Early on in his journey, a man pursuing pastoral ministry in the OPC establishes a special relationship with the presbytery by “coming under care” of the presbytery.

  • What it means to be under care.

Coming under care is an official act that requires an interview with the presbytery and a letter of recommendation from his session.

Because the ministerial training process is serious and requires significant resources from the whole church and from the candidate himself, at Covenant, we only recommend candidates who are ready to benefit this kind special mentoring.

We believe a man is ready when…

  • He is big-hearted in his love for others.
  • He demonstrates a teachable spirit. Relying on Christ who strengthens, he takes responsibility for his growth and willingly submits to being stretched even beyond what is comfortable.
  • He is growing in his knowledge and commitment to the Reformed faith
  • He can begin to articulate the nature of pastoral ministry: its mission, its qualifications, its essential skills, its urgency
  • He can begin to articulate why he wants to be a minister
  • He can articulate the process of ministerial training in the OPC and explain the reasoning behind it
  • He can articulate what makes a good mentorship
  • He has no known insurmountable obstacles for becoming a future minister (character, abilities, circumstances).

Learn more: Some things Pastor Chelpka believes about mentoring.

Not ready yet?

If you are not ready yet, that’s okay. Ask the Lord to help prepare you, and talk to people who are able to help you grow. They may agave some specific guidance for you. You may also benefit from reflecting on the following readings.

  • James 3:1, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Ezek 34, Acts 20:17-38, John 13, John 21:1-19, Job 33:23-24
  • In Pastoral Theology: Essentials of Ministry, Thomas C. Oden includes an excellent chapter on the call to the ministry. Oden shares the historical consensus of Christian thinking on this topic and offers wise counsel to men considering the call to ministry.
  • The pastoral office and ordination process in the OPC is described fully in the Form of Government and in a helpful pamphlet called Reforming Our Expectations.