Student Pastor Denominational Partners
The seminary works closely with United Methodist conference cabinets and denominational authorities to place student pastors. These cabinets select the parishes, appoint the students, and help to locate clergy learning partners to work with the student, the church, and the seminary. Housing and salary usually are included in the appointment. A working covenant describes the responsibilities between the cabinet, the local church, the seminary, the mentor pastor and the student pastor.
Student Pastors each have two “learning partners” to journey with them in learning and ministry—a lay learning partner and a clergy learning partner—who are nominated by the Student Pastor and approved by the seminary.
1. Clergy learning partners can be any person who is fully ordained in any denomination and who has the educational equivalent of an M.Div. The person does not have to be either the Student Pastor’s district superintendent or candidacy mentor. The person does not even have to be of the same denomination as the Student Pastor. The person can be a retired member of the clergy or a neighboring pastor. It is usually best, though, if the clergy learning partner is not currently in a year of professional transition for himself or herself.
2. Lay learning partners can be any lay member of the Student Pastor’s congregation. The lay learning partner does not need to hold any other particular office in the church. Neither the lay learning partner nor the clergy learning partner, though, should be a member of the Student Pastor’s immediate family.
Whether lay or clergy, these learning partners have the same four responsibilities toward the Student Pastor:
- to participate in an orientation at the seminary for team-building,
- to help the Student Pastor establish learning goals for ministry,
- to participate together at least monthly in theological reflection about ministry, and
- to engage in an end-of-year process of evaluation.
Because of the necessary coordination with cabinets, the student must apply to Wesley no later than February; student pastorates begin July 1. Prior to July 1, United Methodist students must have begun the process for ordained ministry in their own conference, obtained certified candidacy, and attended licensing school. Students in other denominations must have the qualifying ministerial credentials required by their denominations.
Prospective students who think they might qualify for SPP should contact our SPP team at SPP@wesleyseminary.edu.
If you are already an SPP student, please contact your academic advisor Dr. Bush (firstname.lastname@example.org).