Master of Arts: Spiritual Formation

    Northwest Nazarene University's online master's in Spiritual Formation 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 an M.Div. within 50 months or an M.A. in less than two years without any residential requirements.

    Students in NNU's MDIVSF program complete an online orientation, 39 credits in their pastoral ministry core, and 36 hours of emphasis in Spiritual Formation. After completing an online orientation, MASF students focus their studies strictly around the same nine Spiritual Formation courses in which MDIVSF students take as their emphasis, as shown in the comparison to the right.

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

    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.

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    Course Descriptions

    Specialization Courses

    BIBL7580 — Biblical Interpretation for Life & Ministry (4 Credits)
    This course seeks to upgrade students' use of Scripture in personal spiritual formation in their ministry by focused attention to several critical tasks involved in biblical interpretation. This interpretive work will aid in the development of the spiritual discipline of "listening to the text".

    CHIS6580 — Sources for Wesleyan Spirituality (4 Credits)
    This course is designed to provide a historical underpinning for spiritual formation by examining Wesley's theological sources. Particular attention will be given to how these sources have contributed to Wesley's understanding of the spiritual disciplines and the means of grace.

    PHIL7580 — Theoretical Foundations for Spiritual Formation (4 Credits)
    This course explores the theoretical foundations, or basic assumptions, of spiritual formation. The course will be primarily concerned with issues related to human anthropology and the development of the self. This will include study in the following areas: critical reasoning, human psychology, and character development.

    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.

    THEO6580 — Readings in Western Spirituality (4 Credits)
    Students will read contemporary theological works and explore their relation to spiritual formation. Critical analysis of the different theologies will provide the student with an understanding of contemporary currents and issues in spiritual formation.

    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 33, Fall 2018

    Grad Fall Semester 2018
    PRTH6000 OnRamp Program Orientation 08/13 - 08/26/18 Kathy Bynum
    PRTH6000LB Personal Development Lab (0 cr) 08/27 - 10/21/18 Lynn Bohecker
    PRTH6180 Introduction to Spiritual Formation    08/27 - 10/21/18 Jay Akkerman
    PRTH7980 Spiritual Direction 10/22 - 12/16/18 Rhonda Carrim
    Grad Spring Semester 2019
    BIBL7580 Biblical Interp for Life & Ministry 01/14 - 03/10/19 Ryan Hansen
    PRTH7580 Spirituality of Soul Care 03/11 - 05/12/19 Joe Gorman
    Grad Fall Semester 2019
    PRTH6880 Nurturing the Inner Life 08/26 - 10/20/19 Gene Schandorff
    THEO6290 Engaging with Prophetic Voices: Theology and the Christian Life 10/21 - 12/15/19 TBD
    Grad Spring Semester 2020
    *PRTH6990A Supervised Ministry (2 cr) 01/13 - 02/23/20 Ralph Neil
    CHIS6290 Founded on Embodied Tradition: Church History and the Christian Life  01/13 - 03/08/20 Diane Leclerc
    *PRTH6990B Supervised Ministry (2 cr) 03/09 - 04/26/20 Ralph Neil
    PHIL7290 Reflecting on Character: Philosophy and the Christian Life 03/09 - 05/10/20 Joe Bankard

    Please Note

    *MA students should take PRTH6990A and PRTH6990B during the Spring 2020 semester or delay their completion and take both sections in the Summer of 2020. 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 2020

    Past Schedules

    Spiritual Formation Learning Community 32, Spring 2018

    Spiritual Formation Learning Community 31, Fall 2017

    Spiritual Formation Learning Community 30, Spring 2017