I’ve have the privilege of serving with two groups of folks who regularly assess men for ordination and church planting. I’m a member of my presbytery’s Leadership and Development Committee and I serve The Acts 29 Church Planting Network as a church planter assessor. I’ve also been run through examinations myself that include ordination in PCA, transfer into the Blue Ridge Presbytery, church planter assessment with Mission to North America, and church planter assessment with Acts 29. Several other men who write for Vintage 73 share similar experiences both in assessing and being assessed.
So we thought it would be helpful to write a series of short posts on how best to prepare for assessments and examinations. These are meant to cull our cumulative wisdom and hopefully help you avoid some common mistakes that men make in this area.
My first tip has nothing to do with theological study, biblical acumen, or character development. It is much simpler than that.
Edit and Spell Check Your Submission
I know, how unspiritual of me. And yet, I am amazed at how many men aspiring to ministry simply lack the ability to communicate. You realize that is our calling, don’t you? We are communicators. So when you write down assessment material or submit exams make sure your writing is clear, spelled correctly, and succinct.
This also goes a long way with the men who read your material. Most of these men are pastors who have a ton of other things they could be doing. But they’ve felt called to help men advance toward and into ministry. You, as a candidate for ministry or church planting, have a chance to either serve these men or annoy them. There are few things as discouraging as carving out time to review pages and pages of written material only to find it poorly written and unedited.
So when you fill out forms, examinations, or your biographical information make sure you pay attention to the basics of English grammar and spelling. If possible and appropriate give it to someone else to go over and help you edit.
I’m writing this as someone who continually misspells words. I know I’m bad at it. My wife and close friends are my favorite editors. Take my advice. If you know you’re a poor writer, make sure you take extra effort to be sure your submissions to an assessment team are of the highest quality writing you are able to produce. In that way you will show that God has gifted you as a communicator of his gospel and you will serve the men who have given you their time to help you progress in ministry.