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About this blog

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: Ministry Context

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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April 20, 2011

New Form of Financial Support

Yesterday I was contacted by an executive presbyter for some statistical information to be used in an upcoming meeting with the small church cluster in that presbytery about the challenges faced by churches of under 100 members as they seek...

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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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January 27, 2011

"Location, Location, Location"

An old real estate adage has it that the three most important things in selling a property are, in order, "Location, location, location." And what is true for real estate is true for ministry as well. It is all about...

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January 21, 2011

A New Kind of Home in a New Land

Next week I will be part of the leadership for a training event for the five presbyteries in South Carolina. In reviewing some data about those presbyteries, I found the following: While 51% of our churches in South Carolina have...

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