Mentored For Ministry

At its core, a Calvin Seminary education is about transforming your mind and heart to be an effective minister of the Gospel. Mentoring—from both experienced ministers and your peers—is as essential to your training in our ministry preparation programs as learning Greek or biblical theology.

You will build relationships and ministry experience through three formal programs integrated with the MDiv and professional MA degree programs: Mentoring groups, vocational mentors and internships.

Mentoring groups

Preparing for ministry in seminary can be challenging and intense, but mentoring groups provide a space in which to reflect on your learning and grow as a person. In both the MDiv and professional MA programs, you will meet regularly with the same group of people, building a trusting community that intentionally provides support and encouragement.

Professors or experienced pastors lead your mentoring group, facilitating deep theological reflection and the practice of spiritual disciplines together. They will also guide you as you find other practical ministry experiences, like a local church to be involved in and cross-cultural internships.

As an MDiv or professional MA student, you will receive one credit each semester for Mentoring Group participation based on involvement with the group, your local church, and a vocational mentor.

Local churches and vocational mentoring

With over 700 churches in the Grand Rapids area, you have many opportunities to find a congregation in which to develop your ministry gifts. As a Calvin Seminary student, you will be encouraged to connect with a vocational mentor in your local church—an experienced person who can create a bridge between your studies and real ministry. The Seminary’s Mentored Ministries office can also connect you to a vocational mentor if you don’t find one in your church.

Here’s what one third-year seminary student had to say about involvement in their local church:

“A lot of my progress in the ministry practices came from my work in the local church, where I could practice what I was learning in class. It was through the local church that I received affirmation about my calling to ministry.”

Internships

Calvin Seminary provides connections to internships, particularly as part of the M.Div and professional MA programs, where internship credits are required for degree completion. There are four types of internships available, some of which are specific to a particular program.

Cross-Cultural Internship (MA and M.Div) - Build experience working in a different culture (and gain deep insight about your own) as part of your seminary education. These internships are typically five-week full-time experiences in the summer after your first year or a part-time internship throughout the year

Clinical Pastoral Education (MA and M.Div) - An intensive ministry experience in a church or institutional setting that is advised for MA students studying Pastoral Care, or M.Div students seeking clinical experience. Peer group reflection and professional mentoring are key to this program.

Pastoral Ministry Internship (M.Div) - A full-time, 10-week ministry experience for M.Div students that will help you build your pastoral identity and develop sound ministry practices. Most students complete this internship in the summer after the second year of study, but you can also complete a long-term pastoral ministry internship in the school year by making arrangements with the director of Mentored Ministries.

Specialized Ministry Internship (MA) - If you are a professional MA student, this kind of internship can help you gain leadership experience in your area of specialization. Complete a 5-week full-time internship in the summer or a part-time internship throughout the year.