Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will host representatives from ten neighboring Presbyteries and the Leadership and Vocation Office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) for a consultation to address how the institution and its graduates can more effectively meet the pastoral leadership needs of the Presbyteries in the region.
The consultation will be held March 8-10 at the Seminary’s Laws Lodge Conference and Retreat Center.
This groundbreaking collaboration emerges directly from one of the ten major vision statements of the LPTS Strategic Plan (2006-2010), which states that LPTS “will continue to play a significant role in hearing and responding to the urgent need for small church pastors.”
“Recent studies have confirmed that there is an issue of supply and demand for pastoral leadership, but not because of a shortage of pastors,” said Dr. William G. McAtee, chair of the consultation design team, LPTS alum (BD ’59; ThM ’65), and member of the Seminary’s Board of Trustees.
“The majority of congregations in the Presbyterian Church (USA) are considered small church size, about 150 members or less. These churches need pastors who are equipped to serve the communities in which these churches reside. Preparing individuals for this ministry requires collaboration between congregations, Presbyteries, and seminaries.”
McAtee, who served as pastor to several congregations and as the Executive Presbyter of the Transylvania Presbytery (Lexington, Ky.,) for 26 years, has a personal appreciation for the necessary connection between these three main bodies of the Church, which he calls the “chain of ministerial preparation and support.”
“From an individual’s first sense of call to ministry, usually in their home congregation, through the affirmation and endorsement of the Presbytery to theological and practical preparation in the seminary, and then back into the professional care and guidance of the Presbytery, and the ministerial nurturing of the congregation, collaboration is the only way that an individual can be thoroughly prepared for effective ministerial leadership in the church. It is not possible for one of these entities – congregation, governing body, seminary – to adequately prepare a candidate for ministry on their own.
“I believe this consultation is crucial to strengthening and more clearly defining the necessary relationships between these points of preparation in order to nurture effectively quality leaders for the church, and particularly for the kinds of churches in the surrounding, contiguous Presbyteries.”
According to McAtee, the consultation will begin this process by first facilitating a time of introductions between the Presbytery, Louisville Seminary, and National Staff representatives. “We need to get to know each other better and build upon these relationships for the future,” he said. Some participants will also contact the students from their Presbyteries while they are on campus.
The group will devote most of the consultation to addressing issues of pastoral supply and demand and pastoral effectiveness in light of current leadership trends found in experiences across the Presbyterian Church (USA), in the constituent Presbyteries, and at the Seminary in an effort to identify “next steps” in enhancing the interdependence of these groups.
To learn more about the consultation, contact design team chair Dr. William (Bill) McAtee), 1.888.271.8942, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ten Constituent Presbyteries: Cincinnati, Giddings-Lovejoy, Middle Tennessee, Mid-Kentucky, Ohio Valley, Southeastern Illinois, Transylvania, West Virginia, Western Kentucky, and Whitewater Valley.
Leadership and Vocation Office (General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA)
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Design Team Members are: Bill McAtee, LPTS Board of Trustees and Design Team Chair; David Crowley, Whitewater Valley Presbytery, Committee on Preparation for Ministry; Rollin Tarter, Transylvania Presbytery, Committee on Ministry; Garnett Foster, Louisville Seminary, Director of Field Education & Ministry Placement; David Sawyer, Louisville Seminary, Director of Lifelong Learning & Advanced Degrees; Marcia Myers, Associate Director of Leadership & Vocation, General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA); Jill Hudson, Resource Person-at-Large; Alice Gunter, Seminary Special Events; Dean Thompson, ex officio.