Practical Steps toward Thriving in Ministry
Overseeing church finances, managing a board meeting’s agenda, leading a
church through a stewardship campaign: the prospect of these pastoral
duties tightens the stomachs of some M.Div. seniors as graduation and
ordination inch closer. They wonder, Are we really ready for this?
Pastoral care, systematic theology, and preaching skills are essential for
ministry, but so is the nitty-gritty of running a church.
Several years ago, a group of seniors approached the Seminary with a
request that additional opportunities be provided for practical skill
development in areas that students are likely to encounter in their first
few years of ministry. Thriving in Ministry, a series of six seminars
during the academic year, was created in response.
This year’s topics, which complement the Seminary curriculum, are Caring
for Self and Congregation; Leading the Stewardship Program; Church
Management: Leading the Board, Working through Conflict; An Afternoon of
Youth Ministry; Understanding Church and Personal Finances; and Leading
Your Church in Small-Group Ministries.
Seminar leaders are chosen for their significant practical experience—as
well as for the enthusiasm they bring to, and the satisfaction they
receive from, their vocation.
This year’s leaders included Thomas K. Tewell, pastor of the Fifth Avenue
Presbyterian Church in New York City and a PTS trustee, on stewardship; Kenda
Creasy Dean, assistant professor of youth, church, and culture at
Princeton Seminary, on youth ministry; and Dana Fearon III, former pastor
of The Presbyterian Church in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and a leader in
the Thriving in Ministry project, on leading a board.
Cathy Cook Davis, director of student relations, hopes that more students
(about 20 students attended each of the first few seminars of the year)
begin to take part in these practical, interesting steps toward thriving