Religion Chairs and Ministerial Representatives Collaborate in Preparing Students for Professional Ministry

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Recently the chairs of religion from Adventist higher education met with ministerial representatives to coordinate curriculum and internships for ministry. Meeting at the new NAD headquarters, the May 21-23 sessions were filled with presentations and discussions on how to fully integrate the Core Qualities of effective ministry into the ministerial training process.  

On Monday, Glynis Bradfield, Director of Undergraduate Distance Student Services, at Andrews University, shared the power of curriculum mapping. Sharon Aka, Associate Director of Adventist Learning Community, lead the department chairs in a curriculum mapping exercise. Small teams huddled around tables attempting to match Core Qualities with a generic theology course schedule. It became clear to all that the match was not perfect. There were courses that didn’t seem to have many Core Qualities in them, but the greater issue was that there were dozens of Core Qualities that didn’t seem to find a good home in the generic curriculum. As the chairs returned to their schools many are leading their department in the same exercise to see what can be done to integrate Core Qualities more seamlessly into their undergraduate ministerial programs. 

Teresa Reeve, Associate Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, reported on the big changes taking place at the seminary. The Master of Divinity program has been completely overhauled based on Core Qualities. In addition, the program has become more laser focused and students who have completed the prerequisites, will be able to complete the degree in about two years. Also added is the option for pastors to start the M. Div. while still in the field, or finish the M. Div. after returning to the field. These major changes are slated to be operational fall semester, 2018. 

A report was given indicating that there is still a strong enrollment in ministerial training in the NAD. In 2018, 107 students graduated with undergraduate degrees in pastor preparation at accredited Adventist colleges and universities and 150 graduated with Master of Divinity degrees. 

On Tuesday, Ed Watson, Associate Vice President, of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, set the foundation for the usage of ePortfolios in higher education and internships. His presentation can be found here. Groups of ministerial directors and chairs brainstormed on what features they would like to see included if an ePortfolio platform were to be built for education and internship. Their notes can be found here.

Posters of Core Qualities as they appear at each of four levels of pastoral development were introduced. These posters can be downloaded here, or to order a 24 by 36 inch poster contact Dave Gemmell.

Representatives from conference ministerial directors stayed by on Wednesday to flesh out a template for internship development. This NAD template can be customized by conferences in their unique internship settings. The template will include a description of the various roles in the internship process, the learning cycle, and integration with an eportfolio. Maurice Battle will be heading up the writing committee to flesh out the template and post it in the NAD online ministerial handbook. 

 

In reflecting on the event, Ivan Williams said “During our time together I believe we discussed important issues, made significant gains in pastoral preparation, and continued to build mutual trust and respect. Because of the chairs’ and directors’ tireless effort, the future of pastoral development in the NAD continues to grow brighter!”