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Readiness for Ministry

Sean Gregg

Students at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Westminster Seminary California have an opportunity this spring to get to better know the OPC, and how they might serve as ministers in the denomination. The Readiness for Ministry Seminar, a training and evaluation seminar, is a venue to introduce men to the OPC and help them develop their ministry skills.

During the seminars, students spend a Friday evening and Saturday with several of the OPC's General Secretaries and a few local pastors and elders. Danny Olinger and Doug Clawson get things started with a presentation on the character of pastoral ministry. There is also time for both presenters and students to introduce themselves on Friday evening.

One of the main features of the seminar is the opportunity for the student participants to give exhortations. In addition to providing another opportunity to practice exhorting, the students receive helpful feedback provided by the ministers at the seminar.

Another part of the seminar presents students with difficult ministry situations they may face when they are serving a congregation. They have the opportunity to talk together to figure out how they would deal with the various situations. Again, the ministers and elders can give constructive ideas helping the students to see the problems from a different point of view. In fact, some of them might be giving advice based on past experience with similar situations.

Students at Mid America Reformed Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary have the opportunity to participate also, as the seminars are offered at various campuses on a rotating basis.

At Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, the number of attendees had decreased in recent years, so the Home Missions Staff decided to try a fresh approach. Monthly lunches have served as the main opportunity to connect with students for the last several years. Lunch is served three times a semester in the campus's carriage house, and all students are invited. The lunches have given Home Missions staff and local pastors the opportunity to talk with the students regularly and get to know them.

In addition to food, a speaker is brought in each month. Topics relevant to seminary students have included Diaconal Ministry, Finances, Why Do We Have Denominations, and Engaging the Muslim Next Door. Most months, somewhere between 30 and 40 students attend, though the crowd has been as high as 80.

Through various formats, the Readiness for Ministry Seminars and student lunches have given general secretaries the opportunity to work with local pastors and elders to get to know a diverse group of seminary students around the country and evaluate their gifts for ministry.

Pray for the young men preparing for the ministry, both those within the OPC, and those from other denominations, that the Lord will equip them well for service in his kingdom, and that He will provide a place to serve. Pray too for those who plan the Readiness for Ministry seminars as they seek to find the most effective ways to get to know the next generation of ministers in the OPC and to encourage them in their preparation for the ministry.

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