Changes in the Master of Divinity degree program at Calvin Theological Seminary will make it possible for students to complete the degree in three years.
“Formation for Ministry” (FFM) is the central organizing principle of the seminary’s M.Div. degree. FFM groups, made up of seven or eight students, meet weekly with a faculty adviser to integrate spiritual growth, theological studies, and pastoral skills development.
Over the course of their education, seminarians explore their sense of pastoral call, investigate their personality strengths and growth areas, discover ways to nurture their spiritual lives, and explore the practical skills that make ministry effective. They also reflect on their involvement in ministry in local churches by bringing case studies to the group for discussion.
The seminary’s formation emphasis will focus on the key role of mentors, local church involvement throughout seminary studies, short but intensive cross-cultural ministry experiences, and summer internships in congregational settings. Yearlong internships will still be available to students but are not required in the new program.
Sixty M.Div. students began the new program this fall, a sharp increase in enrollment over previous years. The program is still “under construction” and will be fine-tuned at the end of this first year of operation.
About the Author
Duane Kelderman is interim pastor at Faith Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. He is a convener of the realignment project described in this article.