Academics

Information for Congregations

DCE Fieldworkers

Through its fieldwork program, Concordia Chicago partners with local congregations  to provide valuable, practical experience for our students while offering support to the educational ministries of local Lutheran congregations. DCE fieldworkers typically spend 4-6 hours per week working in their assigned churches. They assist in the churches’ educational programs by leading Bible studies, helping plan events, giving children’s messages, playing music in worship services, and many other tasks according to the needs of the congregation and their personal gifts.

If you are a local congregation interested in such a partnership, consider applying for a DCE fieldworker.

Download the application for the Fieldwork Program today!

DCE INTERNSHIP

Each year, we place interns in congregations all over the country. The DCE internship is a 12-month experience in the student’s final year, during which he or she works closely with the parish staff, boards and various age groups. The focus of the intern’s preparation is experiencing as many facets of parish ministry as possible, especially in the area of Christian education and in other areas such as youth, music, small group, or family ministry.

If you are a pastor, DCE, or congregational leader looking for year-long, full-time relationship with one of our DCEs-in-training, consider applying for a DCE intern.

To apply for a DCE Intern, the following forms must be completed and returned by the congregation:

  1. Internship Application
  2. Congregational Agreement
  3. Intern Financial Agreement
  4. A written Intern Job Description
  5. The Internship Application Fee: $150

Frequently Asked Questions about our Internship Program.

1. What does Concordia University Chicago hope will happen on the internship?
2. When does the internship begin?
3. What is the status of the intern?
4. How much responsibility should the intern actually have?
5. What is the intern prepared to do?
6. What kind of experience should the intern have?
7. How is the intern supervised?
8. How much of your staff supervisor's time will this take?
9. What is the role of the Board of Education/Youth in the internship?
10. What kind of congregation will be considered for an intern assignment?
11. Is the congregation responsible for any application forms?
12. Who do I contact if I have questions regarding the DCE internship program?
13. How do we convey our interest in having an intern?
14. When will we hear regarding our eligibility for an intern?

1. What does Concordia University Chicago hope will happen on the internship?
The university hopes that the parish staff, congregational members, and the intern will mutually benefit from one another. The congregation will benefit as it receives support in vital areas of its ministry, and the intern will benefit as he/she: 1) attempts to clarify his/her vocational goals; 2) experiences parish ministry firsthand; 3) demonstrates her/his potential for DCE ministry; and 4) develops an effective style of working with God's people.

2. When does the internship begin?
An internship usually begins between June 1 and August 15, though we occasionally have students who start in January.

3. What is the status of the intern?
The intern is still a full-time student as well as a professional-in-training. As such, he/she is expected to conduct him/herself in a professional manner and in so doing earn the love and respect of the congregation.

4. How much responsibility should the intern actually have?
It is important to remember that the intern is still a student and so may not fully realize how much responsibility he/she can handle. As a result, a gradual involvement with major congregational responsibility is suggested. (For example, asking the student to lead a teacher training program in the first six weeks would not be suggested.) As the intern experiences success and satisfaction, it is expected that he/she will be able to assume more responsibility.

5. What is the intern prepared to do?
Each intern has unique abilities and interests that he/she brings to this year of learning. Depending upon his/her unique capabilities, an intern's skills might include the following: providing direction for a youth program, training youth counselors, planning retreats, directing a children's choir, conducting a children's message, helping organize a VBS program, recruiting and supporting teaching personnel, teaching a variety of age groups, and assisting boards to function effectively.

6. What kind of experience should the intern have?
There are three basic kinds of experience that an intern should have:

  • to learn to work with a variety of age groups within a congregation;
  • to have the opportunity to experience the joys and challenges of leading a variety of events, activities, and groups;
  • to experience team ministry with a church staff as well as volunteers.

7. How is the intern supervised?
Two kinds of supervision take place: daily on-site supervision of the intern is the responsibility of the pastor, Director of Christian Education, or other staff person who has been asked to oversee the intern's work. University supervision will normally include two on-site visits over the year, two conferences on Concordia's campus, and regular phone calls. This supervision is done by a member of the Concordia University faculty or a designated DCE from the field.

8. How much of your staff supervisor's time will this take?
The supervisor is expected to provide systematic counsel, support, and direction to the intern. Initially, this may take 4–5 hours a week. As the intern and supervisor grow in their capacity to work together, it would be expected that they spend whatever time is needed to enable the intern to carry out his/her responsibilities.

9. What is the role of the Board of Education/Youth in the internship?
Each congregation may have different expectations regarding the relationship between the intern and the Board of Education/Youth. Normally, the Board works very closely with the intern and provides him/her additional support and direction. The hope is that the intern and Board also become a ministry team, working together to effectively implement the congregation's education and youth ministries. The Board is not to serve as the supervisor of the intern's work.

10. What kind of congregation will be considered for an intern assignment?
A congregation in which its professional staff is willing to do the following:

  1. enter into a significant working relationship with the intern;
  2. make themselves available for mutual planning, sharing, and problem solving;
  3. exercise patience and understanding in setting an appropriate level of expectations;
  4. share the congregational ministry as the intern develops competencies;
  5. regularly edify one another through mutual prayer, conversation, and study.

In addition, the congregation is willing to do the following:

  1. affirm the presence and efforts of a professional-in-training;
  2. provide structures that will encourage and accept the development of new ministry programs;
  3. financially support the internship program.

11. Is the congregation responsible for any application forms?
The congregation is requested to complete three forms when applying for a student intern:

  1. Congregational Application for a Student Intern
  2. Intern Financial Agreement
  3. Congregational Agreement

Additionally, the congregation is asked to write and provide Concordia University with a DCE Intern Job Description detailing the role the congregation intends for the student. These four documents are to be submitted with a $150 Application Fee.

During the internship year, the congregational supervisor completes several evaluation forms. The appropriate forms for the various evaluations will be supplied by the university.

12. Who do I contact if I have questions regarding the DCE internship program?
If there is a question or concern regarding Concordia’s DCE internship program, please call Dr. Debbie Arfsten at (708) 209-3604 or Debra.arfsten@cuchicago.edu.

13. How do we convey our interest in having an intern?
The normal process is the following:

  1. Notify the DCE Program Director at Concordia of interest in having an intern by January 1.
  2. Complete the application forms no later than February 1.

14. When will we hear regarding our eligibility for an intern?
The first step in the eligibility process is a pre-assignment site visit conducted by the DCE Program Director or her designee by March 31. A congregation will be notified whether or not it will receive an intern by early April. If a congregation is assigned an intern, its supervisor will be expected to attend the orientation meeting at Concordia University Chicago in late April.