Application for Teaching Congregations and Agencies
Supervised Concurrent Field Education (SCOFE)
Thank you for your interest in the Supervised Concurrent Field Education (SCOFE) program at Christian Theological Seminary. We seek to prepare women and men for faithful, imaginative and effective leadership in the church and community. At CTS, we depend on and deeply value congregations, judicatories, denominations and agencies that provide students with a breadth and depth of ministry experience, offer timely and direct feedback, and engage students in intentional reflection on their emerging identity as ministers.
We partner with ministry sites from a wide variety of church traditions and contexts. At the same time, our students reflect a wide range of diversity, both in terms of who they are as people and in their anticipated vocational paths. The students have enrolled at CTS because they see themselves preparing for some form of ministry, but the journeys and callings vary widely.
The Field Education Staff looks forward to becoming acquainted with prospective congregations and agencies and whenever possible, discerning ways that we can work with you in creating a strong teaching and learning environment at your ministry site for CTS students. The process begins by completing this application and submitting it to the Field Education Office. After that, a Field Education staff person will visit your congregation or agency and meet with the pastor or executive director and, preferably, a few leaders from the church or agency.
When your congregation or agency is approved as a SCOFE ministry site, the Field Education staff will send you profiles of students who are interested in your position. The profiles will include a resume and a ministry statement that describes the student’s journey, call to ministry and particular interests in ministry. At that point, the congregation or agency decides what students they wish to interview and what student they wish to enter into a conversation with that might lead to a call to serve in that congregation or agency.
The guiding philosophy of the SCOFE program is to ensure that students have a breadth and depth of ministry experience in a suitable ministry context, and then to provide as many opportunities as possible to intentionally and rigorously reflect upon those experiences with a broad range of diverse people, including clergy and laypersons. This section provides an introduction to the goals and strategies of the SCOFE program.
The SCOFE diagram above captures both the key participants in the field education experience, as well as the circles of conversation that enrich a student’s learning and preparation for ministry. Ministerial learning occurs in a community of persons committed to enhancing the student's growth as a faithful and competent minister. These persons support the student’s learning by observing, assessing, and sharing feedback. SCOFE participants learn in circles of conversation where persons give and receive feedback in committed relationships. For example, a student serving as a pastoral intern will reflect on her leadership in worship not only with the pastor, but also with the ministry support committee, her SCOFE group on campus, and through discussion and assignments in class.
Expectations of a Teaching Congregation or Agency
1. The appropriate board, council or other oversight group of the congregation or agency will commit to providing a ministry internship and make that intent known to the congregation or, in the case of an agency, other appropriate constituents.
2. The congregation will employ the student an average of 12-15 hours per week (including preparation time), from at least September through May under a job description with clearly defined expectations. A minimum salary of $6,000 is encouraged for that time period, but many students agree to internships for less. Some work in non-paid positions. A letter of agreement or similar employment contract will be completed and submitted to the Field Education Office. The Field Education Office will provide a template of a letter of agreement at your request.
3. The student will be introduced to the congregation or agency as part of the professional ministerial staff, to the extent that is appropriate in a given tradition.
4. The pastor or another theologically-trained person will serve as the student’s Ministry Mentor and meet in weekly reflection sessions or with other agreed upon frequency that leads to the student receiving four hours each month of direct mentoring and supervision from the Ministry Mentor. The Ministry Mentor will prepare an evaluation of the student at the end of each semester and discuss it with the student. CTS provides training for Ministry Mentors and offers the opportunity to audit one course during each semester that you are working with a CTS student.
5. The congregation or agency will establish a Ministry Support Committee of 4-7 adults that will meet with the student monthly. Members of the committee will receive training from CTS. An evaluation will be prepared, discussed with the student, and submitted at the end of each semester.
6. Whenever possible, the congregation will provide office space and an appropriate level of administrative support for the student.
Support from the Field Education Staff at CTS
Students not only will receive mentoring and supervision at your ministry site, but also on campus each week, from September to May, as part of a ministry peer group that is facilitated by a seasoned pastor.
In addition to connecting students with possible congregations and agencies and providing training for Ministry Mentors and Ministry Support Committees, the staff is eager to support you and your congregation or agency in whatever way is helpful during the process of securing a student and working with that student over the course of the year. Please feel free to contact us:
Rev. Martin Wright, Interim Director of Field Education
Ms. Karen Kelm, Administrative Assistant
The Process of Securing a Student
Most SCOFE positions begin September 1st and conclude at the end of the spring semester in early May. However, some congregations and agencies offer ten or twelve-month positions that can begin anytime, but they must include at least the academic year described above.
The process to secure a student usually takes several months. Below is a rough timeline that outlines that process.
By February 1st (ideally) – Congregations and agencies have submitted their application to be ministry teaching sites. If the application is complete, the position is posted on the internal website at CTS so that students can review the information and decide to what congregations and agencies students want to have their profiles sent.
[By February 1st, students will have participated in an on-campus orientation and submitted their completed information to the Field Education Office. During February and March, students interview with the Director of Field Education, who either approves or delays the student’s entry into SCOFE. As soon as students have interviewed with the Director and have been approved to proceed with SCOFE, students may request that their materials be sent to some or all of the congregations that have posted positions.]
During March and April – Congregations and agencies receive student profiles, choose what students, if any to interview, and then proceed to select, negotiate and call that student. That process rests completely with the congregation. The Field Education Staff will lend its support at every turn, but we do not appoint, place, assign, reassign or terminate students at ministry sites. However, the Field Education Staff welcomes any and all feedback on students who are interviewed. That feedback often helps students prepare for future interviews.
By May 15th ideally but no later than July 1st – Congregations and agencies conclude the process by informing the Field Education Office of the student who has been selected and will submit the letter of agreement between the congregation/agency and the student. In turn, the Field Education Staff will let Ministry Mentors and Ministry Support Committees who are new to the program know about training dates in August.
August – Training sessions are held for Mentors and MSCs who are new to the SCOFE program.
By September 1st – Students begin ministry with congregations.
Three important notes about this timeline:
1. Congregations and agencies who wait to begin the interviewing process after Easter often do not have as many strong applicants as those who begin the interviewing process earlier. It doesn’t seem to matter when Easter falls; it always functions as a marker for some congregations and agencies to get going on calling a SCOFE intern. You are encouraged to start the process of reviewing profiles and conducting interviews as early as you can.
2. The last week of the semester, in which many students have multiple papers and exams due, is not a good time to see students at their best. The last week of the semester usually occurs during the first or second week of May.
3. Sometimes, despite good intentions and effort, the process does not unfold according to this timeline. The Field Education Staff is aware that every congregation and agency will be focusing on a range of opportunities and concerns and calling a SCOFE student may not reflect the priority of this timeline. However, you are urged to move the process along as efficiently as possible in order to have the best chance at securing a strong student with whom to work. Arrangements between students and SCOFE sites must be completed no later than July 1st.
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