casting a shadowI’m currently on the road visiting a couple of seminary campuses to meet with Presbyterian students, the faculties, and administrative support staff. As always these visits have included many stimulating discussions. But as I was reading through the passages for this morning in the Daily Lectionary, one of those conversations immediately came to mind.

The observation was made that any process that requires a person to demonstrate God’s call on her or his life to others runs the very real risk of excluding some who are genuinely called but simply cannot provide the particular “evidence” (see G-2.0607 ...

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February 15, 2012

"The Job Isn't Finished..."

stack of papersThere is an old saying (well, not “old” as in “ancient,” but old nonetheless) that goes: “The job isn’t finished until the paperwork is done.” I’m remembering that aphorism because today we have released on our website updates of the standard forms for the preparation for ministry process (click here to go to the website). Normally we would just announce the updates and I wouldn’t blog about the subject, but I want to take advantage of this opportunity to reflect a bit on why such paperwork is important to the “job” of preparing for ministry.

First, here ...

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November 29, 2011

"Pastor-Theologians" and "Practicing Lawyers"

Theory and PracticeA 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 ...

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