Field Education and Supervised Ministry, its curricular dimension, is an essential component of the comprehensive academic Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry programs offered through Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. The purpose of Field Education and Supervised Ministry is to prepare persons for leadership in communities of faith and faith-based non-profit agencies.
Students seeking “learning and earning” experiences while in seminary can commence the search process by filling out the Field Education Information Application, downloadable by clicking on the tile on this page, and also available from the Office of Field Education and Supervised Ministry (Moore Building, Room 20). A résumé provided by the student strengthens the dossier the Office of FE/SM shares with prospective employers. While Brite Divinity School does not operate a job placement service, the Office of FE/SM serves as an honest broker to help match students seeking jobs with congregations and agencies looking for part-time seminary workers. A Job Opportunities Board is located in the hallway opposite the entrance to the FE/SM Office. Students may browse job descriptions that are sent in by settings seeking student leadership, which describe current positions on offer. As requested, the Director of FE/SM provides vocational counseling and conversation for students seeking employment. Appointments are available with the Director through the Office of FE/SM.
The purpose of the Supervised Year in Ministry is threefold: (1) to make a Minister-in-Training available to a local church or agency for service as a pastor, youth minister, student associate, or other agency-based ministries; (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 and professional ministerial career. Being a religious leader includes intrapersonal and interpersonal self-awareness. The art of theological reflection upon events and the interrelationships of individuals, families, systems, and institutions is a craft that must be learned. To that end, the Supervised Ministry year places theory and practice in the same arena, in an action-reflection model of learning, so this skill may be developed effectively.
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 life issues and examining each ministerial challenge in the light of mutual accountability in collegiality with pastors, lay persons, and peers. She or he will have the opportunity to gain insights and skills in integrating academic learning, theological reflection, spiritual formation, competence in the functions of ministry, and awareness of personal strengths and growing edges in interpersonal relations.
Usually located mid-point in the student’s academic program, the Supervised Year consists of two semesters of course work and carries 6 semester hours credit. A student must apply to the Office of FE/SM for admission to the Supervised Year in Ministry. Consideration for admission is reserved for students who have already accomplished 21 credit hours in program by the commencement of the academic year in which Supervised Ministry is to be taken. There are no exceptions to this standard. The Supervised Year gives the opportunity to a Minister-in-Training to integrate what is learned in classroom settings with actual ministerial practice in the field. The field setting, either congregation or agency, experiences both tangible and intangible benefits, as well.
The Director of FE/SM encourages field supervisors, committees, and boards that exercise oversight for students to uphold the essential balance between practice in the field, and the requirements of classroom experience. By monitoring how well students are achieving a proper equilibrium among study, work, spiritual growth, ethical considerations, family and personal life, and the habits of 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 and appreciation for individual’s gifts and graces, in full awareness of the demands and challenges facing religious communities in the age in which we live.
We welcome you to our mutual ministry!
Please CLICK HERE to download the Field Education Application.
Stephen V. Sprinkle