Each student is required to undertake a program of ministry, most often in conjunction with a local church. In close consultation with faculty advisors, students will propose the major areas of ministry they wish to improve or enhance their practical experience.
This integration will be encouraged through the following objectives:
- experiencing various ministry roles in the context of supervision and reflection
- reconsidering theoretical knowledge in the midst of the vicissitudes of life and relationships
- allowing personality strengths and weaknesses to come to the light in the context of support, safety, feedback and ongoing personal and spiritual development
- enhancing spiritual formation with integrity
1. Internship Proposal
Before finalizing arrangements with an organization, interns will submit a proposal to the Dean of Ministry providing the following information:
- location and brief description of the placement site
proposed supervisor including a brief description of his/her background, education and years in ministry
- brief description of the types of ministry involvement anticipated and its relationship to personal ministry goals and hopes
- requested faculty supervisor (if different from above)
2. Supervised Internship
Students are required to find a ministry setting in which they are committed to serving for a minimum of ten hours a week (in many situations it will be desirable to serve something approaching twenty) for six months (this can be broken up into two different placements of three months each). The setting for this field experience should be in a church or Christian organization, and at least a significant fraction should involve working directly with people. There should be opportunities to gain experience in a variety of important aspects of ministry. This setting and the time involved should be chosen based on criteria such as:
- relevance to future career hopes (calling)
- related to the interests of the student
- adequate and knowledgeable supervision is available (on or off-site)
Students are required to arrange supervision. Supervisors can be on-site (i.e. pastors or leaders of the group with which they are working) or off-site (usually SSU faculty). On-site supervisors must be willing to volunteer their time, in respect of which they are hopefully rewarded with the intern’s labours. Non-faculty supervisors should be approached by the student and recommended in their internship proposal. Supervisors that are accepted by SSU must sign a form committing themselves to the supervision responsibilities, including a final feedback form (three and six month) that they have reviewed with the student. Students are required to meet with their supervisors at least bi-weekly. This should be an opportunity to:
- establish ministry priorities and modify them as time progresses
- allow the supervisor to give feedback, as he or she guides, mentors, encourages and challenges the intern
- facilitate practical theological discussion and reflection in the context of the ministry
- pray for each other and the ministry
4. Faculty Supervision
When the supervisor is not a faculty member, students should remain in ongoing contact with a faculty supervisor regarding any problems with the field experience or supervisor, or any significant personal issues arising in the context of ministry. Students will meet (by phone if necessary) with a faculty supervisor once per term three-month period) to review the internship experience. During occasions when there are several students interning in the St. Stephen area, efforts will be made to arrange a group supervision meeting with one or more faculty to review internship experiences and pray for each other.
5. Internship Logs
Interns are required to keep a log of their field experience. They should write a minimum of one page a week (students are encouraged to use this log to do more significant journaling if they choose). About half of this page should be a brief description of the types of activities engaged in. The other half should briefly record: a) highlights b) frustrations c) theological questions raised d) practical ministry questions raised. The internship log will be reviewed by a faculty member during the term review and at the end of the internship. If private journaling is included, the log should be divided into shared and private sections. It is left between students and their regular supervisors whether the log will be a part of their weekly meetings.
6. Final Assessment
At the end of the six month period and after non-faculty supervisors have provided their final feedback forms, interns will meet for a final assessment and review with their faculty supervisor. Internships are not graded. Credit is either granted or not granted. In situations where credit is withheld, the reason will be because of significant concerns regarding the readiness for more independent ministry by the intern as determined by the supervising faculty member and either the on-site supervisor or a second faculty member. Efforts will be made to help interns understand the seriousness of concerns during the course of the field experience. Faculty may encourage interns to take a break from active ministry for a time or work with interns to formulate a plan to remedy any problem areas including options such as counselling and extended internships.