CPM Guidelines & Resources

CPM Guidelines & Resources

In this list you will find guidance on the ordination process from start to finish in Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Enneagram Assessment Process

Enneagram Assessment Process

Enneagram Assessment Process

Entering the Ministry Assessment 101

Entering the Ministry Assessment 101

Entering the Ministry Assessment 101

Entering the Ministry Assessment 101

Overview
Goals of the Entering the Ministry Assessment
What Assessments are Included
Areas of Assessment
How CPM Uses the Assessment


Overview

  • The Entering the Ministry Assessment (EMA) is a series of assessments administered to those seeking ordination in Pittsburgh Presbytery and is typically the assessment is conducted through Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute.
  • The cost of the EMA is split three ways: 20% the candidate, 40% the sponsoring church, 40% the presbytery.
  • Iquirers/Candidates (I/C) are required to complete the EMA within the first year of entering the ordination process.
  • I/C are responsible for contacting PPI to begin the EMA process.
  • The EMA consists of a battery of tests along with a follow-up interview conducted by a trained and licensed therapist.
  • Upon the completion of the tests and the interview, a full written report is sent to our office.
  • A release form is then sent to the I/C permitting us to release the information to the Care Team and, by extension, the CPM.

Goals of the Entering the Ministry Assessment

  • The requirement of something similar to the EMA is a nearly universal requirement within the denomination.
  • The exact composition of and process for the EMA differs from center to center, but the goals are the same.
  • Because we are in the “people business,” it is crucially important that both the individual and the CPM members have a good understanding of the individual.
  • In no specific order, the goals of the EMA are:
    • To assess the current psychological health of the individual
    • To gain greater insight into the strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies of the individual
    • To assess the self-awareness level of the individual

What Assessments Are Included

Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO-B): The FIRO-B helps people understand their interpersonal needs and how those needs influence their communication style and behavior and; in the process, improve their personal relationships and professional performance

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2): The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in the lives of people. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.

PsychEval Personality Questionnaire (PEPQ): The PsychEval Personality Questionnaire provides an in depth normal personality assessment and a quick screen for psychopathology-related patterns of behavior.

Strong Interest Inventory (SII): The Strong Interest Inventory® Test is a psychological instrument that began its formation in the years following World War I through the work of E.K. Strong, Jr. Strong went on to publish the first version of the Inventory in 1927. The purpose of the Inventory was based around studying the occupational interests of men and women.

Tennessee Self-Concept Scale:2 (TCS:2): The Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS) consists of 100 self-descriptive items by means of which an individual portrays what he or she is, does, likes, and feels. The scale is intended to summarize an individual’s feeling of self-worth, the degree to which the selfimage is realistic, and whether or not that self-image is a deviant one. As well as providing an overall assessment of self-esteem, the TSCS measures five external aspects of self-concept (moral-ethical, social, personal, physical, and family) and three internal aspects (identity, behavior, and selfsatisfaction). In addition, crossing the internal and external dimensions results in the mapping of 15 “facets” of self-concept.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI): The TKI is a self-report assessment that allows an individual to discover whether he/she might be overusing (a high score) or underusing (a low score) one or more of these five conflict-handling modes: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating.

Focus on the Ministry form

Life History Questionnaire: Basic biographical information, including family information

In-person interview


Areas of Assessment

Report also includes information on the following areas:

  • General Personality
  • Relational Skills
  • Family & Social Networks
  • Medical Health
  • Substance Use/Abuse
  • Psychological Illness
  • Empathy & Affective Expression
  • Emotional Maturity/Coping Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Potential for Leadership
  • Flexibility
  • Motivation for Religous Service/Sense of Vision
  • Personal/Professional Values
  • Behavior & Cooperation in the EMA Process Itself
  • Technical Appendix of Assessment Data

How CPM Uses the Assessment

The EMA is one tool out of many CPM uses to get a better understanding of the individuals moving through the process. As a tool, it should not be used as a single-factor determination unless there are serious psychological concerns raised in the report. However, one of the most important aspects of professional ministry is assessing emotional maturity and self-awareness. I (emphasis I) believe the EMA and, in particular, the reaction of the individual to the results help us gain better insight into the level of emotional maturity and self-awareness of the individual. The EMA should be used alongside tools such as the Pastor Competency Profile Evaluation, the Field Education Report, and our personal observations in determining suitability for ordained ministry.

Guidelines for Bible Content Examination

Guidelines for Bible Content Examination

Guidelines for Bible Content Examination

Guidelines for Bible Content Examination

The Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations for Candidates administers five
examinations as outlined in the Book of Order (G-14.0431), to assist in assessing readiness for ministry.
The first examination that should be taken is a multiple-choice Bible Content Examination (BCE) on major themes, events, and people of the Scriptures (normally taken in the first year of seminary).


Policy

The Commission on Preparation for Ministry of Pittsburgh Presbytery (CPM) strongly recommends Inquirers take the BCE during the first year of enrollment. Ordination examinations may be taken a maximum of three times. A third failure of any ordination examination, including Bible Content, Bible Exegesis, Church Polity, Worship & Sacraments, and Theological Competence, will result in removal from the care process.


Procedure

  1. Approval is not required from CPM for the student to register for the BCE.
  2. The BCE is given twice each year: the first Friday in February at 10:00 AM / registration deadline preceding December 31; and the Friday before Labor Day at 10:00 AM / registration deadline proceeding July 31.
  3. Inquirer executes the online application and submits to the Presbyterian Church (USA) office in Louisville along with fee
    • CPM will reimburse Inquirer for the first time the exam is taken upon receiving proof of payment
    • Re-takes are at the expense of the Inquirer
  4. Reference this schematic that illustrates the process to be used by the Care Team and Inquirer if multiple attempts are needed to pass the examination.

Suggested resources for preparation of the Bible Content Exam:

  • Fee, Gordon D Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
  • Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Book by Book. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002.
  • Handbook on Standard Ordination Examinations
Transferring and Inquirer/Candidate from Other Presbyteries

Transferring and Inquirer/Candidate from Other Presbyteries

Transferring and Inquirer/Candidate from Other Presbyteries

Transferring Inquirers/Candidates from Other Presbyteries

  1. Notification: I/C notifies all parties (presbyteries and congregations) of their desire to transfer
  2. Reference Check: CPM representatives from each presbytery connect to review and confirm I/C’s current status and progress, as well as any relevant information, most notably a willingness to release the I/C
  3. Receiving Congregation: Receiving congregation votes to receive I/C into membership
  4. Receiving Presbytery: Receiving CPM meet with I/C and votes to receive them under care
  5. Sending Presbytery: Sending presbytery mails all relevant files to receiving presbytery and formally releases the I/C to the new presbytery
Presbytery Meeting Procedure to Stand for Ordination

Presbytery Meeting Procedure to Stand for Ordination

Presbytery Meeting Procedure to Stand for Ordination

Presbytery Meeting Procedure to Stand for Ordination

  1. Introduction – The chair and/or representatives of CPM will introduce the person being examined and recommended for ordination.
  2. Endorsement – An individual (or individuals), selected by the candidate and CPM, who knows the individual will speak to the candidate’s fitness and readiness for ordained ministry.
  3. Brief Biography and Statement of Faith – The candidate will then briefly introduce themselves, share their faith journey and sense of call, and then read their faith statement.
  4. The moderator will then ask the candidate to briefly expand on a section of their statement of faith.
  5. The moderator will then ask if there are any further questions from the body.  Commissioners’ questions must relate to the candidate’s statement of faith, forms of service, or sense of call.  Questions beyond this scope will be ruled out of order.

TOTAL time allotment: 25 minutes


Sample biographical sketch

(Written by Rev. Brian Wallace, Associate Minister for Pittsburgh Presbytery)

Good afternoon! My name is Brian Wallace. I was born in upstate New York and attended Ogden Presbyterian Church near Rochester, NY. In 1999, I came to Western Pennsylvania to attend Grove City College and it was during my time in college that I began to sense God was calling me to ministry. I completed my Physics and Computer Science degree and continued my studies at Pittsburgh Seminary, where I graduated in 2006. For me, central to my sense of call is to nurture faith in the lives of teenagers, so I am excited today to stand before you, if the way be clear, to serve as an Associate for Youth at Hampton Presbyterian Church.

Presbytery Meeting Procedure for Introduction of Candidates

Presbytery Meeting Procedure for Introduction of Candidates

Presbytery Meeting Procedure for Introduction of Candidates

Presbytery Meeting Procedure for Introduction of Candidates

Per the manual of Pittsburgh Presbytery, the Commission on Preparation for Ministry is granted the authority to act on behalf of the presbytery to approve an Inquirer for Candidacy whom they believe have demonstrated the necessary gifts, calling, and qualifications to pursue ordination as a Minister of Word & Sacrament.

It is customary within Pittsburgh Presbytery for those who have been received by the CPM as Candidates, to appear at a subsequent meeting of the presbytery to be introduced. The key word here is introduction, not examination. The examination for candidacy is the responsibility of the CPM alone.

  1. The Moderator invites the CPM Chair or their designee forward to present the report of the Commission on Preparation for Ministry.
  2. The Chair (or designee) says “Mr./Madam Moderator, CPM presents _____ to be introduced as a Candidate today and he/she will be introduced by _____, a member of his/her Care Team.”
  3. The moderator should invite both the Candidate and the Care Team member(s) forward.
  4. The Care Team member (or another member of CPM) should briefly introduce the Candidate (2-3 sentences) highlighting the gifts they see in the person (biographical information will be covered by the Candidate themselves). In short, the Care Team member should answer the question: “Why are you excited about the ministry potential of this individual?”
    Time allotment: 2 minutes
  5. The Chair should thank the Care Team member then invite the Candidate forward to share their sense of call and current forms of service to the church. Framing questions for candidates to think about answering:
  • Why do you feel called to Ministry of Word & Sacrament?
  • What events have been significant in shaping your sense of call?
  • What gifts for ministry have you discovered?
  • What excites you most about ministry?
  • Where have you served the church (Field Education, volunteer experiences, summer jobs, church leadership, etc)?

Time allotment: 3 minutes

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • The candidate does not and should not answer all of the above questions; these are suggestions only with a maximum of 600 words.
  • You should answer the questions succinctly and to the point and plan on speaking for a total of two minutes, three minutes at the very most.
  • We strongly recommend you write what you are going to say ahead of time as standing in front of the presbytery can be an intimidating experience. While you certainly do not need to read what you have written, the act of writing it in advance will help you be more focused and to the point.

SAMPLES:

Good afternoon, my name is Jane Smith and I am currently a member of First Presbyterian Church. I grew up at First Presbyterian and was very active in youth group and summer camp during my high school years. When I graduated from college I began to sense God was calling me to ministry and I spent a year interning at Third Presbyterian Church before starting seminary the following year. This past year, I completed my field education work at Unity Presbyterian Church where I have spent a lot of time working with the Deacons and assisting in worship. I have found both churches in which I have served to be challenging and rewarding places and have confirmed my sense God is leading me toward parish ministry.

Good afternoon, my name is John Smith and I have taken a winding road to be here today. I grew up in a family where my mother was Baptist and my father was Catholic. As a kid, I went to church and youth group at the local Baptist church. After college, I took a job at Widgets Incorporated in the sales division. My wife and I started attending the local non-denominational church and that is the first time I really took faith seriously. When we moved to Pittsburgh, we joined Second Presbyterian Church where I served on Session and Board of Deacons along with teaching Sunday school. After years of fighting it, I realized God was calling me to leave my work at Widgets and pursue a calling to ministry. Seminary has been challenging for me but I had a chance this past year to travel to Vietnam which completely changed how I understand God’s work in the world. I am not sure where God is leading me next but am confident that serving the church in ministry of word and sacrament will be the central part of that call.

The Chair may do this if the Care Team member is not comfortable with that assignment. If there are multiple
individuals to be introduced as Candidates, the procedure shall be repeated  and all those being introduced prayed for at once.

TOTAL time allotment: 5 minutes

Spiritual Growth Mentor & Mentor Couples

Spiritual Growth Mentor & Mentor Couples

Spiritual Growth Mentor & Mentor Couples

Spiritual Growth Mentor & Mentor Couples

Preparation for ministry is, in many respects, a lifelong process; however, you are currently in the midst of a period of concentrated preparation. The Commission on Preparation for Ministry recognizes you face significant practical, academic, and ecclesiastical challenges, some of which are imposed by the Book of Order and administered by our commission. We do take seriously our responsibility to examine, shape, and with Presbytery, confirm your call to ministry. Because of this official role, you might be inclined to think of us simply as agents of Presbyterian decency and order, concerned more with law than with spirit. But our official function does not override our concern for your spiritual growth with God and in the practical aspects of ministry. In fact, we pray that the pressures of other preparation requirements will not dampen or deter your spiritual growth in its fullness.

A vital spirituality was probably an important factor when you began to consider professional ministry as a vocation. May that spiritual foundation be enhanced through this time of preparation. An effective ministry demands a spiritual life with depth and vigor. Paul reminded the Roman Christians (chapter 7, verse 6) that we serve “in the new life of the Spirit.” And we encourage you to make spiritual growth a continuing priority.

Specifically, we are asking you to do three things:

  • Select and ask someone to serve as your spiritual growth mentor (and spiritual growth mentoring couple if married). Seek someone who will be objective and who will safeguard confidentiality, perhaps the person who inspired you to enter the ministry, a member of the seminary staff, or a trusted colleague in ministry whom you perceive to be markedly further along in their spiritual journey. The commission can suggest possible spiritual growth mentors that would be helpful to you. These persons are known by the commission to be capable, objective and committed to the spiritual growth of church leaders.
  • When you have found the person who agrees to be your spiritual growth mentor, please let us know. We  will send them a letter explaining the program and our expectations. It is important that your relationship with a spiritual growth mentor be open, trusting and fruitful. Your conversations will be confidential. Your mentor will not be asked to report to the commission. The forms for your Annual Consultation (and the consultation itself) will afford you an opportunity to evaluate and report to your Care Team your progress in the area of spirituality.
  • Do reading and reflecting upon spiritual growth. We hope this will help you cultivate spiritual growth disciplines and habits that you will carry into a life of ministry.

Is this “just something else” you are being asked to do in the gauntlet of preparation? No, because your spiritual
growth as a person with God and in the practical aspects of ministry is a key part of preparation for ministry. And you will likely be the greatest beneficiary of attention to growth “in the life of the Spirit.” You may expect a solid spiritual life:

  • to contribute to psychological and emotional well-being,
  • to enhance your closest and most demanding relationships (such as with a spouse or with children),
  • to assist you in ordering life goals and values,
  • to lead to the healthy integration of your personal and professional life,
    to equip you for a leadership role: strengthening you for the task of building up other individuals and building the community in which you serve,
  • to yield insights and encouragement for your own efforts to promote healing, wholeness, peace, and abundant life.

Furthermore, many have argued convincingly that a well-developed spiritual life will have practical benefits in time management and conflict management as well as preaching and teaching. In short, the antennae you erect for receiving God’s grace and guidance may become also the instruments for broadcasting the “good news.” The disciplines and fruit of your spiritual life will be felt throughout the Church for decades to come.

May your time of preparation be exciting, rewarding, and full of the Spirit of God! If you have any questions, please contact your Care Team.

Exegetical Work & Sermon Guidelines

Exegetical Work & Sermon Guidelines

Exegetical Work & Sermon Guidelines

Exegetical Work & Sermon Guidelines

Adopted 1/30/2008

Statement
One sentence will be required that explains the core statement of the passage.

Supporting Paragraph
A complete paragraph will be written that elaborates the theme by giving insights from the translation.

Exegetical Work to Substantiate the Derivation of the Statement

  1. Translation of the original language
  2. Discussion of authorship and historicity
  3. Keyword study parsing all of the significant Hebrew or Greek words with an explanation of any theological, contextual, or linguistic factors that contributed to the original translation by the candidate; parsing should be applied to words whose meaning are significant for the passage, verb forms in particular; the commissioners are looking for confirmation that the candidate has a working knowledge of how the parsing impacts the translation of and meaning of a given word
  4. Theological analysis of the significance of the passage and thoughts about the theological implications of the passage for other Biblical passages
  5. Discussion of the significance of the passage in the context of its own Biblical book
  6. Pastoral application and relevance of the passage today
  7. Bibliography
  8. Sermon

The exegetical portion of the paper, in addition to the written sermon, will be 10 to 15 pages in length,
double spaced, and include all of the components.
NOTE: The biblical exegesis from the ordination examination cannot be used.

Preaching & Hearing the Sermon

  1. Good communication skills: hand gestures, eye contact, well-composed, articulation, and enunciation.
  2. Attentiveness of the congregation. Was the sermon appropriate for the listening congregation?
  3. Accuracy of sermon relative to text and exegesis, and relevancy of the illustrations and practical application.
Ordination Process In Pittsburgh Presbytery

Ordination Process In Pittsburgh Presbytery

Ordination Process In Pittsburgh Presbytery

Ordination Process in Pittsburgh Presbytery (9/6/2019)

(Based on Book of Order G-2.06 – Ordination in the PCUSA)

Phase 1: Applicant to Inquirer
Phase 2: Inquirer to Candidate
Phase 3: Candidate to Certified Ready (To Receive a Call)
Phase 4: Certified Ready to Ordination

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • All required forms are available online on the CPM Forms page.
  • During all phases of the care process, a student CANNOT move to the next step without first contacting their Care Team.
  • The Care Team is responsible for submitting all requests made to the commission on behalf of the student.
  • IF AN INQUIRER/CANDIDATE IS OUT OF CONTACT WITH THEIR CARE TEAM FOR TWO OR MORE YEARS, THEY WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE ORDINATION PROCESS.
  • The following steps represent only positive actions. At various points, negative actions or voluntary withdrawal will terminate the process.

Phase 1: Applicant to Inquirer

  1. A person desiring to become an Inquirer talks with pastor/session about their desire to explore the personal implications of becoming a minister. NOTE: The individual must be a member of the sponsoring congregation for at least 3 months and active in the work and worship of that congregation for at least 6 months (G.2.0602).
  2. The pastor/session of the sponsoring congregation contacts the Commission on Preparation for Ministry (CPM) for orientation to the process used in Pittsburgh Presbytery if it has been more than three years since the last orientation. A CPM representative meets with the session.
  3. The person desiring to become an Inquirer submits completed Form 1A, 1B, & 1C  which can be found on the CPM Forms page or the Presbyterian Church (USA) website, or you can contact the CPM if the applicant has no computer access.  At this point, the Applicant should begin maintaining a file containing copies of all documents they submit as well as all documents received during the ordination process.
  4. All child abuse (molestation, rape, or endangerment), criminal, and federal criminal history clearances/records required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including FBI fingerprinting regardless of whether the applicant has been a resident of the Commonwealth for the previous ten years, must be received prior to enrollment as an Inquirer into the care process as per the Child & Youth Protection Policy of Pittsburgh Presbytery (approved by the Executive Committee on April 18, 2017). The CPM will reimburse Applicants in full for any such services as is required upon receiving proof of payment and successful enrollment as an Inquirer. If the child abuse (molestation, rape or endangerment), criminal, and federal criminal history clearances/records reveal the Applicant has a documented occurrence, the Applicant will not be enrolled in the care process. For as long as the participant is enrolled in the process, these clearances must be in compliance with mandated time limitations; any renewal fees are the responsibility of the participant. Detailed information, instructions, and links to obtain clearances can be found on the CPM Guidelines & Resources page.
  5. Session interviews Applicant and shall make a recommendation to Pittsburgh Presbytery. If the session votes favorably, it assigns a liaison elder, executes, signs, and forwards Form 1D and Form 2B to the CPM at least two weeks before the CPM meeting.
  6. Upon receipt of Form 1 (all parts) and Form 2B, CPM assigns a commissioner, who meets with the Applicant for a Pre-Care Consultation to review forms, to give an overview of the process, and to explore the Applicant’s sense of call.  The commissioner then submits Form 2A to make an official report of the pre-care consultation.
  7. Applicant, with liaison elder, meets with CPM. Liaison elder speaks about the action the session took concerning the Applicant. CPM interviews Applicant. If CPM votes favorably to enroll the applicant, this action is reported to Pittsburgh Presbytery. Inquirers are gifted by the CPM with the following: Presbyterian Questions/Presbyterian Answers by Donald K. McKim, Presbyterian Polity for Church Officers by Joan Gray and Joyce Tucker, and current Book of Order. Additionally, a copy of the Standards of Ethical Conduct of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Acknowledgement of Receipt form are given to Inquirer; the form is signed by the Inquirer and returned immediately. A Care Team is assigned to the Inquirer, Form 2B is signed by the chair of CPM and distributed. A permanent file is started at Pittsburgh Presbytery which will include all forms, reports, exams, transcripts, correspondence, and other pertinent documentation.

Congratulations! You are now enrolled as an Inquirer. The two-year time requirement of G-2.0602 begins at this time. The inquiry and candidacy phases shall continue for a period of no less than two years, including at least one year as a Candidate.


Phase 2: Inquirer to Candidate

  1. The Care Team shall meet with the Inquirer for an Initial Consultation within the first 90 days after coming under care and contact the person’s references to discuss personal traits, character, work history, etc.
  2. Inquirer is required to send copies of undergraduate college and seminary transcripts (the latter submitted annually until successfully earning Master of Divinity or Master of Divinity equivalent) and Field Education Reports to CPM (G-2.0604).
  3. Unless otherwise granted an explicit exception, the Inquirer must successfully complete the Bible Content Examination before moving to Candidacy. Approval is not required from CPM. The Bible Content Examination is offered twice a year: the first Friday in February at 10:00 AM / registration deadline preceding December 31 and the Friday before Labor Day at 10:00 AM / registration deadline proceeding July 31. Inquirer executes the online application and submits to the Presbyterian Church (USA) office in Louisville along with fee. CPM will reimburse Inquirer for the first time the exam is taken upon receiving proof of payment. Re-takes are at the expense of the Inquirer.  Information about all Ordination Exams, including the schedule, descriptions, registrations, and Exam Handbook are available our CPM Forms page as well as the PC(USA) site.
  4. Inquirer selects a spiritual mentor and informs CPM of the person’s name, address, email, and telephone number. If the Inquirer is married, a mentoring couple is also selected and CPM is informed of the couple’s name, address, email, and telephone number. Inquirers and Candidates must meet with spiritual mentor at least 2 times a year. It is strongly recommended that a meeting with marriage mentors be held at least 2 times a year. Care Team will discuss this at each Annual Consultation.
  5. Inquirer is required to complete an Entering the Ministry Assessment at an approved career development center and release the results to CPM (see Release of Entering the Ministry Assessment Form on the CPM Forms page) within six months of being enrolled as an Inquirer. The cost will be covered as follows: 40% paid by CPM, 40% paid by session, and 20% paid by Inquirer. CPM sends a copy of the assessment to the Inquirer’s Care Team for their review and places original in the permanent file of the Inquirer. Care Team will discuss the assessment with the Inquirer at the Annual Consultation or at a separate time.
  6. Additionally, the Inquirer will participate in Ministry Assessment (MA) Part I: Inventory for Inquirers conducted by the Care Team within 12 months of being enrolled as an Inquirer; the Care Team will initiate scheduling this assessment with the Inquirer. This assessment can be completed either as part of an Initial Consultation or an Annual Consultation.
  7. Annual Consultations are to be held throughout the Inquirer and Candidate phases (G-2.0605).
    • The Inquirer completes Pre-Interview Annual Consultation Report (Form 3) and electronically forwards to the Care Team one week prior to the scheduled consultation.
    • The Care Team meets with the Inquirer and reports to CPM for approval using Form 4. All Annual
      Consultations become part of permanent file.
    • At each Annual Consultation, the Care Team will discuss the following: sex, substance abuse, money, higher standard to which clergy are held, and how they take care of themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
    • Worship and involvement at a PC(USA) church are required and will be discussed at each Annual Consultation.
    • NOTE: On an annual basis, the CPM Chair, Vice Chair, and/or Staff Liaison will review with Dean of Students at seminaries those students under care. All Inquirers and Candidates must maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average.
  8. The Care Team, on behalf of the CPM, advises Inquirer of seminary courses or special training requirement (G-2.0605). All Inquirers and Candidates must attend a seminary accredited and approved by the Association of Theological Schools in USA and Canada. Those attending a non PC(USA) seminary may be required to attend a PC(USA) seminary for coursework including, but not limited to: Presbyterian polity; reformed theology; reformed worship and sacraments; Presbyterian confessions; and a course utilizing Biblical exegetical interpretation. All students, regardless of where they attend seminary, are required to complete the course work listed above.
  9. The Care Team, on behalf of the CPM, approves field work or internships (G-2.0605). Field education (FE) in a supervised ministry is required. One FE experience must be in a PC(USA) church and the home church cannot serve as sole FE experience. Therefore, one FE experience must be different from the home church in terms of the type of church. Inquirer/Candidate must enter into a FE experience before moving to Candidacy but not necessarily complete. Care Team must receive and review report from FE supervisor. Inquirer/Candidate has responsibility for ensuring the report is sent to Care Team. Care Team is encouraged to contact supervisor by telephone.
  10. Additionally, the Inquirer will participate in the Ministry Assessment (MA) Part II: Pre-Candidacy Evaluation conducted by the Care Team following the completion of FE experience; the Care Team will initiate scheduling this assessment with the Inquirer either as part of an Annual Consultation or at another time.
  11. Inquirers and Candidates are encouraged (not required) to take Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). CPM reserves the right to require a CPE experience. Reports from the CPE supervisor are required and Care Team is responsible for reviewing the report and contacting the CPE supervisor.
  12. Inquirer and Care Team determine readiness to move from Inquiry Phase to Candidacy Phase. Inquirer completes Forms 5A and 5D from the CPM Forms page or contacts CPM if they have no computer access. If the Inquirer chooses to have a Candidacy Reception, they can also find a form for Planning Your Reception as a Candidate as a Minister of Word & Sacrament (optional) on the CPM forms page under the “Commission Planning” section.
  13. Inquirer writes responses to the six statements listed on Required Candidacy Questions & Personal Statement of Faith. IMPORTANT NOTE: The response to #6, “A statement of personal faith which incorporates an understanding of the Reformed tradition,” and must:
    • be no longer than 850 words with word count noted at the end of the document and lines numbered down the left side of the page
    • include a discussion demonstrating an understanding of: the triune God; each person of the God-head; the saving work of Jesus Christ; the Church; scripture; sacraments; eschatology; humanity and sin. This Statement of Faith is to be reviewed by the Care Team prior to making a request to move to Candidacy.
    • Once the Statement is reviewed and approved by the Care Team, the responses to the six statements, the Statement of Faith and, if doing an optional reception, also a completed copy of Planning Your Reception as a Minister of Word & Sacrament found on CPM Forms page under the “Commission Planning” section) are sent to the sponsoring session and pastor.
  14. Session interviews Inquirer then executes, signs, and forwards Form 5B to the CPM with a recommendation. Executed forms must be electronically received by the CPM two weeks prior to the CPM meeting. If the session intends to have a reception service for the new Candidate, the proposed date for that event must be included with these forms.
  15. Care Team informs CPM that the Inquirer desires and is ready to move to the Candidacy Phase. The Inquirer, accompanied by liaison elder, is examined by CPM. If CPM votes favorably to advance the Inquirer to Candidate, Form 5D is signed by the chair of CPM and distributed and CPM introduces Candidate to Pittsburgh Presbytery on the floor of the presbytery meeting.
  16. Pittsburgh Presbytery is permitted to ask the Inquirer questions as it relates to his/her Christian faith, forms of Christian service undertaken, and motives for seeking the ministry; theological questions are not in order at this time.
  17. The Candidate may choose to have a service of reception. Such services are optional and may be held at either the presbytery meeting or at the home church of the Candidate. If a service of reception is held in the home congregation, the commission reports reception of Candidate has been properly held to Stated Clerk of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Congratulations! You are now a Candidate for ordained ministry in the PC(USA).


Phase 3: Candidate to Certified Ready (To Receive a Call)

  1. Care Team continues to hold Annual Consultations with Candidate (including those Certified Ready) (G-2.0605).
  2. The Candidate must seek approval and permission from the Care Team (if time frame of G-2.0602 is satisfied), to take the Senior Ordination Examinations. The Care Team will report granted permissions to the chair and the office of CPM. CPM recommends all four exams be taken at the same time but it is not a requirement. The Senior Ordination Examinations are offered three times a year: at the end of January, July, and October with registration deadlines on the last day of the month preceding administration. The specific dates for the program year are available on the PC(USA) website. Candidate executes the online application and submits to the Presbyterian Church (USA) office in Louisville along with payment. CPM will reimburse Candidate for the first time the examinations are taken upon receiving proof of payment. Re-takes are at the expense of the Candidate. Information about all Ordination Exams, including the schedule, descriptions, registrations, and Exam Handbook are available our CPM Forms page as well as the PC(USA) site.
    • NOTE: Ordination examinations may be taken a maximum of three times. A third failure of any ordination examination, including, Bible Exegesis, Church Polity, Worship & Sacraments, and Theological Competence, will result in removal from the care process.
  3. A Candidate who has completed two full years of theological education or its equivalent, who has had an Annual Consultation within the previous year, and has successfully completed all ordination examinations may request permission to be Certified Ready to Receive a Call and granted permission to enter into negotiations for service. (G-2.0607)
  4. The Candidate preaches a sermon by means of the following process:
    • The Candidate presents a written sermon to the Care Team with a description of the contemporary need to which it was addressed and an exegetical interpretation following the CPM Exegetical Work & Sermon Guidelines
    • The pastor member of the Care Team, in collaboration with the elder member, is to review the exegetical work of the Candidate
    • Arrangements to hear a sermon must be made by the Care Team in cooperation with the Candidate
    • The elder of the Care Team is to hear the sermon and elicit feedback from members of the congregation
    • If neither member of the Care Team is available to hear the sermon, the Care Team may solicit help from other commissioners or arrange for the sermon to be preached in the pulpit of the pastor member
    • The Care Team is to verbally report at the CPM meeting
    • The Care Team must submit the date and place of the Candidacy sermon to the presbytery office as this is a matter of record and report to Pittsburgh Presbytery
  5. The Candidate meets with the Care Team to review the Candidate’s one-page (850 words maximum with word count noted at the end of the document and lines numbered down the left side of the page) Statement of Faith and the Constitutional Ordination questions (W-4.4003). The Statement of Faith should include a discussion demonstrating an understanding of: the triune God; each person of the God-head; the saving work of Jesus Christ; the Church; scripture; sacraments; eschatology; humanity and sin. NOTE: The Statement of Faith presented, defended, and approved at the CPM meeting is the statement that is published and defended on the floor of the presbytery meeting and cannot be altered.
  6. The Candidate provides CPM with a copy of their statement of faith two weeks prior to the scheduled commission meeting. The Candidate appears before CPM, reads their Statement of Faith and is examined by CPM. If approved, the Candidate may request permission to circulate Personal Information Form (PIF) and enter into negotiation for service. NOTE: A Candidate cannot receive a call until they have completed the time requirement of G-2.0602 but may enter into negotiations before completing their seminary degree.
  7. CPM reports to Pittsburgh Presbytery the Candidate is Certified Ready to receive a call.

Congratulations! You are now Certified Ready to receive a call.


Phase 4: Certified Ready to Ordained

  1. The Candidate circulates their PIF. NOTE: If you are applying for any ordainable position in Pittsburgh Presbytery, including temporary relationships, it is required by the Commission on Ministry for you to complete and submit a PIF.
  2. The Candidate receives a call from a church or validated ministry and informs CPM.
  3. The Candidate submits to CPM the Planning the Commission for Your Ordination Service form for CPM approval at least one week prior to the CPM meeting. The Candidate may choose to appear before the CPM again or not, it is the personal choice of the Candidate. The Candidate MUST contact the Moderator of Pittsburgh Presbytery directly (for current moderator contact information, go to Staff Profiles page, under “Presbytery Moderators” section) to make them aware of the service details as the Moderator or their designee will be one of five members of the commission. NOTE: A completed draft of the bulletin must be submitted to the Moderator at least one week prior to the service. The Candidate may find service resources on the CPM Forms page under “Commission Planning”.
  4. CPM certifies the Candidate is ready to be examined by the presbytery and provides copies of the Candidate’s Statement of Faith for all commissioners to presbytery (G-2.0702).
  5. The presbytery of call to a Candidate for ministry shall ordain and install the Candidate (G-2.0702). If presbytery is fully satisfied the Candidate is suited, fit, and ready for ordination, the vote shall be to proceed to their ordination.
  6. If the ordination is conducted by Pittsburgh Presbytery, an appointed Commission ordains the Candidate and submits a report to the Stated Clerk of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Rejoice! The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a newly ordained pastor. Praise be to God!

First Steps For Applying to Enroll As An Inquirer

First Steps For Applying to Enroll As An Inquirer

First Steps For Applying to Enroll As An Inquirer

Applying to Become an Inquirer

According to the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church (USA), the purpose of the Inquiry process is as follows (G2.0602):

The purpose of the inquiry phase is to provide an opportunity for the church and those who believe themselves called to ordered ministry as teaching elders to explore that call together so that the presbytery can make an informed decision about the inquirer’s suitability for ordered ministry.

In Pittsburgh Presbytery, enrolling as an Inquirer is the first step you will take toward becoming an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament or a Commissioned Pastor. If you are seeking to enroll as an Inquirer, following are the steps you need to take.

  1. Tell your pastor and/or clerk of session at your church of membership.
  2. If you do not already have the three standard clearances (child abuse, criminal, and FBI) you should begin working on them immediately. Instructions may be found on the presbytery website. The policy of Pittsburgh Presbytery forbids the enrollment of any individual until they have submitted their completed *clearances.
  3. Go to the CPM Forms  page and complete Forms 1A, 1B, and 1C. All three forms will need to be submitted to your session and ultimately to the presbytery.
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to select the “Print Form” button before the “Submit” button in order to print to a PDF writer and save on your computer. Form 1C is a writable PDF worksheet you will need to complete, save to your computer, and submit via email to Pittsburgh Presbytery staff liaisons for CPM.
  4. Also notify the presbytery staff liaisons for CPM at the presbytery office of your intent to enroll as an Inquirer. They are the two staff members who work directly with CPM and are available to answer any questions you may have.
  5. In order to endorse you as an Inquirer, your session will need to have an orientation conducted by a team member serving on the Commission on Preparation for Ministry (CPM). It is the responsibility of your pastor to request this visit if one has not been done in the last three years. While not directly your responsibility, you need to be aware this visit must occur before you can be enrolled. All the more reason to tell your pastor as early as you can!
  6. After you meet with the session and are endorsed, Forms 1D and 2B must be completed by a representative of the session.
  7. Forms 1A, 1B, 1D, and 2B will be automatically submitted to the presbytery when they are completed online. Form 1C and your three clearances must be emailed to presbytery staff liaisons for CPM.
  8. The next step will be to meet with a CPM commissioner who will conduct a Pre-Care Consultation with you. This will be arranged by you directly once you receive notification from the presbytery office. However, before this can take place, all of your forms and clearances must be submitted.
  9. The last step is to meet with the CPM of Pittsburgh Presbytery. You will receive specific instructions and docket time one week prior to the CPM meeting from the presbytery office.

*The only exception to this rule is when the individual is, for whatever reason, having difficulty completing the FBI Fingerprinting.

CPM Standards & Measures

CPM Standards & Measures

CPM Standards & Measures

CPM Standards & Measures

Adopted December 3, 2003

Standards

Field Education in a Supervised Ministry
Psychological Evaluation
Reports & Information from Seminarians
Mentor Relationships
Ongoing Worship & Involvement in a PCUSA Church
Clinical Pastoral Education
Seminary Attendance
Personal & Professional References

Measures

Statements of Faith (Candidacy & Certification)
CPM Questioning
Constitutional Questions
Moral, Ethical, & Nurturing Issues


Standards

Field Education in a Supervised Ministry

  1. Required of all inquirers and candidates.
  2. Home church cannot serve as sole field education experience.
  3. One field education experience must be different from home church in terms of type of church.
  4. One field education experience must be in a PC(USA) church.
  5. Care team must validate field education before it is undertaken.
  6. Care team must receive and review report from field education supervisor. Inquirer/candidate has responsibility for ensuring that report is sent to care team.
  7. Care team is encouraged to contact supervisor by telephone.

Psychological Evaluation

Required by all inquirers within the first 6 months of candidacy at an approved evaluation center.  Care team must review reports.


Reports & Information from Seminaries

  1. All inquirers and candidates must maintain at least a 2.5 cumulative grade point average.
  2. All inquirers must sign a release form permitting the CPM and its members and staff to obtain personal and academic information from any individuals or institution including their seminary for the duration of the ordination process.
  3. Care Team checks all transcripts for not only grades but course work.
  4. On an annual basis the CPM Chair and/or Vice Chair will review with Dean of Students at seminaries those students under CPM’s care.

Mentor Relationships

  1. Must meet with spiritual mentor at least 2 times a year.
  2. With regard to marriage mentors, they are strongly encouraged to meet at least 2 times a year.
  3. Care Team discusses this at annual consultation.

Ongoing Worship & Involvement in a PC(USA) Church

Required for all inquirers and candidates. Care Team discusses with person under their care at annual consultation.


Clinical Pastoral Education

  1. Encouraged but not required for all inquirers and candidates.
  2. CPM reserves the right to require a CPE experience on an individual, case by case basis.
  3. CPM receives reports from supervisor and contacts the supervisor for information. Care team is responsible for reviewing and contacting.

Seminary Attendance

  1. All inquirers and candidates must attend a seminary accredited and approved by the Association of Theological Schools in USA and Canada.
  2. If Inquirers or Candidates choose to attend a non-PC(USA) seminary, then they may be required to attend a PC(USA)seminary for coursework including, but not limited to, the following areas: Presbyterian polity; reformed theology; reformed worship and sacraments; Presbyterian confessions; and a course utilizing Biblical exegetical interpretation.
  3. All students under care of CPM, regardless of where they attend seminary, are required to complete the course work listed in the above paragraph.
  4. Future course work discussed with care team in an effort to ensure that the above courses are taken by all students.

Personal & Professional References

  1. Each inquirer must supply the names, addresses and telephone numbers of 2 personal and 2 work-related your supervisor) or academic references. Such references cannot include family members.
  2. All references must be contacted by care team within first 6 months of inquiry. Discussions should center on personal traits, character, work history, etc.

Measures

Statements of Faith for Both Candidacy & Certification

  1. Statements of faith should be reviewed in some form, email or personal meeting (preferable), with care team prior to appearing before CPM.
  2. All statements should demonstrate a reformed theological understanding and utilize clear and concise language as well as standard theological terminology. Statements should be no more than one page (one side) in length and no longer than 850 words with word count noted and lines numbered down the left side of the document. As a guideline, each statement should include, but not be limited by, a discussion of the following theological doctrines:
    • understanding of the triune God;
    • understanding of each person of the God-head;
    • understanding of the saving work of Jesus Christ;
    • understanding of the Church;
    • understanding of Scripture;
    • understanding of the Sacraments;
    • understanding of eschatology;
    • understanding of humanity and sin
  3. In reviewing statements of faith at the candidacy phase, consideration is taken into account regarding course work taken up to that point (including course work still to be taken). However, whatever the level of courses taken by a particular individual, some statement of understanding (whatever the individual understands at that point in time) is still expected in regard to at least those theological doctrines listed in the above paragraph.

CPM Questioning

  1. Before a particular individual is questioned at any stage of the process but after they are introduced by the care team, entire CPM should BRIEFLY share their concerns and potential questions in an effort to streamline questioning.
  2. CPM reviews appropriate questioning at training session as well as guidance on parameters of reformed theological understanding as guided by scripture, confessions and other theological documents as distributed by CPM.
  3. The CPM will distribute to all members a Book of Confessions, The PC(USA) Study Catechism and other summary confessional materials. It is expected that all members will read and be familiar with these documents and materials.

Constitutional Questions

  1. Care team should review the constitutional questions with individual before they appear before CPM to be certified ready to receive a call (before their oral trials).
  2. One way to talk about these questions is to tell individuals: “Be prepared to discuss the ordination questions before CPM.” In addition, a good way to ask about these questions is as follows: “Which ordination question gives you pause or concern?”

Moral, Ethical & Nurturing Issues

  1. Care team should address in annual consultation sex, substance abuse and money. At some point in all annual consultations discussion should focus on this question: “Are there things concerning these issues (sex, substance abuse or money) that we should talk about?”
  2. Talk about higher standard to which clergy are held.
  3. Discuss with them how they “take care of themselves” physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  4. If married student, care team should attempt to offer to take them out for a meal together with the spouse at some point during the care process.
  5. Discuss with them the appropriate use of social media use.