2011-2013 Advisory Handbook on Preparing for Ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The revision to the Book of Order approved by the presbyteries in 2011 was intentionally different in tone and purpose from recent versions. Rather than a regulatory manual that provides guidance for all that we do as a church, it is a description of our common life. The Book of Order now opens with “Foundations of Presbyterian Polity” that lay out the important theological and ecclesial principles for the church’s life. The extensively revised Form of Government has many detailed provisions removed, leaving a broad framework within which councils of the church discern what is the best course of action based on their mission context and understanding of God’s will.
In keeping with that approach, the current “Advisory Handbook” guide those discerning a possible call to ordered ministry as teaching elders and those who work with them through the process of preparation for ministry. It explores the changing ministry landscape into which God will “send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38), reviews the current constitutional requirements related to preparation for ordination as a teaching elder, outlines the responsibilities of the different partners in the process, and identifies resources on a variety of related topics.
This resource is no longer published for purchase. It is available without charge through the links below in a variety of formats. Mid-councils are free to use the documents or adapt them for incorporation into their own documents.
The “Advisory Handbook” is regularly updated in response to suggestions from the presbyteries and actions by the church and its agencies. The latest revision is identifiable by the date “March 2013” on the cover page and “Release 1.4” on the copyright page. )
Complete “Advisory Handbook”
Portions related to specific topics are also available as handouts in either Adobe Reader (.pdf) or Microsoft Word (.doc) file formats.
“Preparing for Ministry Today”
“Walking the Road Together” (Book of Order requirements review)
Preparing for ordination as a teaching elder
Inquiry Phase (G-2.0603)
Candidacy Phase (G-2.0604)
Roles and Responsibilities of Participants
The Inquirer and Candidate