The Campus for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) values contextualized theological education, by which students engage with the city—its people, systems ,and churches—as essential to the seminary curriculum. As such, CUME’s Field-Based Mentored Ministry Program provides degree students with practical and reflective training in the context of urban ministry.
The Field-Based Mentored Ministry classes, MM 649 and 650, are 6-credit hour courses designed to facilitate the development of expertise in an urban ministry specialization area and process leadership skills among students using an action learning approach.
As students develop essential leadership skills in their area of interest, mentors facilitate transformational learning through skill-building, personal formation and theological integration. Each semester, the course is broken in to two segments: modular learning and project-based learning. In the modular learning hours, community leaders teach on various aspects of leadership development and ministry planning skills. The topics change each semester, depending on specialization focus. In the second segment of the course, students work in small groups with project mentors to address a real challenge or program development need presented by a hosting partner from the community. Students present a pastoral program proposal, or project report to host partners, mentors and director.
This required class should be taken in the final year of studies for both MDiv and MA students. Students have the option of taking the course more than once according to student training needs.
It was a moving surprise to see at least a dozen Boston Police Officers entering the classroom for our final night of Mentored Ministry. Each student team was presenting a summary and reflections from their field-based project. One of the teams had partnered with a local clergy-police collaboration and the officers came to show their appreciation and hear the team’s recommendations. Our whole class benefitted that night, as walls between the community and the seminary came down. The 21st-century urban pastor will be a person who can build bridges in the community to reach every neighborhood with the healing grace of God.
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