The Orthodox Presbyterian Church is always looking for faithful men to take up ministerial labors in Christ’s church. Students at Reformed seminaries are in search of places to serve. These two objectives intersect nicely in what we call the Readiness for Ministry Seminar. The event takes place twice each year. This year the seminars will be held at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, PA (March 2-3) and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL (April 20).
The Readiness Seminar serves several purposes: It introduces the OPC and the work of its program committees to seminarians. It provides training on themes related to Christian ministry. And it makes preliminary evaluations of men whom the Lord may be leading to internships and eventually to pastoral calls in the OPC.
The seminar features roundtable discussions of challenging issues that church sessions might address. Students take up the issues among themselves and observers listen in. This exercise is called “Problem Solving in Reformed Ministry.” After the simulated session meeting ends, the whole group discusses the issue, along with ways of approaching people with love and faithfulness to God’s Word.
The principal assessment tool is the exhortation. Each participant is asked to present a message from an assigned biblical text in the form of a short sermon. Observers then evaluate the sermons with the goal of affirming the men and at the same time critiquing his content and presentation. Interactions are not limited to the scheduled sessions, however. There is ample time during breaks and at lunch for men to enjoy each other’s company and share stories of God’s faithfulness.
In the final segment of the seminar itself, the students are invited to ask questions of the observers. Mainly these relate to the OPC, but they may also raise particular questions about the men themselves.
After the seminar, John and Al meet with the students individually to review their experience and advise them. This can happen on-site or over the phone at a later time. Students are also invited to give feedback on their experience.
As something of a spin-off of the Readiness Seminar, OPC Home Missions also sponsors seminary lunches four times a year at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside (upcoming lunches are Wed. Feb. 14 at 1:00pm and Wed. Apr. 11 at 1:00pm). These are times for OPC committee representatives to mingle with students in an informal setting. Speakers are invited to come and address issues of interest to students who are preparing for service in the church.
1 Peter 5:5 says that a servant-leader must be humble and willing to receive input from others. Valuable input is what the Readiness Seminar provides, and the results may be significant. This is in the Lord’s hands, of course. We wait on him to call men to serve and prepare them for life as shepherds of God’s people. Still, some of the men who attend the seminar will likely land as useful ministers in the church. Previous participants who are now pastors and evangelists in the OPC have shared their joy in the opportunity to take part in this seminar. It was useful to them. They are now useful to the church.
If you’re reading this article, would you please do the following: think about the seminar, tell students about it, and pray for the ongoing work of finding and training men for pastoral ministry in the OPC.
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