Master of Arts: Leadership & Formation

    Spiritual Formation Specialization

    Northwest Nazarene University's online Master of Arts in Leadership & Formation includes a specialization in Spiritual Formation that explores the history, philosophy, theology and practices of spirituality in the Christian tradition. Students grow through personal and professional incorporation of their learning, classroom interactions and a mentoring relationship that spans their degree programs. Earn your M.Div. within 50 months or an your M.A. degree in less than two years without any residential requirements.

    Students in NNU's MDIV/SF program complete an online orientation, 39 credits in their pastoral ministry core, and a 36-hour specialization in Spiritual Formation. After completing an online orientation, MALF/SF students focus their studies strictly around the same nine Spiritual Formation courses that MDIV/SF students take as their emphasis, as shown in the comparison to the right.

    MDIV/SF students can complete their degree program one course at a time in as little as 50 months, with most summers free. Our MDIV/SF program has been validated as meeting the educational requirements for ordination as elders in the Church of the Nazarene*. MALF/SF students are able to complete their program in as little as 21 months, with no summer course work.

    Financial aid is available for those who qualify, or students may take advantage of a zero interest monthly payment plan. Avoid expensive travel costs associated with modular programs at other seminaries, not to mention costly time away from home and your workplace. Tuition discounts are also available to members of the Church of the Nazarene.

    To maximize contextualization, all of our students participate in a mentor relationship with someone in their own ministry setting. Ministry mentors receive a small stipend for the support offered.

    Experience what it means to be part of an online community of learners with global reach, practical application, and personalized mentorship from course to course.

    Course Descriptions

    Specialization Courses

    BIBL7290 — Grounded in the Living Word: Scripture and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    This course explores the dynamics and power of Scripture in spiritual formation, personal transformation, and the Christian life. A key aspect of this course is an understanding and development of biblical hermeneutical principles and practices that focus not only on the biblical text's content but also on its potential effects as part of the church's Scripture. In addition to learning about life with God from Scripture, successful students can gain competence in listening to the spirit of the text, move from informational reading to transformational reading, and learn to engage Scripture in ways that grasp and change one's being and doing.

    CHIS6290 — Founded on Embodied Tradition: Church History and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    This course is designed to provide a historical underpinning for the practice of ministry in the Wesleyan tradition. Emphasis is placed on Wesley's theological sources (Early Church, Medieval, Reformation, Anglican), his theological methodology, his theology of spiritual formation, and his ability to engage his cultural context. Particular attention is given to how students can pursue personal and social holiness, and develop effective and dynamic missional approaches to leadership.

    PHIL7290 — Reflecting on Character: Philosophy and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    This course explores Christian ethics from a philosophical perspective. Students engage in biblical, theological and philosophical reflection, study dominant approaches to ethical thinking, and examine contemporary moral problems. Particular emphasis is placed on developing critical reflection skills, rather than finding answers to various ethical questions. This course also facilitates a deeper understanding of character formation and sharpens one's discernment as to how theological and philosophical reflection helps shape Christian practice.

    PRTH6180 — Introduction to Spiritual Formation (4 Credits)
    This course gives an intensive examination of the discipline of spiritual formation. Particular emphasis will be placed on the examination and practice of the fourteen Disciplines of Spiritual Formation with the purpose of helping students in their personal spiritual formation.

    PRTH6880 — Nurturing the Inner Life (4 Credits)
    This course explores the lifelong processes and goals of Christian spiritual formation from biblical, theological, psychological, and historical perspectives. Students practice historic Christian disciplines as means of grace to promote intimacy with God, healthier physical and emotional habits, maturing character, and love for others.

    PRTH6990A — Supervised Ministry (2 Credits)
    Under the direction of a ministry mentor, students will be involved in practical ministry experience in a local ministry context. Special attention will be given to preaching, counseling, teaching, education, evangelism, and administration. The experience will be under the direction of the instructor in cooperation with the supervising ministry mentor. A grade will not be issued for this course until completion of PRTH6990B.

    PRTH6990B — Supervised Ministry (2 Credits)
    This course is a continuation of PRTH6990A and must be completed before a grade will be issued for PRTH6990A. Prerequisites: PRTH6990A

    PRTH7580 — Spirituality of Soul Care (4 Credits)
    This is a course designed to give a small group, intensive experience in which the relationship between spiritual formation and ordained ministry is considered. The course includes examination of the minister as person, professional, and practitioner. The small group will be located in the locale of the student. It will be made up of ministers and laypersons who will provide the optimum group experience.

    PRTH7980 — Spiritual Direction (4 Credits)
    This course explores the meaning, place, models, and dynamics of the ministry of spiritual direction. Participants will consider the place of spiritual direction within their own ministries and, with their mentor, explore facets of giving and receiving spiritual direction. A reflective journal will be required.

    THEO6290 — Engaging with Prophetic Voices: Theology and the Christian Life (4 Credits)
    Students reflect theologically on life and ministry by exploring various sources of theological reflection. In particular, dominant themes and figures in contemporary theology are explored, especially voices and perspectives that are often overlooked. In this exploration, students compare and contrast distinctive characteristics of Wesleyan theology, including various understandings of holiness, with issues found in contemporary theology. This course explores issues of holiness and justice and how the Church can better live into the Kingdom of God for all and not just those in power.

    Program Outcomes

    • The graduate integrates the various ways spiritual formation may be part of the ministries of a local church in teaching, worship, preaching, and mission.
    • The graduate understands and develops spiritual formation practices, under the supervision of a mentor, that foster personal and spiritual growth.
    • The graduate practices the role of being a spiritual director, by utilizing spiritual formation practices, to a local group in their ministry context.
    • The graduate assesses spiritual journeys, individual and communities, for the purpose of creating a spiritual formation plan that will stimulate growth in acts of piety and mercy, i.e. inward and outward holiness.


    Spiritual Formation Learning Community 34, Fall 2019

    Grad Fall Semester 2019
    PRTH6000 OnRamp Program Orientation 08/12 - 08/25/19 Kathy Bynum
    PRTH6000LB Personal Development Lab (0 cr) 08/26 - 10/20/19 Chandra Salisbury
    PRTH6880 Nurturing the Inner Life 08/26 - 10/20/19 TBD
    BIBL7290 Grounded in the Living Word: Scripture & the Christian Life    10/21 - 12/15/19 Dick Thompson
    Grad Spring Semester 2020
    CHIS6290 Founded on Embodied Tradition: Church History & the Christian Life    01/13 - 03/08/20 Diane Leclerc
    PRTH7580 Spirituality of Soul Care 03/09 - 05/10/20 Joe Gorman
    Grad Fall Semester 2020
    PRTH6180 Formational Practicum 08/31 - 10/25/20 Jay Akkerman
    THEO6290 Engaging with Prophetic Voices: Theology & the Christian Life    10/26 - 12/20/20 Brent Peterson
    Grad Spring Semester 2021
    *PRTH6990A Supervised Ministry (2 cr) 01/11 - 02/21/21 TBD
    PHIL7290 Reflecting on Character: Philosophy & the Christian Life    01/11 - 03/07/21 Joe Bankard
    *PRTH6990B Supervised Ministry (2 cr) 03/08 - 04/25/21 TBD
    PRTH7980 Spiritual Direction 03/08 - 05/09/21 TBD

    Please Note

    *MA students should take PRTH6990A and PRTH6990B during the Spring 2021 semester or delay their completion and take both sections in the Summer of 2021. Both PRTH6990A and PRTH6990B need to be taken in the same semester.

    *MDiv students need to work with the Program Coordinator to schedule PRTH6990 as well as the other advanced summer MDiv course, BIBL8090.

    **Schedules and dates are subject to change

    Commencement: May 2021

    Past Schedules

    Spiritual Formation Learning Community 33, Fall 2018

    Spiritual Formation Learning Community 32, Spring 2018