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Overview of Field Education


In field education, students learn what it means to be a minister by doing ministry under the supervision of a trained and certified teacher. Field education differs from field work or field experience. The supervision changes the emphasis. Students learn by examining how they accomplished a task, why they did what they did, and how they may do it better another time. We place students in churches and agencies because there they will acquire and test the skills and attitudes they need to become competent and successful leaders. Field Education is to ministry what practice teaching is to education and the internship is to medicine.

Students come to field education as highly capable but unfinished products. The local church is a laboratory for learning. The student should have regular opportunities to lead and assist with worship, to preach a minimum of two times, to provide pastoral care, to teach, to explore the congregation’s organization and polity, and to discover how the congregation relates to its community. At the end of the placement the student should have learned:

What leadership requires.
How God’s call to ministry plays out in the world.
How to apply classroom theology to a practical context.
How to relate to different people as a professional.
How he or she comes across to others.
What kind of energy ministry requires.
How context shapes ministry.
What a pastor/preacher/minister does.
How a particular church or agency works.