Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation & Leadership Curriculum

Designed to be completed in two years, this program is offered primarily online with several onsite residencies and retreats, including a week-long residency in Guatemala. Operating out of a cohort system, the program runs twice a year: one cohort that begins in the fall and another in the spring. Each term (fall and spring) consists of two eight-week online courses with a short break in between. An additional online class occurs during the final summer of the program. Three Intensive Seminars occur during the program. One of these residencies occurs each January a student is in the program. The third occurs in Guatemala during the summer after matriculation.

Course Sequence

Year 1

  • SFL 060   Orientation to Online Learning (0)
  • SFL 600   Introduction to Christian Spirituality (3)
  • SFL 602   Disciplines of the Spirit (3)
  • SFL 673   Special Topic in Christian Spirituality (one week intensive residency) (3)
  • SFL 612   Formational Theology (3)
  • SFL 623   Spiritual Wisdom of the Hebrew Scriptures (3)
  • SFL 671   Social Justice and Christian Spirituality (one week intensive in Guatemala)

Year 2

  • SFL 624   Jesus Christ and New Testament Spirituality (3)
  • SFL 613   The Spirit-Empowered Life (3)
  • SFL 674   Special Topic in Christian Spirituality (one week intensive residency) (3)
  • SFL 637   Introduction to Spiritual Direction (3)
  • SFL 611   Christian Spirituality and Everyday Life (3)
  • SFL 604   History of Christian Spirituality (3)

Course Descriptions

SFL060 Orientation to Online Learning (0)
Satisfactory completion of this course is required prior to taking the first spiritual formation course (SFL600). Students with prior experience in online learning may request a waiver.

SFL600 Introduction to Christian Spirituality (3)
This course explores the biblical and theological aspects of Christian formation. Students examine the goal and nature of formation, as well as the process of holistic spiritual transformation.

SFL602 Disciplines of the Spirit (3)
This course is an exploration into the nature, dynamics and exercise of classic spiritual disciplines. Spiritual disciplines are a significant means by which we connect to God. Emphasis will be upon the practice of various spiritual disciplines such as solitude and silence, listening and guidance, prayer and intercession, study and meditation, repentance and confession, fasting and worship, fellowship and simplicity, service, and witness.

SFL604 History of Christian Spirituality (3)
This course introduces students to the history, traditions and leaders of the Christian church, which grants a richer understanding of what it means to participate in the Body of Christ. Students are exposed to the Patristic, Medieval, Reformation and Enlightenment periods. This course helps students grow into a greater fullness of Christian maturity and gives them a renewed appreciation for the way the church’s past shapes the church’s present and future.

SFL611 Christian Spirituality in Everyday Life (3)
This course assists students in broadening their understanding of spirituality within the Christian tradition and how to connect this understanding to all aspects of their lives. The course goal is intellectual and existential: Students are introduced to a wide variety of literature focused on the sacred actions of God within the ordinary rhythms of everyday life; at the same time, students through a variety of learning experiences are also encouraged to grow spiritually through their own choices of prayer, worship and discipline.

SFL612 Formational Theology (3)
This course is designed to integrate traditional themes in systematic theology with spiritual formation. Emphasis is given to the study of Christology, Pneumatology, Theological Anthropology and Ecclesiology. Experiential components are integrated into the course to help strengthen students’ love for God and neighbor.

SFL613 The Spirit-Empowered Life (3)
This course investigates the biblical, theological, historical and practical foundations of the person and work of the Holy Spirit (pneumatology) and the Spirit-Empowered Life. Specific attention will be given to spiritual renewal movements and spiritual gifts, including the more controversial gifts, especially divine healing of mind, body, will, emotions, spirit and social relationships. Personal experience in inner healing prayer and practical experience in praying for the healing of others will be a part of the essential learning in this course. It will also require a great deal of trust and vulnerability on the student’s part.

SFL623 Spiritual Wisdom in the Hebrew Scriptures (3)
This course explores the dynamics and power of the Hebrew Scriptures for personal and communal transformation. Special emphasis is given to the wisdom literature in the Hebrew Scriptures. A key aspect of this course is the understanding and development of biblical hermeneutical principles and practices that focus not only on the biblical text’s content but also on its potential effect(s) as part of the church’s Scripture. Various classical and contemporary methods of contemplative reading of Scripture are explored. This course teaches students to engage the Hebrew Scriptures in ways that grasp and change a community’s life.

SFL624 Jesus Christ and New Testament Spirituality (3)
This course examines the dynamics and power of the New Testament for personal and communal transformation. Special emphasis is given to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and Paul’s theological reflection on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. In addition to learning about life with God from Scripture, competence in listening to the living Word within the text is gained. This course teaches students to engage the New Testament in ways that grasp and change a community’s life.

SFL637 Introduction to Spiritual Direction (3)
This is an introductory course that explores the ministry of Christian spiritual direction. Various traditional and contemporary models and practices of spiritual direction are surveyed, including roles of both spiritual directors and directees. Particular attention is given to practices that equip spiritual helpers to come alongside others in their spiritual growth, including listening and discernment.

SFL671 Social Justice and Christian Spirituality (one week intensive in Guatemala)
This course explores the connection between being formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ and being involved in intentional justice work. Specific focus is on personal and communal formation in relation to those who Jesus called “the least of these.” This course is taught in an intensive face-to-face format in Antigua, Guatemala, where students experience the serious needs for Biblical justice in the world, in the context of Latin America. Residency at the designated site is mandatory. This course is taught in conjunction with SFL672.

SFL673 Special Topic in Christian Spirituality (one week intensive residency) (3)
This course will explore a specific aspect of Christian spirituality. Topics will vary year to year. It will consist of a mixture of lecture, small group discussion, personal examination and reflection, various spiritual exercises, practical experiences in spiritual formation, as well as reading and writing assignments. Residency at the designated site is mandatory. This course is taught in an intensive face-to-face format every other January.

SFL674 Special Topic in Christian Spirituality (one week intensive residency) (3)
This course will explore a specific aspect of Christian spirituality. Topics will vary year to year. It will consist of a mixture of lecture, small group discussion, personal examination and reflection, various spiritual exercises, practical experiences in spiritual formation, as well as reading and writing assignments. Residency at the designated site is mandatory. This course is taught in an intensive face-to-face format every other January.