"Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." - 2 Timothy 1:13, 14 (ESV)
As part of the first course in practical theology at Westminster, all Pastoral and General Master of Divinity students are required to complete a Ministry Preparation Contract in which they commit themselves to involvement:
- in a local church,
- the completion of mentored ministry assignments,
- and the pursuit of personal growth in grace.
- Rev. Dr. Timothy Z. Witmer, Director of Mentored Ministry
Pastor of 27 years - western PA
“I have just finished reading from the web all the Mentored Ministry information that you have posted…I need to repent. The impression that I have always held about WTS is that it was a place of outstanding academics, but it was weak in the practical aspects of ministry preparation. You have proved me seriously wrong, and I apologize for such an unfair caricature. In fact, after studying (similar institutions), you have the most comprehensive program of all. I was especially blessed to see you reference Sonship, Evangelism Explosion, and short-term mission involvement as all three of these have been major components of our ministry (here).”
MDiv - Urban Mission - Philadelphia
“My times at (our church plant’s) leadership meetings have been very helpful as well. They have helped to give me a picture of what church planting looks like a little further down the road – what the issues are, the strengths, the weaknesses, etc. I got to watch the leadership wrestle through different issues, disagree and work towards viable solutions. I was told that two of the most important elements for the leadership are the ability to listen to others and straightforwardness about one’s positions at all times.
“I took many notes during these meetings, learned of a number of different churches in the area that would be supportive of our work, found out about different grants that could be applied for and learned a number of (the church plant’s) different ministry strategies. It was a very helpful time.”
“My experience with the AIDS ministry has enabled me to meet some people and gain some experience in loving and caring for the sick and the outcasts. This ministry has only been a small time commitment this summer, but for the hours put in, it has helped me – and has introduced me to some wonderful HIV+ saints. I would still like to serve more in this capacity in the future.”
Pastoral mentor’s observation: “(The pastoral intern) is very accountable and responsible for his assignments. Within that he is able to build relationships, seems to enjoy people, and can fit in cross-cultural situations. He has been working in a small group leading other interns in matters of understanding of church planting context. Spiritually he has provided others with helpful challenges for growth. He works well with theory and is learning how to put it into practice. Both areas of stress and criticism are matters of learning for (him) and at the present time he handles them well. He realizes his spiritual lack and is willing to set aside time as a priority His walk with the Lord. In my presence he has been very sensitive and yet forceful in carrying out objectives of meetings and ministry.”
MDiv - Pastoral - Europe
“I definitely gained more experience in preaching. I basically had to preach/teach once/week over 6 weeks. It was good for me to have to preach to people outside of the academic realm. I got more experience of leading and being up front, but need to keep working at that; I particularly found leading the prayer meetings a little hard.
“I got an insight into more of the minister’s work and what is involved on a day-to-day basis; I went on a few pastoral visits. Sitting in on elder’s meetings helped me see more of the pastoral dimension of the work. Lastly, I read the books I’d planned to on baptism, and have been made to think more specifically about the subject…”
Pastoral mentor’s observation: The intern “has applied himself in the pursuit of all four objectives (communicate effectively through preaching; grow in confidence at leading worship; understand my pastor’s strategy for leading the Church; study baptism) agreed in the contract…his preaching has improved measurably since this time last year…he is gaining confidence in leading worship and has discussed my strategy for ministry with reception and enthusiasm and has addressed the issue of baptism.”
“He has been conscientious in all areas and has proved reliable in all areas of responsibility entrusted to him. As an eldership, we are most encouraged by his progress so far. He obviously still has room for improvement – mostly in the need to gain confidence and forthrightness as he leads from the front and gains pulpit experience.”
Counseling Major - DE
“This semester I was blessed with a variety of learning and ministry opportunities: I prepared and delivered a speech at a woman’s conference on depression; I continued seeing both my single mom counselee and for awhile my married couple; I participated with my pastor in pre-marital counseling; I analyzed and used the prepare/enrich Premarital Survey twice; and I did grief counseling with five year-olds as well as Jr. High School students.”
Pastoral mentor’s observation: My witness of this WTS Counseling Major’s “…commitment to Scripture during her counseling appointments is definitely a strength for her ministry. During our review of her sessions, she gave ample evidence of her attempt to apply biblical truths to the challenges she addressed during her appointments.
“(She) has also given evidence that she is implementing the principles, skills and truths learned in Seminary in ministry (as an intern). I have seen growth as (she) learned not to invest an inordinate amount of time dwelling on what did, and did not happen during her counseling sessions. I also believe she is learning how to set boundaries to protect her personal and family time.”
Counseling Major - PA
“Strengths: I get along really well with teenagers because I remember what it was like to be a teen and the pressures that came with it. I have a good knowledge of pop culture, what’s going on in 2005 and have thought a lot about how the Gospel interacts with this culture.
“Weaknesses: I struggle with preparing or planning for counseling sessions. Whenever I have a “plan”, it seems to backfire and my best sessions are when I’m spontaneous.”
Pastoral mentor’s observation: “I should have been more ‘directive’ with her planning of sessions, but the timing of her counselee’s availabilities did not mesh well with my own. But she has tremendous instincts.
“(Her) work habits are excellent. She is on time, professional, but with an easy warmth which is good for a counselor. Anyone who knows her can recognize her relationship skills. She has easily met my job description expectations…(she) is a delight to supervise, but she is a self-starter.
“Because specific classes were ongoing, she was always looking to integrate theory and practice. I suspect this was quite stressful for (her) at times, but she is resilient and trusts that the Spirit will lead her through trials. As we pray together, I would say her walk with Christ is good. She is a sensitive counselor who will grow in forcefulness.”