In the pursuit of excellence Master of Divinity students will pursue the art and practice of ministry at their field education sites. Complementary ministerial seminars (MS courses) provide an opportunity at the seminary to reflect theologically on their learning as the students are being challenged and shaped at their sites. Here at LTS we take field education very seriously as we partner with a variety of church denominations and institutions to prepare students for their future minister. Field education is required for all Master of Divinity students during their 200 and 300 levels of the Ministerial Formation Program and is completed in four semesters. The goal of field education is to offer opportunities for formative experiences in ministry outside the classroom.
It is the responsibility of each student to choose a site and supervisor that will meet the guidelines set by LTS. Every year LTS organizes an onsite Field Education Placement Fair which hosts a variety of representatives from potential field sites. 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 their two years of field education. In field education the student will design their own learning covenant 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, the Field Education Coordinator from LTS 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.
According to our mission statement: "Lancaster Theological Seminary serves God by educating and strengthening transformational leaders for congregations, other settings of ministry, and society."
Seeking to fulfill that mission, the field education requirement at LTS provides the necessary elements for transformational experience to occur in the areas of: