Entry Into Ministry, Phase Two

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Sun, 09/01/1996
End Date: 
Thu, 12/31/1998

Phase Two of the “Entry Into Ministry Project” tested a modification of the original project design with a second set of newly ordained participants in order to make the program more operational for a larger church audience. On the basis of findings from the first project, leaders in Phase Two sought to build collegiality among program participants at the beginning in order to move into professional development more quickly. Expanding the discussion time with experienced pastors, eliminating the use of outside resource persons and other modifications helped focus more sharply on the congregational situation of each minister. In general, Phase Two simplified the program by reducing costs, convening fewer meetings, preparing a manual titled “A Guide for Governing Bodies,” and re-examining the role and responsibility of the Leadership Team for the project. <p> Stewart Coffman directed the already-established Project and Leadership Teams in selecting nine new ministers from the Grace, Mission and New Covenant Presbyteries of Texas. Participants met nine times during that year and twice in 1998, with meeting sites rotated between the three presbyteries involved. Each two-day session treated three seminar topics: (1) understanding a minister’s particular congregation and community (2) pastoral growth and (3) professional skills. In September 1998 a national convocation inviting every governing body of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and professors of practical theology from every seminary was held in Kansas City on “Helping Newly Ordained Pastors Lead Congregations.” <p> Project sponsors included the Office of Professional Development of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the three presbyteries of Grace, Mission and New Covenant.