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Discover your vocational identity

At Luther Seminary, internship is a core integrative experiential learning component of the formation of Christian Public Leaders. Internship provides leadership experience in community under the supervision of a pastor or nonprofit ministry leader who serves as a contextual educator. Its dual aim is a developmental process of vocational formation and growth in competence in the various skills of ministry practice.

During internship, students serve as a Christian public leader, engage in the full range of ministry and professional experiences, hone knowledge and skills in proclaiming God’s promise, and equip 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 areas such as administration, leadership, stewardship, conflict resolution, or revitalization which arise out of the context in which one is serving.

Internship is a graduation requirement for all M.Div. students. Discernment of readiness for and placement in an internship develops in conversation with the Office of Contextual Learning, denominational partners, and seminary advising team. Specific patterns and coursework information is as follows.

Full-time, half-time and part-time internships

One-year/full-time internship (for Lutheran candidates)

Students of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and other Lutheran denominations are required to fulfill a full-time, one-year internship in a congregation (or its equivalent; see below).

Two-year/half-time (for Lutheran candidates)

Students of the ELCA and other Lutheran denominations may explore half-time options in conversation with the Office of Contextual Learning, candidacy committee, and seminary advising team. This option is called a concurrent internship, which is served half-time over two years in a congregation.

Two-semester/part-time (for ecumenical students or students not participating in a candidacy process)

This two-semester course includes spending a minimum of 12 hours per week in an internship context. Other students with specific denominational requirements for internship can contact the Director of Contextual Learning to discuss ways of meeting these requirements.

Internship and coursework

Students on internship are encouraged to take classes alongside their internship experience. Ideally, courses would intersect with work in the internship context. Students are expected to consult the Office of Contextual Learning and their internship supervisor in planning and implementing a proposed course schedule and its interaction with the internship context, keeping in mind existing seminary, internship, and personal obligations. Other conversation partners may be one’s candidacy committee and seminary advising team. Contextual Learning strongly recommends a guideline of no more than 1.0-credit per term during a one-year/full-time internship.

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