The seminary is committed to the spiritual formation and academic success of students. The mission of the seminary is intentionally to foster the spiritual formation of the seminary community so that God is glorified and the incarnational presence of Christ is evidenced in daily living. Spiritual formation is the maturation of God's fullness within the individual and the community and leads to wholeness in all relationships.
The seminary community fosters spiritual formation by promoting:
- A community spirit of fellowship and support
- A disciplined life of prayer and devotional habits
- A deepening surrender to God in faith and to others in service
To fulfill this mission, the seminary endeavors to have a comprehensive spiritual-life program. The program is designed to engage students in formational experiences throughout their time in seminary. The spiritual-formation curriculum has a variety of core courses and specialty courses designed to stimulate personal transformational growth. A component of every spiritual-formation course is a supportive small-group experience.
Ultimately, a program of spiritual life must embrace all of the curriculum at the seminary. Biblical literature fosters understanding and appropriation of the primary resources for spiritual growth. Christian history develops an appreciation of heritage and perspective. Christian theology challenges the student to integrate historical truth and contemporary life. Pastoral studies focus the attention of Christ's servants on the church and the tasks of ministry. The spiritual-life curriculum specifically seeks to integrate the student's academic preparation with spiritual growth and to acquaint the student with the great literature of the spiritual life.
Prayer is a vital aspect of the Christian life that too often suffers from neglect in Western society. Yet strong ministries, strong congregations, and a strong church cannot be built without persistent, fervent prayer.
It is often the case that the formal study of the faith at seminary squeezes out private devotion to God. The seminary determines to make prayer and consistent devotional life part of the fabric of the seminary student's life experience. Private devotions are encouraged, and support is readily available to those who seek guidance. Time is often taken in class to pray. Further, a prayer chapel is available for use at any time during the day.
Community is developed within the seminary in various ways. Catered lunches and dinners are available for purchase at the Portland Center on Mondays and Thursdays. A refrigerator and microwave are provided for students to bring meals from home and eat together on campus. Professors encourage community in their classes by assigning group projects, giving students ownership in class processes, and providing times of fellowship for their students both in the classroom and out. Occasionally, the seminary community has picnics or get-togethers off campus, where students and their families have the opportunity to gather with other students and with faculty in informal contexts. From time to time, students and faculty take initiative to provide worship opportunities to the community, as well.