A New Vision for National Ordination Examinations: An Invitation to Discussion

Drawing on the work of the predecessor self-study by the PCCEC, the task force has drafted this preliminary report. It offers background information about the exams and presents some proposals concerning preparation for the exams within the overall context of the preparation for ministry process and the timing and locations for writing the exams.

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  1. The proposed requirement for a year-long practicum seems prohibitive for many second-career ministry students who may have family and financial obligations, unless it is a paid internship. And I can't see many churches offering a paid internship due to budget constraints--mine certainly couldn't. It took me six years to get the MDiv degree (part-time--including summers--while working full-time due to financial and other family obligations). I had to quit my job for three months to do a unit of CPE, and that was a huge financial burden on my family. The thought of having to do without a second income for A YEAR would have probably kept me from following this call and pursuing the degree and ordination. If the plan is to reduce the pool of candidates for ministry, the year long practicum would do it. Is it just me, or is a 63-71% pass rate for the exams absolutely horrible? As someone who will be taking the ords this weekend, I'm already terrified--this doesn't help and indicates to me that there is something in the preparation/ testing/grading process that isn't working.

    by Lou Ventura

    August 24, 2011

  2. I'm an M.Div student in my final year of seminary, preparing to take the ordination exams this Fall. I clicked on this link in hope, which rapidly dwindled as I continued to read. What's presented here is not anything new or groundbreaking, or even bold -- rather it's an attempt to dress up the ordination exams in pretty clothes without changing anything of real import. As to the location of the exams, they are offered on seminary campuses because that is a great convenience to the students taking them. Relocating them to a church setting makes them more inconvenient, and I doubt that those of us sweating through them will really feel more "blessed" because we're writing in a pew or a fellowship hall. As for the other suggestions (praying for those taking exams; offering feedback that attempts to be "helpful" rather than critical; encouraging students to take relevant coursework and field ed before exams...) those are all things that surely ought to be done, but they hardly address any of the concerns raised in the initial section of the paper. They are nothing more than a nice "repackaging" of the same old ordination exams. My generation is notorious for seeing right through that sort of marketing tactic. Please go back to the drawing board on this issue. A pig is still a pig, even if you slap a three piece suit on it and call it a gentleman. No one is fooled.

    by Neal Locke

    July 14, 2011