Crucial to any educational program of preparation for ministry is supervised, practical experience and theological reflection on that experience. The Ministry-in-Context component of the M.A. in Church Ministries (PT799) is the culminating and integrating experience of the degree program. Offered only in the spring semester, Ministry-in-Context is a three-credit course that includes a supervised field placement of approximately 10 hours per week (minimum of 120 hours total) and a bi-weekly theological reflection seminar with a faculty mentor and all other Ministry-in-Context students for that term. This culminating experience consists of three credits included in the 48 credits in the basic curriculum.
Enrollment in Ministry-in-Context is open only to fully matriculated MACM degree candidates who have completed at least 36 hours toward the degree, including at least 15 hours of the foundational curriculum and 12 hours of the requirements for their area of ministry emphasis. Normally, students should take Ministry-in-Context in the last term of their program.
Planning for Ministry-in-Context must begin in the spring or summer prior to the year in which the student will take the course, with final arrangements and approval by all involved parties to be completed before Thanksgiving during the fall term. A guide to planning Ministry-in-Context is provided by the program director. Placement is based on the area of student interest, site availability, and input from the student’s faculty advisor and the program director, after discussion with the individual student. Depending on the emphasis, site placement may be at the student’s own church, another church, or a different ministry site. Each student in a placement has both a faculty advisor and an on-site, approved and trained ministerial supervisor, normally a pastor. Expectations of the student include regular, enthusiastic participation at the site for the agreed-upon hours each week (totaling a minimum of 120 hours for the semester), growth in ministry skills, and collateral reading.
The purpose of the concurrent theological reflection seminar is to integrate a student’s theological education, personal spiritual development, and ministry experience. Since students have different emphases and are not ministering to the same groups of people, the seminar provides great opportunities for students to assist one another’s growth. A substantial integrative paper (both scholarly and reflective in character) is required.
Ministry-in-Context students are evaluated by the on-site supervisor and the seminar instructor. Students are assigned a course grade by the instructor. Successful completion of Ministry-in-Context requires a grade of B or better. Repeating the Ministry-in-Context experience may be required if the student does not fulfill the expectations agreed upon by the student, field supervisor, and instructor, or if he or she receives a grade below B.