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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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June 6, 2013

"Basic Training" and More at Big Tent

Big Tent 2013 logoAs I work with presbyteries across the church one of the questions I am often asked is about training opportunities to support preparation for ministry committee leaders and members. Well, this year will mark the fifth biennial Healthy Ministry Conference, the primary national training event in this area. It is part of Big Tent that will be held in Louisville, Kentucky from August 1-3.

The Healthy Ministry Conference addresses a broad range of issues related to mid council work with candidates, teaching elders and congregations, so in this blog I want to highlight some of the workshops that focus on particular concerns for those engaged with inquirers and candidates in discerning their calls and assessing their gifts for ministry.

In planning the conference, care is given to include topics of interest to folks who are new to this work as well as experienced hands. For those who are still gaining a sense of the lay of the land, I will be leading “CPM 101” that will provide an overview of not only “what” we do but also “why” we do it in terms of our Reformed understanding of ministry (and not just, “Because the Book of Order says so”). Michelle Bartel, former moderator of the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates (PCC), will offer a session on how to best use the standard examinations in the process and looking at some recent and upcoming changes to the examinations program.

If you think you have the basics pretty well in hand, you may be interested in a couple of offerings by Mark Sundby, director of the North Central Ministry Development Council, around new assessment tools, particularly as they relate to what is now being referred to as “TLQ”—transformational leadership quotient. I will also offer a workshop on “The Value of Exceptions for CPMs” that will explore the opportunities for increased flexibility in the Book of Order and making decisions about when and how to take advantage of them.

The 220th General Assembly (2012) created a special committee to review the overall process of preparing to receive a call as a teaching elder within the Presbyterian Church (USA), and particularly the role of the standard exams in that process. Diana Barber, moderator of this special committee, will be present to share the preliminary findings of the committee and to receive feedback as they prepare to finalize their report to the next General Assembly in 2014.

There is something for everyone involved in presbyteries’ work with inquirers and candidates—and I have not even touched on the plenary sessions or topics that will be of interest to both CPM- and COM-types. So register now for the Healthy Ministry Conference (go to and spread the word among your colleagues.

Categories: Big Tent , Ordination Process