Guest Editorial: Field Education in Christian Education

From: Volume 6, Issue 1: Spring 2009, Field Education Pages 6-8


This mini-theme of CEJ focuses on field education in Christian education. As we begin a new century and a new millennium, field education becomes increasingly critical for a well-rounded education in professional ministry degrees in graduate and undergraduate schools. Clearly, churches and faith-based organizations want to hire people with at least some experience. And while field education, in the form of internships, practica, and student ministry, provides only limited experience, it is nonetheless some. George Hillman, in a very recent publication on internships titled Ministry Greenhouse: Cultivating Environments for Practical Learning (2008), offers three compelling reasons for field education (pp. 1–10). First, field education balances theological education. The Bible college and seminary must do both the practical application and theological preparation for ministry. In reality, however, the school cannot do it all. Thus, field education serves as a necessary
link between theory and practice (p. 4). Second, field education is a necessary component of leadership development. The academics of a sound theological education provide the groundwork for a biblical worldview and offer the basics of ministry leadership, “but the theoretical needs to be integrated with the practical in the leadership laboratory in the field” (p. 6). Third, ministry development needs a greenhouse. Just as greenhouses guard plants from the environmental hazards such as temperature extremities and pests, when done correctly field education experiences can provide an environment where the transformational process can begin for future ministers and other Christian leaders (pp. 8–9).



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