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Preparation for Ministry

Online trainings


The Office of Preparation for Ministry/Examinations provides online training opportunities for presbytery committees/commissions, inquirers and candidates on a variety of topics.  These resources are updated periodically to account for changes in requirements or recommendations.  Where these resources may differ from the Advisory Handbook on Preparing for Ministry or the Handbook on Standard Ordination Examinations, please follow what is in the current editions of the handbooks.  Release dates for resources are provided so that you will know if the handbooks provide more recent information.

Process of Preparing for Ministry:

The series begins with “Cycles of Discernment.” The process leading to ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church can sometimes seem a bewildering and endless sequence of disconnected tasks. This YouTube video will give you insight into essential rhythms of discernment and preparation that not only bring order to this process but underlie the life of ministry itself (Updated December 2012)

Journey into Ministry” covers the process that may lead to ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament or to alternate forms of ministry within the church.  It introduces each stage of the formal preparation for ministry procedure with the PC(USA) and the specific purposes of each stage. (Released Fall 2010)

A Critical Decision: The Transition from Inquiry to Candidacy” explores the different purposes of the inquiry and candidacy phases of the preparation for ministry process with the Presbyterian Church and will suggest issues that need to be explored by inquirers, their sessions and their presbytery committee when considering whether to recommend an inquirer be enrolled as a candidate.  (Released January 2011)

"Alternative Assessment of Competency" reviews both the range of options available to provide special accommodations within the standard examination process and the possibilities and means for approving alternative means of demonstrating ministry competency in fulfillment of Book of Order requirements.  (Updated December 2012)

Examination Preparation Tools:

Taking Online Ordination Exams” is a YouTube video that demonstrates how to access the examinations website and to navigate through an online exam from beginning to end. It also addresses some special considerations related to different operating system and browser configurations, and the use of mobile or tablet computing devices.  (Updated July 2013)

Formatting Online Ords” is a YouTube video that introduces a special practice area on the examinations website where those registered for exams can try out the system before the testing date. It reviews the basic word processing functions of the exam system, things to consider when deciding whether to work only in the system or to use a word processor in conjunction with it, and formatting style for online exams as compared with academic papers, and the use of non-Roman Alphabets such as Korean, Greek or Hebrew.  (Updated January 2013)

Tips for Writing the Ords” is a YouTube Video that presents a step-by-step method for analyzing the kinds of questions that appear in the senior ordination examinations in the areas of Theological Competence, Worship and Sacraments, Church Polity and Bible Exegesis. This method follows the same system used by the PCCEC to train the readers who evaluate the exams.  (Updated December 2012)

Practicing the Tips” provides access to practice exercises related to principles presented in the “Tips for Writing the Ords” video.  This resource is an interactive review of how to analyze all the forms of questions found in each examination area. Users can select which exam area they wish to work on.  (Released Spring 2010)

"Understanding the Structure of the Ords” is a companion video to “Tips for Writing the Ords.” This training provides a brief overview of the organization and all the types of questions that appear in each subject area of the senior ordination exams. This resource covers the changes in the structure of the senior ordination exams that are being made in conjunction with quarterly administration. (Updated April 2014)

"Understanding and Preparing for the Bible Content Examination" provides a review of the role of the BCE in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s preparation for ministry process and some suggestions on the best ways to prepare for taking the test — ways that will not only assist you in fulfilling this requirement but also strengthen your ministry for years to come.  동영상은한글텍스트자막을포함하고있습니다(Revised June 2017)

Understanding the Bible Content Examination: This program provides a review of the role of the BCE in the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s preparation for ministry process and some suggestions on the best ways to prepare for taking the test--ways that will not only assist you in fulfilling this requirement but also strengthen your ministry for years to come.

(4) Comments

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  1. Responding to J A Miller: 1) We are working to update both the content and the programming of the "Practicing the Tips" aid. We include dates for each resource so users will know which ones contain the most recent information. 2) Not all word processing formatting is supported by HTML for web-based presentation. We recommend use of "block-left" formatting (no first line indentation of paragraphs) for all exams as it is the web standard. 3) We don't anticipate long citations of Greek or Hebrew in responses, so including transliteration along with Greek or Hebrew text should not greatly impact word counts. However, the handbook indicates that using only transliteration is perfectly acceptable.

    by Tim Cargal

    July 21, 2014


  2. Three quick comments: (1) "The Practicing the Tips" video needs updating. It recommends using double spacing on the exam (slide 22). On the newer "Formatting Online Ords" video, the use of HTML formatting has replaced the recommendation for "double spacing." (2) In the videos, you caution against the use of word processors, but sometimes my internet goes down and I do not want to rely on my computer's cache memory for what I have written--I have lost things this way before--so I plan to use a word processor and copy text over. When copying text into the practice area, it is difficult to get the "hanging indent" function to work like a tab. Sometimes it works as an actual hanging indent instead. If this problem persists, would it be ok to leave all paragraphs without indentation and simply put a single line of space in between? (3) It is suggested to use transliterated text alongside the Greek/Hebrew for the benefit of the readers; however, it would seem to me that this would count against our word count. If so, should we even bother typing/copying (unicode) Greek and Hebrew into the text box? Wouldn't it be better just to use transliterated text?

    by J A Miller

    July 21, 2014


  3. Some of the videos are "unlisted" on YouTube because they are not for the general public, but all can be accessed directly from this page by clicking on the titles for the respective videos (that link directly to their YouTube locations)

    by Tim Cargal

    November 12, 2013


  4. I tried searching for these UTube videos and can't find them. Any hints? Thanks.

    by Joyce Walker

    November 10, 2013


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