Field Education and Supervised Ministry is one important part of the comprehensive academic Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Service degree programs offered through Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. The purpose of these is to prepare persons for leadership in the church.
The Minister-in-Training will have completed a minimum of 21 hours of academic studies toward the number of hours required for the M.Div. degree, and for the M.A.C.S. degree. Normally, the student will have completed basic studies in Bible, Theology, Church History, Pastoral Care and other courses related to the practice of ministry. Many will also have had from one to three years of experience in part-time ministry. The intention of the curriculum at Brite is to incorporate integration in Ministry Studies as fully as possible, and the Supervised Year in Ministry is the intentional expression of that effort.
To that end, a major emphasis of Field Education is to provide a “”Supervised Year”” program. Its purpose is three-fold: (1) to make a Minister-in-Training available to a local church or agency for service as pastor, youth minister, student associate or other agency-based ministry; (2) to help the student toward a better self-understanding both as a person and as a pastor or non-profit ministerial leader; and (3) to help the student develop a sustainable spiritual discipline. Being a pastor or non-profit ministerial leader includes a self-understanding (intrapersonal) as well as one’s relationship to persons and groups (interpersonal). Awareness and reflection on experience are keys to growth in ministry. The program is designed to place theory and practice in the same arena, if not complementing each other, then at least moving toward reconciliation.
Under careful pastoral supervision and with the support of a Lay Training Committee, the student is exposed to total ministry and is guided in the process of facing the issues of life dissecting them, examining each part in the light of theological reflection–in collegiality with pastors, lay people and peers. Thus, the student is engaged in valid work of ministry. He or she will have the opportunity of gaining insights and skills in integrating and academic knowledge, theological reflection, spiritual formation, competence in the functions of ministry, and awareness of personal functioning and interpersonal relations.
The purpose of this manual is to familiarize all persons who will be related to a Minister-in-Training and his or her placement with the expectations and responsibilities of the program. Usually located mid-point in the student’s academic program, the Supervised Year consists of two semesters and carries 6 semester hours credit. The concurrent model of field education is practiced at Brite Divinity School because it permits the mutual interplay of classroom and professional experience in a field setting which provides both a place for student financial support and a base for professional learning.
The Supervised Year gives the opportunity to Ministers-in-Training to integrate what is learned in classroom settings with actual ministerial practice in the field. The field setting, be it congregation or agency, should experience benefits as well.
The Director of Field Education and Supervised Ministry encourages field supervisors, committees and boards who exercise oversight for students to uphold the important balance between practice and classroom responsibilities. By monitoring how well students are achieving a proper balance among study, work, and personal care, lifelong patterns for positive ministry may be inculcated in them for decades to come.
Our goal is to bring out the best ministerial attributes in each Minister-in-Training with respect to who each person is, and what God is calling Christ’s Church to be in the age in which we live. We welcome you to our mutual ministry!”
Stephen V. Sprinkle