Suggestions for Formation
- The site committee should be formed in the Spring prior to placement.
- The site committee in a teaching church should represent various elements of the congregation: male and female, young and old, liberal and conservative, etc. These persons should be committee members of the church who are involved in its life and worship and mission.
- The site committee in a teaching agency could be established so that (a) the members represent the clientele of the agency, i.e., those who are the recipients of the student’s ministry; or (b) the members represent other staff of the agency who are professionals in their own right, but lay persons in respect to professional ministry; or (c) a combination of (a) and (b).
- The site committee shall not have current a CRCDS student as a member
- The site committee shall be a new committee, rather than a standing committee of the site; that takes on the responsibility of working with a Supervised Ministry Student.
- The site committee should be composed of 4-6 persons.
- The supervisor names a convener. The convener’s duties are:
- To attend an Orientation meeting at CRCDS in the beginning of the Fall Term.
- To notify members and student of meeting times and places;
- To plan each meeting agenda with the student;
- To assure that minutes are recorded at each meeting and that the student is provided with a copy of the minutes;
- To convene and end the meetings on time, and to see that leadership for each meeting is provided;
- To send the required written evaluations of the seminarian to the Supervised Ministry faculty by December 1 and May 1;
The Tasks of the Site Committee
- The site committee shall meet monthly (September through April) for at least one hour with the student. The supervisor should not attend the site committee meetings as a regular practice. The supervisor and site committee convener shall be in close communication during the year and especially within the month prior to each required evaluation of the student’s performance.
- The focus of reflection and discussion is the student’s performance of ministry in a given situation. The special feature of the site committee is to communicate their perspective on the student’s activities, responsibilities, relationship to persons, etc.
- The focused discussion and reflection have a mutual benefit: i.e., that the student does not “lose touch” with their perspective and grows in valuing and respecting the essential input which site members of the teaching site have to make; by the same token, if an important part of professional ministry is mutuality, the student can be helpful in shaping the committee member’s understanding of his/her own ministry.
Suggestions for Structuring the Site Committee/Student Meetings
Hopefully, each member will have opportunities to establish a relationship with the student beyond that of the meetings of the site committee and student. The meeting itself may be informal, but it must have structure to it and a clear agenda. An outline of a meeting might include:
Set Agenda: Convener and student share their plans for the meeting. Other members of the committee are invited to share concerns to be addressed. The agenda is revised, if necessary.
The concerns of both the student and the site committee should be listed. These receive a priority for discussion.
Discuss each concern in turn. For each agenda item:
- Describe the concern, experience, or event clearly and briefly;
- Identify the issue as the student is experiencing it;
- Analyze the issue;
- Generalize from this analysis. What can be learned about ministry? What can the student learn about himself/herself as a minister? What is the theological grounding for this ministry?
Conclude: Each person is invited to share learnings from the meeting and give suggestions for next meeting’s agenda.
3. Whether this precise format is followed is secondary. What is important is that some agenda be followed, minutes are recorded and that there be a movement into those issues that are on the minds of the student and of committee members at some level deep enough to be helpful to the student.
Other Functions of the Site Committee
- Help interpret the student’s role to the site.
- Listen to the concerns of the student, including his/her achievements and frustrations, and then help him/her see these in a realistic perspective.
- Serve as a channel of “feedback” for the student with respect to his/her work in the site agency. Feedback is a way of helping another person to consider changing his/her behavior. It is communication with another, which offers information about how one affects others. It aims to assist another in achieving his/her goals because it focuses on a style of acting and interacting that is appropriate to the goal.
Some criteria for useful feedback:
a. It takes into consideration the needs of both the receiver and the giver of feedback.
b. It is directed toward behavior that the receiver can do something about.
c. It is well timed and is checked to insure clear communication.
d. When feedback is given in a group, both the receiver and giver have the opportunity to check with others the accuracy of the feedback. Is this one impression or an impression shared by many?
e. It is invited, rather than imposed. When the receiver can frame the question well, it opens up the possibility of giving him/her useful answers and observations that directly relate to the issue. Example: “Can you share with me your response to my sermon? Did I speak to your life experience? Relate Scripture clearly?”