Education for Ministry, which includes evaluation of the individual’s academic potential and progress and the individual’s ability to relate the academic learning to the ministry of teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament);
Spiritual Development, which explores with individuals their personal faith journeys and their spiritual practices to discern the will of God in their lives;
Interpersonal Relations which provide opportunities to reflect on how an individual relates to others, one’s own leadership style, and what this means in terms of the ministry of the teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament);
Personal Growth, through which persons reflect on who they are, what areas they need to develop, how to understand their call, and how to develop personal stewardship;
Professional Development, to help persons develop specific skills that will enhance their effectiveness as teaching elders (ministers of the Word and Sacrament) and as presbyters. Those skills should include and understanding of one’s ministry context and the ability to deal with conflict that may emerge in the place one serves.
Advisory Handbook : PC(USA)
Preparation for Ministry : Office of the General Assembly
A member of a congregation is considered for enrollment as an inquirer when he or she approaches the session about the possibility of becoming a teaching elder (also known as minister of the Word and Sacrament G-2.0501) and formally agrees with the session and with the presbytery’s Committee on Preparation for Ministry to explore the implications of this quest. Enrollment is intended to be a thoughtful and deliberate step; people are encouraged to take this formal action soon after they have made their personal decision to explore this ministry so that the presbytery’s Committee can provide them with support and counsel as early as possible.
The process of the inquiry phase is as follows:
- A person desiring to become an inquirer shall indicate to the pastor of the particular church a desire to explore the personal implications of becoming a teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament).
- The applicant shall have been an active member of that particular church for at least six months
- If, after consultation with the pastor, the applicant wishes to apply to be taken under care, the applicant shall prepare background information by completing Forms 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 2A, and request the pastor notify the session and the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. The applicant shall also complete the Presbytery of Detroit forms required for a background check. These forms will be submitted to the session and the CPM to be used by the liaisons, and kept in the applicant’s file.
- Prior to meeting with the applicant, the session shall schedule a meeting with a CPM liaison for orientation to the process used by the Presbytery of Detroit to prepare persons who are called to be a teaching elder.
- The session shall consult with the applicant and, if the individual requests to be enrolled as an inquirer, shall make a recommendation to the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. The session’s recommendation and the person appointed as session liaison will be reported on Form 1D, “Session Evaluation and Recommendation.”
- Upon receipt of the recommendation of the session, the CPM Co-moderator(s) shall request from the presbytery office a criminal background check, and appoint a liaison who shall conduct a minimum of three reference checks (See Form 2D). [amend. 10/23/12]
- When the criminal background check has cleared, and the reference checks have been completed, the inquirer’s liaison shall review the information gathered, and present the person and the information to CPM. CPM shall determine whether to enroll the person as an inquirer. If the person is enrolled, the committee shall also complete Form 2C, “Report of Initial Consultation.” [amend. 10/23/12] Committee on Preparation for Ministry Policies
- CPM shall discuss with the applicant the implications of Form 2B, “Covenant Agreement and Inquirer’s Release.” The applicant shall also be given a copy of the Presbytery of Detroit’s “Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures” (Policy P-4). When the applicant has signed Form 2B, and has signed the receipt of and concurrence with the Sexual Misconduct policy, the applicant shall be enrolled as an inquirer. Copies of the documents signed shall be given to the inquirer and the liaisons, and placed in the inquirer’s file.
CPM shall report its action to the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery on Form 2A. The Stated Clerk shall then notify the Session and the General Assembly.
- The date of the Committee’s action to enroll shall be the beginning of the covenant relationship. “The inquiry and candidacy phases shall continue for a period of no less than two years, including at least one year as a candidate.” G-2.0602 (See G-2.0610 for exceptions).
- The phase of inquiry shall be of sufficient length for the inquirer, the session, and the Committee on Preparation for Ministry to decide whether the inquirer should apply to become a candidate. During this time, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry shall make use of resources such as information provided by the inquirer, personal references, and reports from counseling services, the session, and the inquirer’s institution of learning, if the inquirer is a student.
- When a person is enrolled as an inquirer, she or he, in consultation with the liaison, shall immediately begin the process of gaining a psychological assessment. That assessment should be completed within one year of enrollment as an inquirer but must be completed within 18 months of enrollment to remain an inquirer under the care of the Presbytery of Detroit.
- The inquirer should also arrange for and take the Bible Content Exam within one year from the date of enrollment in theological education.
- Inquirers and candidates shall have a consultation at least once a year with the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. In no case shall an inquirer or candidate be excused from these annual consultations. These consultations will be scheduled by the CPM moderator.
- Prior to meeting with the committee, the inquirer shall complete Form 3, “Pre-Interview Annual Consultation Report: Growth and Development in the Last 12 Months.”
- These forms must be submitted to the presbytery office one month prior to the scheduled consultation so they may be distributed to the session liaison, CPM and the CPM liaison in preparation for the consultation.
- During each annual consultation, the Committee, the inquirer, and the session liaison or moderator will assess the inquirer’s progress toward previously Committee on Preparation for Ministry Policie established goals in each of the five growth areas and together negotiate new goals to be completed by the next consultation.
- The agreed upon goals shall be reported on Form 4, “Report of Annual Consultation.” A copy shall be given to the inquirer/candidate, the session and CPM liaisons, and a copy will be kept in the inquirer/candidate’s file.
- The Committee on Preparation for Ministry (CPM) in the Presbytery of Detroit requires that an inquirer have a psychological assessment prior to moving from the inquiry phase to the candidacy phase. The psychological assessment is developed by the assessment center, for the use of CPM and the inquirer in relationship to the inquirer’s application or to become a teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament). The psychological assessment is a confidential document which is available to CPM members, but cannot be released by CPM to any other entity. The inquirer may, of course, sign a release with the assessment center releasing the document to anyone the inquirer wishes.
- CPM’s practice regarding the cost at the psychological assessment center for this assessment is that:
one-third of the cost be paid by the inquirer
one-third of the cost be paid by the inquirer’s home church
one-third of the cost be paid by the CPM
- If there are significant financial issues for either the inquirer or the inquirer’s church, the Committee is willing to negotiate another payment plan.
(Ordinarily, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry does not share in any related costs incurred for a psychological assessment; i.e., meals and housing costs while at the assessment center, travel to the center, etc.)
- To complete a psychological assessment an inquirer must:
Receive approval from CPM to have the psychological assessment at an approved assessment center upon a request from the inquirer.
Schedule a date for an assessment at the center.
Inform the center that the inquirer will pay one-third of the cost of the assessment as the down payment, that one-third of the balance should be billed to the inquirer’s home church (provide the address),
Inform the center the final one-third should be billed to: Committee on Preparation for Ministry, The Presbytery of Detroit, 17575 Hubbell Avenue, Detroit, MI 48235.
The psychological assessment center will correspond with the inquirer regarding the specific materials to be completed prior to the assessment.
- The inquirer must sign a release to have the results of the assessment sent to the current Chair of CPM (at the Presbytery address).
A candidate for the ministry of teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament) must attend a theological institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools acceptable to the presbytery (G-2.0607). The seminary and the course of study must be approved by CPM. The course of study the Presbytery of Detroit requires is listed below. The inquirer shall contact the CPMliaison requesting permission to attend a particular seminary and requesting any equivalent courses for substitution. Exceptions to the minimums listed below must be approved by CPM, and in some cases the Presbytery of Detroit.
- Biblical Languages (4 courses required): Hebrew, Greek, Hebrew Scriptures original language exegesis, New Testament original language exegesis
- Biblical Studies (4 courses required): Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, Additional Biblical study course – OT, Additional Biblical study course – NT
- History (3 courses required): Church history overview, pre-Reformation, Church history overview, post-Reformation, Presbyterian history and creeds
- Theology (3 courses required): Systematic theology, Systematic theology, Reformed theology
- Practical Theology (8 courses required): Ministerial overview course, Reformed Worship and Sacraments, Speech class, Homiletics, Christian Education, Pastoral Counseling, Mission / Evangelism, Presbyterian Polity
- Note: Any of the above courses that a student would like to take with a Pass / Fail grade must be approved by the CPM prior to enrolling in that course.
Internet address for CPE sites: www.ACPE.org
CPM requires each inquirer or candidate to fulfill an approved 480 hour Field Education experience.
The Field Education experience shall be in a formal Presbyterian or Reformed church or parish-like setting with supervision and evaluations made available to CPM.
The Field Education must not be in the inquirer or candidate’s home church and should be in a different setting from the home congregation. For example, if the inquirer or candidate is from a small town, an urban or suburban church would be a challenging and broadening experience. If the candidate’s home church is large, a smaller church would provide new experiences.
- verify that the inquirer has completed and submitted to CPM a psychological assessment,
- verify that the inquirer has taken the Bible Content Examination, and
- verify that any other requirements of CPM have been completed
- The inquirer shall complete and present to the session and the CPM the following:
- Form 5A “Application to Be Received as a Candidate,” including three references: a professor, a supervisor and a colleague who has worked with the candidate,
- a statement of his or her understanding of the uniqueness of the Reformed tradition (F-1.01 to F-3.04),
- a statement of personal faith which incorporates an understanding of our tradition as found in F-1.02,
- a statement of what it means to be Presbyterian, indicating how that awareness grows out of participation in the life of a particular church;
- a statement of self-understanding which reflects the inquirer’s personal and cultural background and includes a concern for maintaining spiritual, physical, and mental health;
- a statement of the candidate’s understanding of the task teaching elders (minister of the Word and Sacrament) perform, including a self-awareness of specific gifts for the ministry of teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament) and of areas in which growth is needed.
- After Form 5A has been completed, the inquirer, the CPM liaison and the session liaison shall schedule with the Session a time for examination.
- The session shall make a recommendation to the Committee on Preparation for Ministry that this inquirer should or should not be enrolled as a candidate and shall report that recommendation to CPM on form 5A.
- The CPM liaison shall check the references, on Form 5A using Form 5C, Reference Form for Candidacy. The CPM liaison will prepare a written summary for the Chair of CPM. Upon receipt of that summary, the chair will schedule the examination for candidacy with the Committee on Preparation for Ministry.
- After receiving and reviewing the above information, and examining the inquirer, CPM shall make a definite recommendation to the presbytery that the inquirer shall or shall not be received as a Candidate for Ordered Ministry.
- If CPM decides that the inquirer shall not be received as a candidate for ordered ministry, that decision shall be reported to the presbytery and the session on form 5A.
- If CPM recommends to the presbytery that the inquirer should be received as a candidate for ordered ministry, that decision shall be reported to the presbytery on form 5A, and the inquirer shall sign Form 5B, “Covenant Agreement and Candidate Release. A copy of this form shall be given to the candidate and the session and CPM liaisons, and placed in the candidate’s file.
- The presbytery shall receive the report and recommendation of its committee and shall examine the inquirer in person with respect to his or her Christian faith, forms of Christian service undertaken, and motives for seeking the ministry.
- If the examination is approved, the presbytery shall receive the inquirer as a candidate as described in the Presbytery of Detroit’s policy. The moderator shall ask the constitutional questions of the candidate before the candidate is declared enrolled.
- The Stated Clerk of the presbytery shall report the action of the presbytery to the General Assembly, the candidate, and the session by completing Form 5A.
- Inquirers and candidates shall have a consultation at least once a year. During this time CPM will focus on the candidate’s preparation for ministry; especially in the areas of educational requirements, field education, and Clinical Pastoral Education.
Every inquirer and candidate enrolled in study in a theological seminary should take the Bible Content exam as often as it is offered, until it is passed.
The purpose of the candidacy phase is to provide for the full preparation of persons to serve the church as teaching elders (ministers of the Word and Sacrament). This shall be accomplished through the presbytery’s support, guidance, and evaluation of a candidate’s fitness and readiness for a call to ministry requiring ordination. Evidence of readiness to begin ordered ministry as a teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament) shall include the completion of the requirements in this manual, and an affirmation of the candidate’s wisdom and maturity of faith, leadership skills, compassionate spirit, honest repute, and sound judgment. (G-2.0607a)
An inquirer becomes a candidate by action of presbytery. At that time the presbytery formally concludes a candidate has demonstrated adequate promise for ministry (G-2.0604), the candidate is assured of God’s call to enter ordered ministry, and the candidate formally agrees to accept the presbytery’s supervision of the candidate’s preparation for the ministry of teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament).
The process of the candidacy phase is as follows:
When the inquirer has completed a psychological assessment and the results, along with reference checks, and any other required information, have been reviewed by the Subcommittee on Inquirer Qualifications, and its recommendations have been acted upon by CPM, the inquirer and liaison may explore together the inquirer’s readiness for candidacy.
When the inquirer is ready to apply for status as a candidate, the inquirer and the liaison shall:
Candidacy continues until the presbytery acts in one of three ways to remove the candidate’s name from the Roll of Candidates:
- Completion of the preparation for ministry process with a call to the ordered ministry of teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament).
- Withdrawal by the candidate;
- Removal by the presbytery.
Completion of the process through a call occurs as follows:
- the Committee on Preparation for Ministry determines that the candidate is ready to be examined for ordination (Presbytery of Detroit policy P-17);
- the candidate receives a call; and
- “The presbytery placing the call to the candidate for ministry shall ordinarily examine, ordain and install the candidate.” (G-2.0702)
- Final assessment must ordinarily be completed within one year of the completion of the educational requirements.
- A candidate may not enter into negotiation for service as a teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament) without approval of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry. The committee shall record when it has certified a candidate ready for examination for ordination, pending a call, and submit Form 6, “Certification of Final Assessment” to the clerk and to the presbytery. (See Presbytery of Detroit policy P-17). Evidence of readiness to begin ordered ministry as a teaching elder (minister of the Word and Sacrament) shall include: (G-2.0607)
- a candidate’s wisdom and maturity of faith, leadership skills, compassionate spirit, honest repute, and sound judgment;
- a transcript showing graduation, with satisfactory grades, at a regionally accredited college or university;
- a transcript from a theological institution accredited by the Association of Theological Schools acceptable to the presbytery, showing a course of study including Hebrew and Greek, exegesis of the Old and New Testaments using Hebrew and Greek, satisfactory grades in all areas of study, and graduation or proximity to graduation; and
- a satisfactory grades, together with the examination papers in the areas covered by any standard ordination examination approved by the General Assembly.
- The basis for this assessment will be:
a statement of faith, presented to the committee;
an exegesis of an Old Testament or New Testament text;
- a sermon based upon that text and exegesis, presented and preached to member of the committee, and
- a face-to-face examination of the candidate by the committee.
- Any candidate who has successfully passed all of the Standard Examinations for Ordination, is within five (5) months of successful completion of all academic and clinical pastoral education requirements, has fulfilled any other requirements specified by CPMand the Presbytery, and has received a positive Final Assessment, may begin to circulate a Personal Information Form for the purpose of seeking a call as teaching elder (minister of Word and Sacrament.) This action will be recorded on Form 6, and a copy shall be given to the candidate, the liaisons, and placed in the file.
- At the request of the inquirer or candidate and with the approval of the sessions and presbyteries involved, a presbytery may transfer the covenant relationship of an inquirer or candidate. (G-2.0608) This action shall be reported to the receiving presbytery by the Stated Clerk on Form 7A. If the transfer is to the Presbytery of Detroit, the Stated Clerk shall report the receipt of the inquirer or candidate to the General Assembly on Form 7A.
- In accord with G-2.069 the CPM may allow an inquirer or candidate to withdraw, or may remove an inquirer or candidate from the roll. These actions shall be reported to the Stated Clerk on Form 7B, who shall then notify the General Assembly.
- When a congregation of the Presbytery of Detroit issues a call to a candidate for ministry, or a minister from another denomination, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry shall conduct the Examination for Ordination, unless the Presbytery agrees that the examination shall be done by another presbytery.
- CPM shall conduct the examination of a candidate when the candidate provides certification of Final Assessment by the sending presbytery (Form 7A).
- CPM shall conduct the examination of a minister from another denomination when it has received certification that the minister is in good standing, and has complied with G-2.0505.
- The candidate shall provide CPM and the presbytery with an autobiographical statement, and a Statement of Faith.
The candidate shall preach a sermon before the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, and shall be examined by CPM. The examination shall cover the reasons the candidate seeks membership in the presbytery, the candidate’s theological understanding, and any other issues the committee believes appropriate.
- The committee shall present the candidate to the presbytery, with the candidate’s statement of faith and autobiographical statement, and with a recommendation as to whether ordain/receive the candidate into membership. The presbytery shall conduct an examination.
- The Stated Clerk shall report the ordination to the General Assembly on Form 7B.
- The Presbytery of Detroit, through its Committee on Preparation for Ministry’, reviews the financial well-being of those individuals under the care of the presbytery in their preparation for ordination as teaching elders.
- The committee sees its role as two-fold. First the committee has a responsibility to guide inquirers and candidates in understanding acceptable rates of indebtedness and realistic level of repayment on a pastor’s starting salary. Second, the committee has a responsibility to assist candidates and inquirers in locating sources of financial aid within acceptable indebtedness levels.
- The Committee on Preparation for Ministry suggests that $50,000 is the maximum reasonable level of educational indebtedness. (The committee defines total educational indebtedness as the total of all outstanding debt. from undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate studies.)
- The committee urges candidates to be careful about the amount of educational debt incurred, and realistic in their expectation of their future financial ability to repay that indebtedness.
- The Presbytery of Detroit has limited funds available to students under the care of the Committee on Preparation for Ministry.
- Although both inquirers and candidates may apply for tuition and/or expense reimbursement, requests from candidates will receive priority.
- The Presbytery, through the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, administers a Theological Scholarship Fund. Funding for this scholarship fund comes from offerings collected at each ordination or installation service conducted by the presbytery. All inquirers and candidates under care of the Presbytery are eligible to apply for tuition assistance. Applicants for scholarships from the Presbytery must adhere to the process described below.
- The Presbytery of Detroit’s annual operating budget for the Committee on Preparation for Ministry contains specific accounts where living and travel costs can be expensed. Unlike the Presbytery Theological Scholarship Fund mentioned above, the annual operating budget is funded each year on the basis of anticipated expenses. If an inquirer or candidate expresses a need for educational expense reimbursement in a subsequent year, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry must decide whether or not to reimburse those expenses and then budget for the specific amounts needed. If a request is received for a current year, the amount of money remaining in the budget will limit the amount that can be reimbursed.
- All applicants for financial aid will furnish the Committee on Preparation for Ministry with a current GAPFAS (Graduate and Professional Financial Aid for Students) form. This document varies from seminary to seminary and should be available through the financial aid office.
- The request for financial aid must be accompanied by a detailed accounting of anticipated income and expenses on Form 1C – Financial Planning. This accounting should include all income sources – self, family, church, seminary, denomination and any other financial assistance the individual will receive (or anticipates receiving). Expenses should be specific, e.g. tuition, room, board, books, supplies, etc.
- The presbytery will only consider requests for assistance after verification has been provided that the individual has applied for assistance from the sources listed above.
- From time to time the Committee on Preparation for Ministry may receive a request from an inquirer or candidate to reimburse tuition and/or expenses related to non-degree coursework it has specifically requested. Based on the merits of each request, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry will determine whether it will deny, share or totally reimburse these costs.