DL Dispatch - December 2010


What to expect from your teaching congregation

A student engaged in a teaching congregation experiences:
1) A healthy worshiping community, so that life continues to be grounded in a congregational setting
2) A mentor pastor, who provides ongoing conversation and models pastoral wisdom
3) A setting in which to work out connecting coursework and develop pastoral leadership

Most often, M.Div. DL students already anchored in a healthy worshiping community will stay with their congregation, and a pastor of the congregation will serve as their mentor pastor. Students in need of a teaching congregation site will consult with their synod of candidacy and with the seminary.

Students participate in their teaching congregation site for five semesters of the program, spending three to five hours per week at the site, including meeting with the mentor pastor at least twice a month. Mentor pastors and students craft a learning covenant each semester to create clear goals and expectations to guide the semester's work.

Within these teaching congregations, students integrate their textbook and contextual learning through intentional, reflective conversation with experienced pastors. This process guides the students in the formation of their pastoral identity and imagination. The students have the opportunity to develop essential leadership skills for current and future pastoral ministry in the church as they actively engage the life of a congregation.