Elizabeth Nissley, Acting Field Education Coordinator
The goal of field education is to offer opportunities for formative experiences in ministry outside the classroom. Here at LTS, we take field education very seriously. We partner with a variety of church denominations and institutions to prepare students for their future ministries. Field education is required for all Master of Divinity students during the 200-level in the Ministerial Formation Program.
It is the responsibility of each student to choose a site and supervisor that will meet the guidelines set by LTS. Possible field education sites for students include: churches, hospital chaplaincies, retirement homes, university campuses, social service agencies, and local urban shelters. A student can serve at the same site for two years or select two different sites during the two years of field education.
Students design their own learning covenants based upon their vocational plans, the pastoral skills they need to learn, and the pastoral experience they need; the objective is to help students meet their denominational requirements for ordination and become transformational ministers.
In their field education, students learn about themselves. They are shaped by the experiences in their practices of ministry, encounters with the people with whom they serve, and the wisdom of a skilled supervisor who will accompany them in this discernment process. In addition to providing students with the opportunity to engage in supervised ministries, students are also expected to reflect theologically upon their ministerial experiences.
In order for this teaching model to work effectively, our Field Education Coordinator provides support to the student, the teaching church or institution, the approved On-Site Supervisor, and, upon request, the lay committee. With the help of the On-Site Supervisor and Field Education Coordinator, students in ministry formation are led to examine their life skills in pastoral care, preaching, church administration, and social ministries. They also take time regularly for self-reflection.
Seeking to fulfill our mission to serve God by educating and strengthening transformational leaders for congregations, other settings of ministry, and society, our field education requirement provides the necessary elements for transformational experience to occur in the areas of:
- Vocational discernment
- Confirming the call to leadership
- Exploration of ministerial options
- Development of pastoral skills
- Deeper self-awareness and sense of pastoral identity