Overview for the Certification Process
Ruling Elders Commissioned to Pastoral Service
Only ordained PC (USA) ruling elders are eligible to be commissioned to particular pastoral service in our presbytery. The term certification means that the elder has completed all of the requirements and has been authorized by the POV Academy Committee for possible commissioning in the Presbytery of Ohio Valley. It does not mean that any openings exist at the present time or that the elder is guaranteed to find a position even if there are openings. Finding a position is the responsibility of the certified elder, not the presbytery. The process includes the following elements:
- Education. The student will satisfactorily complete coursework in the following areas: Biblical Interpretation, Reformed Theology and Church History, The Christian Life, Mission and Evangelism, Worship and Sacraments, Teaching the Bible, Polity and Administration, Pastoral Care, and Preaching the Bible. The committee’s preferred educational program is offered online by Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, and can be found by visiting Pathways to Learning & Leadership. A brief description of each course, including the dates the courses are offered, is attached. Courses are online, and the cost is $100 per course. Students are encouraged to register promptly for these courses. Alternatives to the Union Seminary program will require the approval of the POV Academy Committee.
- Cohort Meetings and Spiritual Life Retreat. Students will participate in occasional cohort meetings and a spiritual life retreat, The time and place of these meetings will be announced at a later time.
- Portfolio. The student will compile a portfolio consisting of the following items collected in separate folders for each of the courses: a. Course summary page, b. Reading list, c. Any written assignments that were submitted, and d. A reflection paper following the completion of the course, using guidelines provided by the committee.
- Application. At the time determined by the POV Academy Committee (POVAC), the elder will complete the POV Certification Application Form and submit it, along with the portfolio to date, to the POVAC. This application includes an endorsement by the student’s session. Note: only students who have been ordained as Ruling Elders may apply.
- Psychological and Vocational Evaluation and Background Check. The POVAC will arrange a psychological and vocational evaluation for the elder at the elder’s expense. The elder’s Session is encouraged to help with this expense. Background checks at POV expense will also be completed.
- Initial Interview. After the results of the psychological and vocational evaluations and the application have been received, the POVAC will arrange an interview with the elder to discuss his/her application, portfolio including statement of faith, and evaluation results.
- Final Interview. After the portfolio has been completed, the POVAC will invite the elder to the final interview to determine whether or not to certify that person ready to seek a call as a Ruling Elder Commissioned to Particular Pastoral Service. In preparation for this interview, the elder will be asked to respond in advance to a number of questions in writing. The elder will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision within 1 week after the next regularly scheduled committee meeting.
Questions about the process? Please contact the presbytery office, and we will forward your questions to the appropriate person.
2017-2018 Union Presbyterian Seminary classes: List of classes