At Luther Seminary, Internship is a core integrative experiential learning component of the formation of Christian Public Leaders. Internship provides leadership experience under the supervision of a pastor or non-profit ministry leader who serves as a contextual educator. Its dual aim is (a) a developmental process of vocational formation and (b) growth in competence in the various skills of ministry practice.
In Internship, students take on the role of a Christian public leader, engage in the full range of ministry and professional experiences, hone knowledge and skills in proclaiming God's promise in a variety of ways, form new communities, and equip existing communities to love and serve their neighbors. As part of the Internship experience, students will complete a major project that deepens learning of particular leadership skills. These projects may include key leadership areas such as administration, leadership, stewardship, conflict resolution, revitalization, or many more.
In the sections below, you may learn how to participate in the Internship program in various models. Use the sidebar on the left as well as the "Quick Links" section below to access application forms, financial information, evaluation launch pages, and other resources.
All internships begin with a student application submitted in October or November in the year before the student wishes to do internship. The student application is then followed by a short staff interview in November or December. In turn, the interview is followed by an additional placement process, which generally culminates with internship placements delivered in March or April. Internship placements subsequently begin in late summer or early fall and span anywhere from nine months to two years. See the following sections for more information about timing and coursework.
All internships begin with a site application submitted by January 31 in the year the site wishes to host an intern. The site application is then followed by an interview in February. In turn, the interview is followed by an additional placement process, which generally culminates with internship placements delivered in March or April. Internship placements subsequently begin in late summer or early fall. See below for more information about timing and interns' availability.
FOR BOTH STUDENTS AND SITES:
All internships involve developing learning goals, completing periodic evaluations, participating in regular supervisory meetings for theological reflection, and facilitating a capstone missional leadership project. Within this core structure, several variations are possible.
See below for more information.
Beginning Fall 2015, the standard M.Div. internship for all students is a two-semester, two-credit course with an expectation of spending a minimum of 12 hours per week in a congregation or non-profit organization.
All students are expected to take Leading Christian Communities in Mission before, or at the latest during, their first semester of Internship. This course aids getting to know contexts, congregations or organizations, provides a structured process for thinking theologically about experiences, and provides the impetus for imagining specific missional leadership initiatives one might undertake for the required internship project.
Some denominational bodies have specific requirements for internship which will impact the ways students navigate the course requirements, as follows.
ELCA students, among other denominations, are required to fulfill a full-time, one-year internship in a congregation or new mission community. A student considering a full-time option should plan to take coursework at various points throughout internship, in close consultation with the intern’s supervisor, candidacy committee, and advising team.
ELCA students, among other denominations, may want to explore part-time options in conversation with their candidacy committees. These part-time options may be either "concurrent" (part-time over two years) or "embedded" (part-time over all three years of seminary). A student considering a part-time option should plan to take coursework at various points throughout internship, in close consultation with the intern’s supervisor, candidacy committee, and advising team.
Other students with specific denominational requirements for internship can contact the Director of Contextual Learning and the Director of the Student Resource Center in order to discuss ways of meeting these requirements through the internship course and other coursework.
Beginning Fall 2015, all students on internship may take classes alongside their internship experience. All students are encouraged to have taken Reading the Audiences or Leading Christian Communities in Mission before or during their first semester of Internship. This course provides the theological and sociological tools for getting to know contexts, congregations or organizations and provides a structured process for thinking theologically about specific missional leadership initiatives one might undertake for the required internship project.
Ideally, courses would intersect with work in the internship context as dynamically as possible. Students should include their supervisor, candidacy committee, and advising team in planning and implementing a proposed course schedule and its intersection with the internship context. As all interns are adult learners, the office of Contextual Learning will not limit the number of credits the intern might take; however, every intern is advised to negotiate their workload carefully, especially with respect to existing seminary, internship, and personal obligations.