Ords AHH!

Shout out to all yall in the Presby world—

I am studying for ords and its getting down to the wire… and I know I am not alone in this but it is often difficult to sort out how to prepare for these things (esp when you aren’t at a presby semianry.)  So it occurred to me to ask– does anyone have suggestions for the theology and worship exams?






7 thoughts on “Ords AHH!

  1. Wow! This is the first time anyone’s ever asked me for help on Ords. I often get asked rants…

    I’ll post something tomorrow. Meanwhile… I’ll send up some prayers for you!

  2. Pingback: TribalChurch.org
  3. Yes – both Ryan and Carol have given some good answers here – especially Carol’s blog post. I found myself simply holding my tongue some times during the ords. As lame as it is (and this just goes to show how the current system sucks) – you just have to put down the “party line.” Don’t be creative, don’t try to be too politically correct, just put down the traditional Reformed answer…

    And in the end – it really doesn’t matter a TON what you put down, because it is REALLY dependent on your reader. I’ve had friends who have written VERY Reformed exams, and failed because their reader must not have liked it. Lame. So, unfortunately, it can be pretty random at times too…

    But yes, Shirley Guthrie’s book was very helpful for me.

    Also, look through old exams and get used to the questions. And ANSWER THE QUESTION, read the question VERY carefully and make sure you understand the question before you start answering it.

    Good luck!

  4. Hey Sarah. Just stumbled over here from Tribal Church. I commented there, but here’s my overall take.

    The best piece of advice I’ve heard–from someone who wasn’t successful the first time–is in terms of how you imagine your audience. Think of a session you know. Now think of your most theologically-educated elder (that one who reads philosophy for fun) and then think of your elder who has the least interest in all that theological crap. Got it? Now right ords at a level smack dab in the middle, friendly and impressive to both.

    Guthrie’s Xian Doctrine is great (as ryan points out). I think it’s not quite as bad as only thinking like a privileged man–heck no. It’s knowing that that thought is out there and easy and expected. One has to show knowledge of the tradition, and show how one’s own thoughts–though they may be a bit newer–are compatible with the tradition as well. Quoting current profs at Presbyterian schools is always a good idea. Guthrie at Columbia. Migliore at PTS.


  5. Found my way here from Tribal Church… Best wishes to you! I’m a CPM member, ordained about three years now, and reading ords for the first time this fall. I’ve been working on putting together some resources to prepare for the exams for the candidates in our presbytery, so I’ll share a couple general thoughts here. Email me directly for some other resources I can send you…

    As for general hints, here are three things:

    1. Listen to Ryan. He’s sadly right about the privileged white man part, but happily (I think) about the Guthrie book. I’ve heard nothing but good things from others who have used it, and it was very helpful to me too. (Disclaimer: I was in Shirley’s last theology class, but I’m repeating things as much as I’m saying this myself.)

    2. When taking the exam, read the questions. Then read them again. You’d be surprised how many people don’t do well on the ords because they don’t answer the question.

    3. You’re taking the right pairing. Theology and Worship & Sacraments require mostly the same material set for studying. For Worship & Sacraments in particular, read the Directory for Worship two or three times — you don’t have access to it during the exam, but you are expected to know it pretty well.

    Hope all this is helpful! Again, prayers and best wishes.

  6. Yeah, let me know what you find here. The whole “ord ordeal” is still down the road for me, but I find it already influencing my decisions of what classes to take when…

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