This course focuses on the corporate aspect of spiritual formation against the backdrop of our hyper-individualistic culture and emphasis within Protestantism. The course will provide an analysis of those elements that facilitate and foster spiritual formation in Christian community. In particular, the course will examine an ecological model of spiritual formation as a way of conceptualizing and fostering growth and formation. Finally, this course will inspect the role of the Christian community in the facilitation of spiritual growth and maturity that brings into balance the disparate notions of academic and ministerial formation.
For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a model of spiritual formation that brings into focus the role of the Christian community in the development and formation of spiritual maturity. The student pursuing ministerial formation should be able to know how to lead others to ongoing maturity in Christ. Moreover, the student should be cognizant of the emphasis on corporate spirituality as a means of addressing and dealing with sin.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Articulate the relationship between the Christian community and an individual’s development of spiritual formation.
- Analyze spiritually formative elements within the faith community.
- Apply an understanding of the ecological model of formation to a ministerial context.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 300 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.
Spiritual Formation Model Assignment
The student will submit a strategic plan for engaging a ministry context (i.e. church, para-church organization, local ministry, mission group). This plan will include an understanding and application of spiritual growth and maturation. To that end, the student will be building components for that plan in each module. The plan will need to contain a model of spiritual formation which includes a biblical rationale, an assessment strategy, and an implementation of that plan. The student will need to begin assembling a small group of individuals (at least 2 but not more than 5). Together this group will map out a simple, brief strategy for the application content.
The student will submit the Spiritual Formation Model that reflects his or her understanding of spiritual formation in the life of both the individual and the community. The development of the student's model of spiritual formation should be based on the course readings, supplemental material, and ministerial experience.
(MLOs: A, B)
Pauline Church Assessment Assignment
The student will conduct an assessment of the spiritual condition of one of the Pauline churches (using any epistle or letter of his or her choice). Additionally, the student will provide an understanding of Paul’s treatment of community or corporate formation in that letter/epistle. Finally, the student will submit a recommendation for current ministry contexts based on his or her findings. The assessment should include interaction with supplemental materials such as commentaries, lexicons, and other related literature.
This assessment should be 3–5 pages, not including the title page and bibliography. Current Turabian format must be used and the paper should be double-spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font.
Network Ecoscan Assessment Assignment
The student will conduct an analysis of his or her ministry context through the use of a network ecoscan. This type of scan looks at ministry groups to determine connections, disconnections, and ecological impact of growth within the group. To that end, the student will be analyzing culture and identity, group dynamics, and congregational/ministry ecology using the information provided in the Studying Congregations website. The student will also diagram connections within the ministry, nested connections, and networks that influence ministry members.
(MLOs: B, C)
Spiritual Formation Plan Assignment
The student will compile all the elements related to a model of spiritual formation, crafted so far from each module, into a cohesive unit of application for the development of a comprehensive understanding of formation. This assignment will reflect a strategic plan for engaging a ministry context (i.e. church, para-church organization, local ministry, mission group). This plan will include an understanding and application of spiritual growth and maturation. The plan will need to contain the following:
• Elements from the Spiritual Formation Model
• A biblical rationale
• An assessment strategy
• An implementation of that plan