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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: Ordained Ministry

May 18, 2015

Placing Candidates--Some Numbers

graduate hold sign reading "now what?"Perhaps it is because of graduation season, but I have received several inquiries recently about how long it is taking our graduates to find calls to ordained ministry. Having done some research to respond to these questions, I thought there would probably be a broader audience with interest in what I discovered.

To begin, I need to stress that the proper question within our polity is not really, “How long after graduation?” but rather, “How long after ‘certification of readiness to be examined for ordination, pending a call’?” Within our church, eligibility for ordination is not primarily determined by seminary …

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February 23, 2013

1001 and FIRST

FIRST logoI have previously written in this blog about the PC(USA) initiative to begin 1,001 new worshiping communities in a ten-year period (for more about that mission emphasis, see Whenever I write or talk about “1001” particularly with our inquirers and candidates, they are usually simultaneously interested and also full of questions. Not surprisingly those questions are very pragmatic:

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February 13, 2013

An Ash Wednesday Reflection on Ministry

Cross of ashes on foreheadLike tens of millions of Christians around the world today, I stepped away from my usual midday routine to attend an Ash Wednesday service. At about the midpoint of the service I filed forward with the other congregants, and one of the liturgists—a colleague and friend in ministry whom I have known for almost two decades—dipped her finger in the oily ashes and as she traced the shape of the cross on my forehead repeated the solemn words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

I cannot hear those words any longer without also remembering back …

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January 30, 2013

Pastoral Residency Accepting Applicants

For Such a Time as ThisThe Office of Vocation is currently receiving applications for its fourth class of pastoral residents in the “For Such a Time As This” program. The commitment of all those involved in the program is to small church ministry that is “Growing Leaders, Growing Churches.

Since 2009, there have been 22 pastors serving in their first calls with 26 congregations in ten different presbyteries. The residents serve in temporary pastoral relationships with two-year terms. Of those in the first class, virtually all continued as pastors with the congregations once that term was concluded. A similar pattern is anticipated as …

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October 19, 2012

Emotional Intelligence in Ministry

Emotional Intelligence logoThis fall the Office of Vocation has been partnering with the Center for EQ-HR Skills in a very small-scale study of the use of instruments that assess “Emotional Intelligence” with ministers and those preparing for ministry as teaching elders to promote awareness of how these skills contribute to leadership effectiveness.

As summarized by Daniel Goleman, one of the early and leading figures in this field, emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing one’s own feelings and those of others, for motivating one’s self, for managing emotions well in one’s self and in one’s relationships with others. The interrelationship between these …

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