Academics

Information for Congregations

DCE Fieldwork

Through its fieldwork program, the CUC DCE Program partners with congregations in the Chicago area to provide DCE students with valuable, practical experience they can readily connect to their classroom learning. In addition, DCE fieldwork students also provide support to the educational ministries of local congregations. All fieldwork assignments are made by the DCE Program Director.

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 to plan events, presenting children’s messages, playing music in worship services, and many other tasks according to the needs of the congregation and their personal gifts.

If your congregation is located in the Chicago area and you are interested in the potential of forming such a partnership with CUC's DCE Program, consider applying for a DCE fieldworker.

Download the application for the Fieldwork Program today!

DCE Internship

Each year, the CUC DCE Program places 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 a congregation's pastor(s), 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. Internship is intended to enable the intern to experience the ministry rhythm of the congregation and to grow in his or her leadership abilities and ministry skills. Beside leading Christian education, some interns use their gifts in other ministry 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: $175

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?
A CUC DCE 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 grows in his/her relationship with the congregation, and as the intern experiences success and satisfaction, it is expected that he/she will begin 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 providing direction and leading a youth program, training youth counselors, planning retreats, directing a children's choir, presenting a children's message, helping to organize a VBS program, recruiting and supporting volunteer teachers, 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 experiences a DCE 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. First, daily on-site congregational supervision of the intern is the responsibility of the congregation's pastor, DCE, or another staff person who has been asked to oversee the intern's work and who has been approved by CUC's DCE Program Director. Second, CUC DCE Program supervision will normally include two on-site visits during the year, two conferences on Concordia's campus, and regular phone calls. This supervision is done by one of the CUC DCE Program Directors or a designated DCE from the field.

8. How much of your staff supervisor's time will this take?
The congregational 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. Neither the Board nor any of its members should 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

In addition to these three forms, the congregation must write and provide the CUC DCE Program with a DCE Intern Job Description detailing the role the congregation intends for the student, which must be approved by the DCE Program Director. These four documents are to be submitted with a $175 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 CUC’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 CUC's DCE Program Director of interest in having an intern by January 1.
  2. Complete the application forms no later than February 1 (October 1 for January placements)

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. Once all pre-assignment site visits are conducted, congregations will be notified whether or not they will receive an intern by early April. If a congregation is assigned an intern, the congregational supervisor will be expected to attend the orientation meeting at Concordia University Chicago in late April.