Presbytery Pastoral Care Network


Providing professional development, support, and resources for those caring for ministers throughout the Presbyterian Church (USA)

June, 2009 


 Nurturing the health of the Body of Christ through caring for its pastors.


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A perfect gift to recognize the excellent work of pastors  
 A CD designed to support pastors featuring song writer david bailey
 Cost: $10
  Deep Well CD Front Cover


 To order call 1-800 524-2612
and ask for item OGA-08-099


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PPCN Officers:

President: Dan Corll

 Vice President: Julie Johnson
Palo Duro

 Secretary: Carol Allen

 Treasurer: Alan Baroody

 Editor: Stephen McCutchan

  Members At Large:

Christine Sage, Pacific

Joe Sandifer, Greater Atlanta

Lou Snead, Mission

Ken Waddell, Cherokee

     Denominational Advisors:

   Marcia Meyers,
PCUSA Office of Vocation 

   Helen Locklear
Board of Pensions


Steve McCutchan

10th Annual National Gathering

      The Presbytery Pastoral Care Network will hold its 10th annual gathering on June 11, just prior to the opening of the Big Tent Event, at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia. The Theme of this annual meeting is The Committee on Ministry's Role in Maintaining Excellence in Ministry.

     We will convene at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. The morning will focus on "Preventative Clergy Care: The Role of COM's." Leading this session will be Dave Kivett, COM chair of the presbytery of Greater Atlanta, Sue Westfall, Associate Executive for Ministry of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery, and Janet Williams, COM Chair of Northeast Georgia Presbytery. We can draw lessons from both big and small presbyteries.

     Our Annual Membership meeting will take place at 11:45, followed by a networking lunch included in your registration fee. To register call 1-888-728-7228 X 2417. Cost is $50.

     Following lunch, Helen Locklear of the Board of Pensions will make a presentation on some of the latest resources from the Board of Pensions for maintaining clergy health.

     At 2:30 PPCN will introduce the first draft of the Toolbox, a new resource for clergy, congregations, and Presbyteries. We will conclude with a discussion of the larger context of clergy care. 

Big Tent Presentations

At the Big Tent, there will be several workshops led by members of PPCN.

 "Healthy Pastors: How to Sustain Them"
Fri. 10:30 - Stephen McCutchan and Carol Allen

"Nurturing New Pastors/First Call"
Fri. 3:30 - Joe Sandifer

"Pastors Need a Pastor Too"
Fri. 7:00 pm  - Joe Sandifer

"Dissolutions and Intervening When Necessary"
Sat. 1:30 pm - Alan Baroody and Lou


Introducing The Tool Box

       The Book of Order has a major section on the responsibilities of the committee on ministry (G-11.0500) described in these words: "Each presbytery shall elect a committee on ministry to serve as pastor and counselor to the ministers and Certified Christian Educators of the presbytery, to facilitate the relations between congregations, ministers, and Certified Christian Educators, and the presbytery and to settle difficulties on behalf of presbytery when possible and expedient."

      Considering the complexity of the relationships in and among churches, the above task is a difficult challenge. The task of the committee on ministry is to nurture the regional Body of Christ in their efforts to reflect Christ in their ministry.

     The Presbytery Pastoral Care Network ( and the Office of Vocation of the PC (USA) are providing this toolbox as an aide to assist you in accomplishing this task. We hope that you will strengthen the value of this resource by sharing with us resources and strategies that you have found valuable in your work.

     As part of being a connectional church, please accept this as a resource from those who care about your work. When you feel overwhelmed, remember that God's grace is made perfect in our weakness. 

Samples From the Toolbox

For Pastors:

Family Checkup

     Designed to assist a family in talking about the pressures of being part of a pastor's family.

     Get a pack of 3 x 5 cards and develop some probing questions to place on each of the cards. Shuffle the cards and put them as a deck on the table. Beginning with the youngest, each rolls a die and the number that shows up determines how far down the deck s/he counts to pull the question to be answered. Each time a question is answered, bury the card back in the deck before the game continues.
     Some sample questions might be:

1. Describe a time this past year when you were glad that you were part of this family.
2. Talk about a pressure you felt because the pastor of the church is you or part of your family.
3. Share something that happened at the church this past year that made you proud to be part of the church.
4. Describe something that either did or would make you angry if it happened at the church.
5. Identify either a person or a situation at the church that you think the family should pray for.
6. Was there a time this past year when the congregation needed the pastor and it meant that some family experience needed to be changed? How did it make you feel?
7. Name four things that are good about being a pastor.
8. Name four things that make being a pastor difficult.
9. If you were to pray for one thing to change in your family, what would it be?
10. What are some fun things that you like to do with the family?


For Presbyteries:

 Creative Triennial Visits

     The value of such a visit is enhanced if there has been prior positive exchanges between the churches and the COM.

     In the age of computers, the COM could gather a series of "touchstones" with respect to pastors and DCEs, such as ordination dates, anniversaries, birthdates, etc. and send a reminder to the congregations with respect to their staff. They could also gather touchstones in congregational life and occasionally send them a congratulatory message with respect to anniversaries, significant mission involvement, gifts shared with presbytery, etc. The gathering of such data is one of those defined tasks that the right volunteer, not necessarily a member of the COM, would do with pleasure.

     The COM could emphasize the connectionalism of the Body of Christ by designing a joint visit with two congregations where each could hear what the other is doing in ministry.  Every three years a new set of congregation to congregation visits could be designed. It might even be created as a mini-mission fair and involve several small congregations, guided by a COM visitor to celebrate the potential of all the congregations. You are looking for opportunities for the congregation to feel good about their work as well as to see the potential for being a stronger part of the larger church.



For Congregations:  

Positive Evaluation

     The session can develop a positive evaluation process. Such a process needs to be aware of two aspects.

     First, it needs to be approached as an evaluation of the whole ministry of the church rather than that of an individual employee. Responsibility and accountability should be addressed not only for the pastor, DCE, Musician, etc. but also for the session, deacons, members, etc. In any given area of church life, almost all of the above mentioned can contribute or detract from the success of ministry. To identify an area, for example worship, and then to reflect on what each can do to strengthen ministry in that area can be a positive conversation.

     Second, there is an approach to such an evaluation that can generate creativity. It begins by recognizing how easily a negative comment can shut down a person's ability to hear. So, the positives need to outnumber the negatives and the responsibility for the negatives needs to be spread out as a group responsibility.

     For example, the concern might be that the church is not growing in membership. The conversation might begin by noting what the various persons and boards are doing that makes the church attractive to visitors. Then the conversation might move to the weaker areas and what each entity can contribute to drawing more people into membership. This is far superior to focusing on what someone is not doing that is preventing the church from growing. It recognizes the corporate nature of the church.

These are just a few of the resources that are available in the PPCN Toolbox. Visit our website for more information.