Holistic Preparation

Preparation for ministry involves much more than academic preparation alone. It requires spiritual growth as well as development of self-awareness and pastoral identity. It also includes maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle, personal fiscal awareness, developing support networks, and others. Donegal is committed to facilitate an environment for the holistic preparation and development of each inquirer/ candidate under our care. The resources below should assist with beginning that work. As always, contact your individual CPM liaison if he/she can support you in any way.

Clouds of Care Sheet

The Clouds of Care Sheet was developed to guide pre-consultation conversations between liaisons and their candidates/inquirers covering the breadth of areas of what the CPM believes is holistic preparation for ministry. While inquirers/ candidates are not responsible for filling it out, it provides an idea of the type of questions that liaisons might ask as they check in with students.

Resources for Spiritual Direction/ Counseling/ Coaching

The CPM hopes those under its care to take advantage of opportunities for intentional personal growth and encourage work early in the preparation process with spiritual directors, counselors, and professional coaches. Contact Donegal Executive Presbyter Erin Cox-Holmes, your liaison, or the CPM chair for more information on these opportunities and which might be the right fit for your own development/ growing areas. Please note that many seminaries provide significant discounts and opportunities for counseling and spiritual direction which students are encouraged to explore and use.

Physical Health Resources

Caring for one's body is important for setting future pastors up for healthy and vital careers in the church. Students should make this self-care a priority. Should an inquirer/ candidate desire conversations in this area please speak to your liaison.

Please also note that seminary students may be eligible for health insurance through the Board of Pensions. Information from the BoP can be found here.

Financial Resources

Inquirers/ candidates can quickly realize that seminary may place a financial burden on an individual or family. Understanding all the resources available to students can help to minimize complications from debt after seminary.

Scholarships and Grants: Several scholarships and grants are available for qualified students entering or currently in seminary. Links to agencies offering such aid are below as well as a list of other scholarships. Students are encouraged to research aid opportunities beyond this list.

Home congregations are also encouraged to offer financial support within the means of the congregation to the inquirers/ candidates under their care.

Candidate Indebtedness: Students who graduate with any educational indebtedness are strongly encouraged to attend a "Fiscal Fitness Workshop" sponsored by the Board of Pensions or other similar event. Evidence of this workshop may be required by a COM for ordination in a particular presbytery. These are often offered on PC(USA) seminary campuses each winter/ spring. Contact your seminary or the presbytery for more information.

Addressing Seminarian Debt: The OGA recommends this video on seminarian debt produced by Auburn Theological Seminary.