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 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 January 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 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 YouTube 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. It includes changes to the resources available and other issues related to the move to online exam administration. (Updated December 2012)
"Understanding 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. (Released December 2010)
I am thankful for this resource. After reviewing the "presentations" I feel equally empowered and informed about the Senior Ordination Exam process. Many Thanks to the Office of Preparation for Ministry
As a second time reader I found the tips on reading the exam questions very relevant to the evaluation of the answers. Carefully parsing out the segments of the question will enable me to be more helpful and targeted in writing my responses to the writer.
Thank you for your hard work in preparing these tips. This will be my 3rd year of reading the exams and I can see where these tips on how to read the questions will be most helpful to exam takers and to readers alike. So many papers were marked down because the exam taker did not read the question carefully. Studying the resources for 3-4 weeks ahead of reading the exams also gives the readers a head start in knowing the content that we will be looking for; these tips will save us time in marking up the questions as to the specifics and how many we want to find. Thanks.
Thank you. I did not pass one of the exams in January because I misunderstood a question. This practice is very helpful, and helps clarify what is being asked.
It was very helpful over all. Thanks for all your hard work!