LOUISVILLE – The Reverend Dr. Timothy B. Cargal, a seasoned leader in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has been named coordinator for Preparation for Ministry, the Office of the General Assembly (OGA) announced Tuesday, August 20.
The position, housed within OGA’s Mid Council Ministries area, helps guide and support the preparation of denominational leaders, particularly teaching and ruling elders. Cargal formally moves into the role after serving as interim coordinator.
“We all feel the rapid changes in society that are impacting our churches. Consequently we are in a period when the processes for preparing to serve as teaching elders must also change, even as it is not yet clear just what skills and characteristics will be needed in pastoral leaders in the future,” Cargal said. “I am particularly excited to have the opportunity to continue to explore these challenges with our inquirers and candidates, mid councils, and partners in theological education.”
Cargal joined the national staff of the PC(USA) in September 2009 after two decades of service in pastoral ministry and teaching. He served congregations in Tennessee and Maryland while also teaching biblical studies and languages in both university and seminary settings.
Among Cargal’s responsibilities in his new role will be to provide visionary leadership for preparation for ministry/exam staff and related church partners. This will involve engaging staff and partners in strategic planning regarding the spiritual, theological, and practical preparation of persons called to service as teaching elders and ruling elders commissioned to pastoral service.
“Over the past several years it has been my privilege to be involved in the most extensive technological innovations in the almost five decade history of the ordination exams by working with exceptional staff and volunteers who make the exams process work,” Cargal said. “In the coming years I hope to extend those technological benefits to other aspects of the preparation for ministry process, all the while emphasizing that technology is only a means for achieving our primary purpose of helping individuals develop their gifts and discern the place of ministry where God is calling them to use those gifts.”
The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, expressed his overwhelming support of Cargal’s selection.
“OGA and Mid Council Ministries are excited about Cargal’s vision for the future as it relates to the ministry preparation process,” he said. “Tim brings exceptional gifts and talents to the table, and the denomination will be well-served by having him permanently serve as coordinator.”
Cargal is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and Vanderbilt University, where he wrote his dissertation on the Letter of James. His published works range from essays for study Bibles and dictionaries to articles and books for pastors and scholars in the fields of biblical studies and homiletics. His most recent book is the volume on Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles in the Immersion Bible Studies series (2012).
Cargal is a teaching elder member of the Presbytery of National Capital, where he served as moderator in 2009. He and wife Sherri, who recently celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary, have two children—a son currently pursuing graduate studies in biology and a daughter entering her junior year in high school.