True preparation for ministry cannot solely take place inside the classroom. With this in mind, most bachelor degree options include at least two hours in an internship or field experience. These degrees include (BA/Psychology Specialization and BBM are the exceptions):
- Bachelor of Theology
- Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry
- Bachelor or Music Ministry
- Bachelor of Music and Worship
- Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Ministry
- Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Intercultural Studies
Students should consult with their academic adviser or the Ministry Center Director and view the appropriate degree check sheets to see how internship hours beyond the minimum are recorded. Additional internship credits are usually counted toward a student's electives. However, in some cases they may replace required classes.
Credit Information and Lengths of Internships
Internship credits are given on the basis of 2-hour internship courses. A full-time summer intern (40 hours/week) or a part-time semester (20-40 hours/week) intern would take a single two-hour course.
For example: A student wants to do a summer youth internship, and so takes Student Ministry Internship I. Later, he decides to do a semester-long full-time internship at another church, so he takes Student Ministry Internship II and III concurrently.
Or, the same student decides, after doing a summer youth internship, to do a 6-month (Summer + Fall semester) internship on the mission field. He would then take Student Ministry Internship I during the summer and Missions Internship I and II during the Fall semester.
Note: All summer internships are registered and paid for as though they were a Fall semester course. Students will receive the grade for that internship at the end of the Fall semester.
An Alternative to an Internship: Directed Field Experience
Students who are in a paid part-time/full-time ministry position may find it difficult to fulfill internship requirements. “Directed Field Experience” may be an alternative to meeting a degree’s Internship requirements. A Directed Field Experience can include weekend ministries or other weekly positions in churches, para-church groups or ministry-related organizations. Students enroll in this 1-credit course each semester for two semesters.
Students involved in a Directed Field Experience course meet weekly, as a group, with their assigned course teacher.
Note: Some degree programs may not allow Directed Field Experience credits to be substituted for internship requirements. Check with your academic advisor before registering.
Communication and Deadlines
The college does not assign interns to sites. It is up to the intern to make contact with a local congregation or ministry to arrange for an internship and have it approved by the Director of Internships. The Internship Assistant, the Director of Internships, and faculty supervisors will assist with paperwork, syllabi, and due dates. However, it is the ultimate responsibility of the intern to confirm that all paperwork, evaluations, assignments, and forms have been submitted on time. Since the intern is the one receiving the permanent grade, it is in the intern’s best interest to communicate closely with these people before, during, and after the internship to confirm that all forms and evaluations are submitted on time.
Academic Probation or Suspension
A student on Academic Probation CAN participate in a for-credit internship. The approved site and site mentor must be notified of the student’s academic status in this case. However, a student on Academic Suspension CANNOT participate in a for-credit internship and cannot apply for credit for any internship done during the Academic Suspension period. A student and an approved site, however, may decide to continue with a non-credit internship during this period.
If a portion of the internship is to be completed before or after the academic suspension period, credit might be given if the internship was approved and all other conditions met. If a student has already started an internship and is then notified that he/she is on Academic Suspension, this may result in the internship not qualifying for credit. Even if the internship is approved to continue, he/she will not be able to enroll for credit for that internship until after the suspension period ends.
Disciplinary Probation or Suspension
A student on Disciplinary Probation CAN participate in a for-credit internship. The approved site and site mentor must be notified of the student’s status in this case. A student on Disciplinary Suspension CANNOT participate in a for-credit internship and cannot apply for credit for any internship done during the suspension period. A student and approved site may decide to continue a non-credit internship during this period. If a portion of the internship is to be completed before or after the suspension period, credit may be given if the internship was approved to continue and all other conditions met.
If an internship ends prematurely, credit may still be possible. If the internship is full-time, but ends before 10 weeks, credit will not be granted, regardless of the reason of the early termination. If a student serving in a longer internship goes beyond 10 weeks but does not complete the original expected term, then the student may petition the Ministry Center Director for partial credit. A decision regarding credit (and a grade) will be based on several or all of the following:
- Length of time completed and length of time expected
- Nature of internship (full-time, part-time, missions, overseas, preaching, etc.)
- Approved site and site mentor evaluations/assessment of termination situation
- Situation and reasons for termination, regardless of who initiated the termination (firing, conflicts, insubordination, family situation, immorality, frustration, quit, ill, etc.)
- Amount of minimum internship requirements that were met by the student before termination (completion of Google docs evaluations/reflections, reading required books, finishing reports, etc.)
- Consultation with the Ministry Center Director and Academic Dean
If a change in leadership occurs at a site or with a mentor, the internship might be allowed to continue. In this case, the intern should notify the Ministry Center Director immediately in order to change the necessary contact information and adapt the Serving and Learning Covenant. A co-mentor may be assigned at the same site or from a neighboring site. Alternate mentors must qualify under the current internship standards.
If any student is away from campus and not enrolled for one semester, that student must complete a Re-Activation Form through the Admissions Department to return the following semester. This includes students on official internships who choose not to enroll in the course credit for that Internship until they return. An on-line form for re-activation is located on the Admissions page at www.OCC.edu.
This may also occur when a student serves on a one-year internship, but does not need to enroll for all the credits possible. Even though that student is an official intern, he/she is not considered officially enrolled. These scenarios require Re-Activation. The normal fee for this Reactivation Form will be waived if the student was serving on an approved Academic Mentored Internship during the non-enrolled semester.
The Ministry Center Director encourages students in these situations to attempt to enroll for at least one internship course (2 credits) for each semester they are away from campus. An alternative is to enroll in a distance learning course or weekend seminar while away. This will prevent the student from being required to complete a Re-Activation Form. This will also allow the student to be notified about (and receive top priority for) Residence Hall housing.
If a student is not officially enrolled in any courses for one full year (two consecutive semesters), that student must completely re-apply for admission to Ozark Christian College. This applies to any student serving on an approved internship, but who does not enroll in an Internship Course. Please contact the Admissions Department for more details.
The Ministry Center Director encourages students to enroll for one internship course each semester or to take a distance learning course while away. This will prevent the student from being required to completely re-enroll. This will also allow the student to be notified about (and receive top priority for) Residence Hall housing.
Financial Aid, Loans, Scholarships and Insurance
Internships may affect financial aid, loan repayment, scholarships, and Insurance since a certain number of minimum hours are usually required for students to be considered full-time or part-time. Falling below a certain standard may jeopardize the benefits of any of the above categories or cause student loans to become due. It is the student’s responsibility to check their financial aid packages, scholarship, and student loan documents. Students should check to see if their insurance coverage on a parent’s policy is affected by student enrollment hours.
To avoid any of the above disadvantages while on an internship, a student may want to enroll for multiple courses in order to be considered at least part-time. For example, during a one-semester internship, a student could qualify for up to two internship courses (4 credits) and also take an OCC Distance Learning course (3 credits). This situation might qualify the student as part-time for many financial aid, scholarship, and student loan standards. If a request is made by the student, the Registrar can write a letter to an insurance company notifying them that the student is not enrolled full-time due to official college degree requirements for internships. It is up to the individual company whether or not to adjust coverage in this situation. Please contact the Financial Aid Office, the Admissions Department, or the Office of the Registrar for assistance.
By entering into an Internship, students agree to consent that information and subsequent files, papers, forms, or issues can be shared or summarized with appropriate persons involved before, during, or after the Internship. This may include, but is not limited to the Ministry Center Director, Assistant, the Academic Dean, ministers, mentors, elders, college employees, faculty, academic advisors and faculty supervisors. This is necessary for grading, conflict resolution, arbitration, and debriefing. All parties should strive to see that confidentiality guidelines are met, brotherly love is used, and that biblical models are upheld.
Even though the intern may be serving in a church or mission setting hundreds of miles away from the campus of OCC, he/she is still a representative of the college. Therefore, the college’s standard of integrity and Christ-likeness that are outlined in the Student Handbook must still be followed. Interns should consider themselves off-campus students for the length of the internship with regard to the Student Handbook. Students who disobey this standard should expect the same level of discipline as if they were on-campus students.
If staying with a host family, the intern should respect the property and practices of the host family. Guidelines concerning proper behavior, food, use of property, and curfews with the host family should be made clear at the beginning of the internship.
The intern will be asked to reflect on and evaluate his/her experience throughout the first internship term (either summer or semester). For each subsequent term spent at that particular internship, the intern will be asked to provide goals and areas of growth to work on for that term. At the end of that term, then, the intern will reflect on whether or not those goals were achieved through their Reflective Essay.
Books and Training
The mentor may require books for the intern to read and discuss beyond the ones required in the course syllabus. With the course teacher’s permission, such books can replace those required. Books should be relevant to the internship’s focus and planned area of ministry.
Additional training opportunities are encouraged for the Intern. Accompanying staff to conferences or seminars would be helpful to the overall experience. Many ministries conduct their own training for staff, future elders, volunteers, and ministry leaders, and exposure to these programs would be valuable as well. In addition, churches with a more developed internship program will often have developed their own course of training.