The Mentored Ministries Office oversees the following formation programs: Mentoring Groups, Vocational Mentors, and Internships. It also connects with key formational courses.
Mentoring Groups are faculty-led or pastor-led groups of six to eight students that meet regularly throughout students’ seminary training. MDiv groups meet together for three years and MA groups for two years. In Mentoring Groups, students and leaders form one another for ministry by practicing spiritual disciplines and theological reflection together. Mentoring Groups provide students with a community of trust and reflection where all parts of their education and formation for ministry can be integrated.
- MDiv – 6 semesters (6 credits)
- MA – 4 semesters (4 credits)
Students receive course credit based on consistent participation in the life of the mentoring group, regular meetings with their vocational mentor, faithful local church involvement, and the timely completion of Mentored Ministries assignments for their folios.
Vocational Mentors & Local Church Involvement
Vocational mentors are pastors or ministry leaders who meet with students regularly to provide support and nurture. Many vocational mentors are from the local churches that students attend and help to bridge the world of church and the world of seminary.
Student’s local churches are also the settings in which they develop ministry practice experience while they are studying at the seminary. Through relationships with a local church and a vocational mentor, students develop not only ministry skills, but also a holistic sense of identity as persons called to ministry on behalf of Christ.
”A lot of my progress in the ministry practices came from my work in the local church, where I could practice what I was learning in class. It was through the local church that I received affirmation about my calling to ministry.” -Third-year student
M.Div. Internships (6 credit hours)
M.Div. Internships provide an intriguing range of opportunities for students to practice and reflect on ministry in various contexts, facilitating an integration of theology with ministry, a maturing pastoral identity, and growth of ministry practice skills. A primary and guiding principle for the internship program is: “All M.Div. students must have meaningful engagement with congregational ministry in the course of their overall Mentored Ministries Program.” The Mentored Ministries Office and the student’s Mentoring Group leader along with the student discern the components of an internship program that will be most beneficial for the student. Typically, students complete two of the following three options:
1. Cross-cultural Internships provide opportunities to explore the contextual nature of ministry and are typically completed in the summer after students’ first year of seminary as a five-week, full-time ministry assignment. (200 hours, 2 credits)
2. Pastoral Ministry Internships provide ministry leadership experiences in a congregation in which students are able to deepen pastoral identity and develop ministry practices, and are typically completed in the summer after students’ second year of seminary as a ten-week, full-time ministry assignment. (400 hours, 4 credits) Students desiring a longer term pastoral ministry experience in a congregational setting or specialized ministry setting (e.g. campus ministry, chaplaincy residency, church planting, community development, or international missions) may explore these options for completing this internship with the DoMM.
3. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) provides ministry opportunities in approved institutional or church settings together with professional supervision and intensive peer group reflection. CPE can be completed concurrently during the school year or over the course of a summer. (4 credits)
M.A. Internships (2 credit hours)
M.A. internships assist students in understanding how God is molding them spiritually, personally and professionally through their seminary studies, work of ministry, and area of specialization. The primary consideration in the selection of an internship is the student’s area of specialization (worship, missions, education, pastoral care, etc.). Ordinarily, students will have completed 18 semester hours of course work before beginning an internship. If necessary, students may start their internship in the spring of their first year.
1. Specialized Ministry Internships provide students with a ministry experience that immerses them in a ministry context which provides the student with a significant leadership opportunity in the area of their ministry specialization. This internship requirement may be met via a part-time internship during the academic year or a 5 week full-time internship during the summer. (200 hours, 2 credits)
2. Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) provides ministry opportunities in approved institutional or church settings together with professional supervision and intensive peer group reflection. M.A. students specializing in Pastoral Care especially are advised to explore this option for completing their internship requirement. CPE can be completed concurrently during the school year or over the course of a summer. (2 credits for internship and 2 hours of course credit)
3. Cross-cultural Internships provide opportunities to explore the contextual nature of ministry and are typically completed in the summer after students’ first year of seminary as a five-week, full-time ministry assignment. (200 hours, 2 credits)
For internship information presented to churches and other ministries, please visit our internship website.
The following sampling of courses are intentionally interdisciplinary, teaching students to draw on their work in a variety of fields when they approach particular ministry challenges. These courses intersect with the Mentored Ministries program in mutually enriching ways.
- Theological Education as Formation for Ministry establishes the integral relation between the “thinking” and “doing” of theology. Students investigate habits developed through theological education that are critical to healthy life-long ministry practices, and write a Rhythm of Life. The classic spiritual disciplines are studied and practiced. M.Div., M.A.
- Introduction to Ministry introduces students to theological reflection, and to basic tasks of pastoral care and a variety of ministry practices within the context of pastoral ministry. M.Div
- Service Learning Course requires students to serve 100 hours through a ministry in their local congregation or through some other ecclesiastical or parachurch organization. Students’ learning through service to poor or oppressed populations is integrated with their learning in other parts of the curriculum. M.Div.
- Reading Contexts provides students with basic perspectives and tools for analyzing a congregation or other ministry settings and serving as a pastor. Students are prepared to discern a call to a specific ministry setting and to minister wisely in that context. M.Div.
- Pastoral Leadership equips students to provide effective pastoral leadership in forming communities of disciples. It integrates a biblical theology of leadership with personal reflection, discernment of contexts, and practical leadership skills. M.Div.