Theological Field Education FAQ

What is Theological Field Education (TFE)?

Theological Field Education is the name of our supervised ministry program. You will serve under an experienced minister who can offer valuable feedback and insights, allowing you to be better equipped for ministry in the future.

Why do I have to take TFE?

Every accredited seminary is required to have a field education program with students ministering under the oversight of field supervisors/mentors. Therefore, every student who graduates from Gateway Seminary must take TFE.

Since all students must take TFE, are there any exceptions to this requirement?

The only exception is for students in the Master of Theological Studies program. MTS students may choose to complete TFE, complete two of three courses approved for substitution.

What are the courses approved to substitute for TFE?

Courses approved as course substitutions for TFE include: I2361-I2362 Church Planting Internship and P2553 Clinical Pastoral Education.

When should I take TFE?

TFE may be taken after you have completed P1111 Foundations for Ministry (check the current Academic Catalog). TFE is only offered in a fall-spring sequence and is typically taken during your second year of study.

What is the application deadline?

May 15 is the deadline for applying to TFE for the following fall semester.

When I start looking for a place to serve, what should I keep in mind?

Your TFE ministry setting should match your passion for ministry and where you see God leading you to minister in the future. In other words, it should be a place that helps you gain the ministry skills that you will need in the future.

How many hours per week must I serve in my ministry setting?

TFE is offered for variable credit, which determines the minimum number of required ministry hours per week. Requested credit hours must be contracted and specified in the TFE application prior to the fall semester. You may request an increase or decrease in credit hours per semester prior to the start of the spring semester. Once a semester has started, the credit hours for that semester cannot be changed.

The variable credit is as follows with the minimum being 2 hours:
2 hours per semester: 10+ hours of ministry per week, 6 of which are face-to-face with people
(2 hours per semester meets the TFE requirement for all degrees.)
3 hours per semester: 20+ hours of ministry per week, 13 of which are face-to-face with people
4 hours per semester: 30+ hours of ministry per week, 20 of which are face-to-face with people

What is the Covenant of Learning?

The Covenant of Learning is a contract that outlines your ministry responsibilities including:
• Basic description of your ministry and setting
• The specific hours you will serve
• Your specific responsibilities in this ministry
• Self-created learning/growth goals you wish to achieve in TFE

What is the 360-degree feedback team?

The 360-degree feedback team provides constructive feedback and guidance to the student during the ministry practicum and consists of:
• Peer Reflection Group & Leader: Your Gateway Seminary professor and your on-campus or online class.
• Field Mentor: Your ministry supervisor who meets specific qualifications, has been enlisted and identified on the TFE application, and has received the required field mentor training.
• Spiritual Formation Mentor: Provides spiritual guidance during your ministry practicum, has been enlisted and identified on the TFE application.
• Ministry Reflection Group: A group of ministry recipients and/or ministry partners enlisted after your TFE class begins.

See the TFE Handbook for a more detailed description of each role.

What is the role of my Field Mentor?

Your Field Mentor will be your supervisor during your ministry practicum. You will meet with them weekly for a minimum of one hour. They will hold you accountable and provide guidance and encouragement as you serve in your ministry setting and pursue your covenant goals.

Why does my Field Mentor need to go through the TFE training?

Your Field Mentor must understand our philosophy of supervision at Gateway Seminary, the unique features of our TFE program and our commitment to the ministry of supervision. Our training helps Field Mentors better understand how the program works, the role they play in it and how they can best fulfill their role in developing students as future ministry leaders.

What is the role of my Spiritual Formation Mentor?

Our experience indicates that Field Mentors tend to focus on ministry skill formation while Spiritual Formation Mentors focus on how you are growing spiritually during your TFE experience. These two mentor positions are designed to complement one another.

What is the role of my Ministry Reflection Group?

Once class begins, you will enlist a group of 4-5 ministry colleagues or ministry recipients. This group will meet with you at periodic times during the two semesters to provide reflection back on your performance in the ministry setting.