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Field Education Practice


Many wheels have been re-invented in developing field education programs.

Programs, at their best, reflect the particular ministry context, theological grid, and operational theology of the organization providing STFE.

These resources are offered to help smooth a path for establishing field education. This does not imply permission to ‘cut and paste’ one model of field education practice into another context. This is not just under-professional – it misses the opportunity to identify and express the particular strengths of one’s own context for theology and ministry.

ANZATFE - Recommended Standards and Best Practice for Theological Field Education Programs 

Handbook examples:


Useful books for undergraduate level:

  • Hillman, George. Ministry Greenhouse: Cultivating Environments for Practical Learning. Herndon: Alban, 2008.
    A highly readable book for both students and lecturers with an excellent chapter on setting learning objectives (growth goals), one on theological reflection and receiving feedback


  • Hillman, George. Ed. Preparing for Ministry: A Practical Guide to Theological Field Education,  Grand Rapids: Kregal, 2008.
    A highly practical book aimed at developing and resourcing Mentors/supervisors. Includes a number of special chapters on key subjects e.g., working with women, working with International students, The impact of Marriage and Family.


  • Floding, Matthew. Ed. Welcome to Theological Field Education. Herndon: Alban, 2011.
    The language of this book suggests it is to be read by students but it is also useful for Field educators. Covers key formational areas e.g., Theological reflection, supervision, understanding context, self-care and ethics.


  • Nash, Sally and Paul Nash. Tools for Reflective Ministry. London: SPCK, 2009.

  • Nash, Sally, Jo Pimlott and Paul Nash. Skills for Collaborative Ministry. London: SPCK, 2011.
    Both are excellent resource books useful for both students and educators. Each chapter begins with a topic overview then explores ideas &/or offers tools/ activities to enhance development.


  • Perman, Matt. What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.
    Entry level book useful for working on time management.


  • Webb, Keith. E. The Coach Model for Christian Leaders. Active Results LLC, 2014.
    The resource book for a full training programme available in NZ by qualified Coaches. The model assists mentors and supervisors in drawing out interns/practitioners (thus enriching conversation) by helping them to ask good questions rather than providing answers. 

Theological Reflection


A reflective practice of ministry can ‘bear fruit’ in various ways.

  • It can lead us towards greater clarity about both our expressed and our operationaltheology, and to resonance and dissonance between them.

  • It can help us attend to the experience of self and other with greater clarity.

  • It can help us express and enact a renewed operational theology that keeps of forming with new insight.


These papers reflect some of these interests, and the way they are explored in ministry contexts:

“The Road to Zagreb – A theologically-reflective study in formation for pastoral care”
Mrs Fran James. RN(Div. 1) RM B.Min. Dip.Th.(Miss) M.Min.(cand.)
at (1.6Mb .pdf file)

“The Role of Personal Experience in Theological Reflection” Rev. Gordon Wild M. Theol (cand.) B.Theol, Adv. Dip. Min., Dip. YthWk.

Current Research Projects

ANZATFE strongly encourages graduate and post-graduate research into Field Education.

Current research work revolves around two connected fields:
- Theological frameworks of field education, and
- Qualitative research into the affect of field education in ministry formation.

Accreditation of Programs

Members of ANZATFE come from a wide range of denominational and theological backgrounds.
They join together in a common concern for ministry formation through reflection on experience.


Protocol for Membership

The Field Education Program is one component of the total process of formation for ministry. A
Field Education Program is understood to be a process that a student enters into to gain field
experience in a ministry setting that includes education, ministry experience, personal and pastoral
identity, theological reflection and supervision.

A Theological Field Education Program may be a single unit, a component of a theological college
program or a specific process designed for formation of people for ministry. For example INSTEP,
Supervised Urban Ministry Program, formal SFE programs in colleges that have a denominational
focus and those that are denominationally programmed.

It is understood that one or more elements of some programs will include units taught towards the
granting of a particular award.


The Goals of Field Education include:

- Personal development and self-awareness.
- Ministry competence and the development of skills for ministry.
- Theological understanding through theological reflection.
- Christian commitment and denominational identity.
- Reflection on the personal, and communal spirituality.
- Opportunities for practical ministry experience.

Applications for accreditation of Theological Field Eduction Programs will be received from
member bodies of the Victorian Association for Theological Field Education. The body seeking
accreditation will also indicate the level of accreditation being sought. The standards that follow will
be used to evaluate programs according the level of accreditation being searched (certificate,
diploma, degree).

Programs therefore may not reflect all of the following statements, however programs shall be
expected to address or describe their programs in terms of the following major headings.

Individual bodies may also have more than one program accredited. This may be due to the specific
nature of the program or the level of accreditation being sought.

It also is recognised that the Director of each program is responsible for accrediting supervisors
within the program of that institution. It is expected that programs will plan and implement their own
training for supervisors.


Accreditation of programs

VATFE is an association of institutions and individual members involved in supervision for ministry. Member institutions may request a review by VATFE for the purposes of accreditation of their supervision programs. Accreditation is possible at three levels:

  1. internal accreditation in which the institution offers its own certificates, but according to standards recommended by VATFE.

  2. accreditation for Diploma level programs.

  3. accreditation for degree level programs.

The Melbourne College of Divinity (MCD) have decreed that all programs approved by them for diploma or degree awards must be accredited through VATFE.

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