It is nearly time for my Bishop’s Advisory panel!!! I have less than a month to be ready for the grilling of my life. It has taken over 2 years of thought, prayer and discussions with my Director of Ordinands and I now feel ready for the Panel. The panels have changed over the years so I will outline what mine will involve; going in as a potential ordianand in 2011:

1. Application form: This form will be the most detailed piece of work that you will probably ever do on yourself. They ask you about every part of your life and work since you were born and they expect you to be as clear as possible. That is very difficult if you have a bad memory so if you are in the process of doing your form now; I suggest you start to jog your memories because it took me 3 hours to do that bit on the paper.

2. Written Reflection: For 2011 candidates, we had to write on an area of mission and evangelism. It was a 700-750 word assignment and the Advisors will look at your writing ability. This goes off with your application form, about 6 weeks before your panel.

3. The Presentation and group discussion: This is a piece of work that you have to prepare outside of the panel, but perform during the panel. You have to choose a specific subject that relates to one of the 9 criteria for selection and deliver a 5 min talk on your chosen subject. After your 5 minutes, you then have to chair a group discussion without a break, and you have to lead that discussion for 12 minutes. In the last 2 minutes, you have to summarise what the group has said and conclude the discussion.

4. Pastoral letter: At the Panel; you are given a scenario which requires a written response in the form of a letter. You are given the topic at the panel and you have the two days after to research and complete the letter on time. It should be no more than 500 words and has to try to address the issue. the panelists are looking at your ability to deal with pastoral issues in the form of a letter.

5. Personal inventory: This is a 45 minute test which involve multiple choice and essay based questions. It is a non-assessed test where the panelist see how you react to immediate issues and how you would address them.

6. Interviews: You have 3 interviews by all 3 panelists plus the panel secretary. The 3 panelists will use all the other tests that you have done plus your application form and references to try to see if you clear all 9 criteria. There is an education advisory, a pastoral advisory, and vocational advisory. They look all look at 3 categories in their fields and try to see if you are suitable. The biggest tip is: Be yourself!!

7. Results: Yes, No, Not yet. You will know about 10 days after your panel. Yes; means off to college and ordained ministry; Not yet; means there are some things that you have to do in order to go to college; No means that you are not suitable for training and you then explore with your DDO the options available or try again in 2 years time.

This process is what I will go through at the end of May. I have done 1 and 2, but I have the rest to face. I will let you know what the outcome will be for this ministry trainee…