Communities of Learning are collaborative, ecumenical, and geographical cohorts of students and ministry leaders committed to connecting congregations with their communities. Through this program, residential M.Div. students participating in field education placements in the same geographical area meet together with ministry and nonprofit leaders to collaborate on strengthening their communities.

Communities of Learning affirm what we already know: that churches do not exist in a vacuum; they exist inside a larger context, a community of stakeholders who share a vested interest in the community’s flourishing.  The Communities of Learning model for field education forms ministerial leaders with the competencies, leadership skills, and missional imagination to impact a community through churches and nonprofits, while contributing to systemic change, community development, and serving others.

Connecting Congregations to Communities

Through Communities of Learning we are:

  • utilizing the rural church as a teaching and learning context for student interns
  • cross-pollinating and collaborating among community stakeholders for strengthened relationships and sustained engagement
  • forming leaders who can lead both inside the church and within a community
  • fostering excitement and theological imagination about the pastoral vocation in both students and current practitioners
  • including faculty and staff partners in each cohort, bringing the classroom to the field and creating a feedback loop to the classroom
  • practicing building community through conversations  

General Guidelines

Students participate in Communities of Learning in fulfillment of the field education requirements of the M.Div. degree. Communities of Learning take place in both the summer and academic year placement periods in a variety of contexts. Ministry leaders who are interested in participating in a community of learning are encouraged to contact the Office of Field Education.