Preparation for Ministry:

Discerning a Call

“Discernment is a way of seeking God’s will in making decisions about our lives. It is about congruence. Discernment is about allowing God to enter into decisions about life in ways that set aside ego, personal needs and wants, and brings God into the process with full voice, as quiet and mysterious as that voice can be. Discernment is about taking the questions we have to God, as well as to other trusted friends and colleagues and seeking answers. Not our answers, but God’s answers in our lives. Discernment is about the discipline of asking questions
of God and others and disciplined listening for answers, trusting that the Holy Spirit is speaking, however uncomfortable and exciting that voice may be. Discernment is about surrendering to the voice of the Spirit and trusting that the path before us is God’s path for us. Discernment is about risk. Risking our lives with the Holy Spirit.” (excerpt from Discerning Your Call and Your Gifts to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament)

  • Discerning Your Call and Your Gifts to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament: Click here
  • Advisory Handbook on Preparing for Ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Click here
  • Your Presbyterian Theological Seminaries at a Glance: Click here
  • A video for anyone considering seminary or currently enrolled in seminary to consider as they plan financially.


Forms for Inquirer/Candidate


Ordination Exams

  • The Handbook on Ordination Examinations: Click here
  • Standard Ordination Exams: Click here
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Click here
  • PCC Ordination Exam Resources: Click here
  • Exam System User’s Guide: Click here
  • Seminary Test Sites: Click here
  • Ordination Exam Preparation Resources: Click here
  • Teaching or Ruling Elders interested in becoming an exam reader: email your presbytery directly or Tim Cargal (3/2022)


Session Forms

  • Session Evaluation and Recommendation, Form 1D (scroll to bottom of page): Click here
  • Session Recommendation for Enrollment as a Candidate, Form 5B (second form on page): Click here


For Committees on Preparation for Ministry (COPM)


Commissioned Ruling Elder (CRE) Program

“CREs are not “called” pastoral leaders in the sense that the Book of Order speaks of “called and installed pastors.” They are “commissioned” to specific forms of pastoral functions. It is a three-way covenant between the church, the ruling elder, and the presbytery — God is in the mix, always. The commission is to a particular place for a particular time. That commission is reviewed annually. Being commissioned to a particular place means that the CRE can only officiate at weddings, communion, and baptisms that are for that portion of the body of Christ and approved by the session.” (excerpt from The Ministry of the Commissioned Ruling Elder)

  • The Ministry of the Commissioned Ruling Elder: Click here
  • Book of Order “Commissioning Ruling Elders to Particular Pastoral Service: Click here
  • Application to CRE Process: Click here
  • CRE Process and Examination (PDF): Click here
  • CRE Covenant (PDF): Click here