The philosophy of the field education programme is to allow students not only to experience varied field ministries and exposures in a supervised environment but also to have time for personal spiritual formation, integration, and reflection. With the aid of objective evaluation and feedback, as well as seeing ministry modelled by their supervisors, the students are able to integrate classroom knowledge into practical ministry experience. The field experience in turn builds a greater motivation and hunger for further instruction and training.
The field education programme, including classes in evangelism and discipleship, is designed to equip students to become a Reproducer (one who can witness and disciple another to do likewise), a Multiplier (one who can disciple others and train more to do likewise), and an Influencer (one who can use their God-given gifts and talents to influence others positively in Christ).
Field education comprises three main components:
- Field practicum;
- Formation, Integration, Reflection, and Ministry (F.I.R.M.) classes;
- Cross-Cultural internship/Vocational internship.
1. Field practicum
All students, except first year students, are expected to spend about 8 hours per week in field practicum in churches or mission agencies. This time should be devoted to ministry, both to Christians and non-Christians. As such, students may expect some adjustments to their present church/ministry responsibilities in order to fulfil field practicum requirements.
Field practicum will be under the direct supervision of a field supervisor from the participating church/mission agency. However, the overall direction and leadership will be provided by the Field Education Director at EAST.
2. F.I.R.M. classes
In line with EAST’s desire to provide integration, application, and personal development in its programmes, all students are required to participate in the Formation, Integration, Reflection, and Ministry (F.I.R.M.) classes while undergoing their field practicum. As the name suggests, F.I.R.M. seeks to complement the spiritual and field direction given by the field supervisors as well as the theological integration and reflection offered by the spiritual supervisors in the school. It allows students to deliberately and temporarily disengage from all academic studies and ministry involvements in order to reflect on their personal growth and walk with God. Ultimately, through F.I.R.M., EAST hopes not just to produce good ministers and academicians but well integrated disciples of Christ.
Cross-cultural internship takes place during any of the vacation breaks in the student’s study. Students spend at least four weeks in a cross-cultural or multicultural setting working primarily in (but not limited to) evangelism and discipleship. The internship is intended to help the student gain a heart and personal vision for missions, provide exposure to and experience in living and ministering in a cross-cultural context so that the student will consider serving God in a cross-cultural ministry.
Vocational internship is a requirement for all Master of Arts programme at EAST. It takes place during any of the vacation breaks in the student’s study. Students spend at least four weeks1 working under the supervision of a professional Christian worker for the particular vocational emphasis that the student is pursuing. For example, students who are in the Biblical Studies track may use the internship to develop a special biblical study project under the supervision of a Bible scholar or teacher. Vocational internship may be done locally or overseas in a cross-cultural environment.
1 The exception being the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counselling which vocational internship requirement is 8-10 weeks.