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GOE Prep: The Practice of Ministry

Seminary of the Southwest faculty-recommended resources to aid in answering GOE open resources questions.

The Practice of Ministry

  1. To demonstrate leadership and knowledge of the ministries of evangelism, stewardship, ecumenism, interfaith relations, mission theology, and the historical and contemporary experience of racial and minority groups.
  2. To understand and describe how contemporary cultures affect the practice of ministry in particular situations.
  3. To identify the theological, pastoral, and practical issues and methods pertinent to the contemporary practice of ministry in specified situations.
  4. To illustrate and analyze the issues and challenges for ministry, applying them in a response to a contemporary situation.

Source: General Board of Examining Chaplains website

General Books on the Practice of Pastoral Ministry

Note from Professor Emeritus The Rev. Dr. Kathleen Russell

Recommended preparation:

  • Familiarity with resources from the Episcopal Church (e.g. abortion and reproductive rights, gender inclusion, issues of race, reparations, climate change, etc.) Know where the Episcopal Church stands (or doesn’t) on various topics and issues. Know where to look to find resources for answering questions on specific topics, especially those specifically referenced in the canons and GBEC information of the areas covered in each GOE question. 
  • Familiarity with resources for pastoral care (family dynamics, addiction, grief and loss, adverse childhood events, stewardship of resources, conflict,etc.)
  • Be able to articulate your understanding of the role of the priest/pastor in both interpersonal/pastoral relationships and as a leader in the congregation and community AND demonstrate how you enact this understanding. This doesn’t have to be complicated and academically justified, just show you have some sense of what is called for. 
  • Be able to articulate the key beliefs of your theological anthropology (hopefully consistent with the Anglican tradition and Episcopal Church, esp. in Prayer Book) and how this affects your approach to pastoral ministry. Again, not fancy or referenced (unless the question asks for this) but demonstrating some clarity about what you think God wants for people, the aim or goal of specific types of ministry, etc.

What is the GBEC looking for?

Based on a review of the questions asked on the last several exams, they are looking for specific knowledge about topics and approaches in ministry  within the tradition and demonstrating an integrated vision of what the situation calls for, not just in actions but with a pastoral sense of what forces are in play and what people need. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge about the issue (climate change, immigration policy, race relations//addiction, grief, Christian formation) and connect that to a solid pastoral plan of action that is grounded in theology, good practices of ministry, and insight into the complications of group and interpersonal dynamics.

The Episcopal Church (TEC) Resources

Books on Leadership and Congregation Development