Spiritual Formation

Christian spiritual formation is our continuing response to God’s grace and the Holy Spirit's presence conforming us to Jesus Christ in a community of faith, for the glory of God and for the sake of the world.

The process of becoming Christ-like involves three interwoven processes:

  1. Orthodoxy — Right-thinking about Christ and the Christian faith
  2. Orthopraxy — Right-action/piety and devotional living
  3. Orthopathy — Right-feeling toward God, self, and others

"... He may grant that you be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love."

Ephesians 3:16-17a
Spiritual formation process of becoming Christ-like

Terms Defined

  • Spiritual direction is a relationship between a person seeking a more Christ-like life and another who serves as guide to the process. The guide is trained as a spiritual director.
  • Spiritual formation focuses on the ordinary maturing of one's relationship with God.
  • Discipleship focuses on the maturing of one's faith in the context of the particular beliefs and values of a faith community. Disciplers are respected and spiritually mature mentors and leaders in a faith community.
  • Pastoral counseling focuses on relational and emotional maturity of an individual and/or family group. It is usually crisis-driven. Pastoral counselors are trained and certified.

"All true Christian spiritualities help those who follow Christ to walk and live in God's presence with body, mind, and soul, in the midst of the sufferings and struggles of this world."

Iona Conference, 1987

Spiritual Formation at Portland Seminary

Portland Seminary is committed to the spiritual formation of its students so that the church and world might be served by God's best. Educating the mind is not enough. The heart and the will need spiritual formation.

We fulfill this commitment in these ways:

  • Spiritual formation courses are offered in protected times so they do not compete with other courses.
  • The seminary offers traditional spiritual formation courses such as prayer and spiritual life as well as specialty courses to give students various pathways for growth.
  • The seminary offers more than 20 different spiritual formation courses.
  • The courses are one credit. Therefore, students have one spiritual formation course a semester throughout their degree program.
  • Within the courses students get academic content, formational experiences, small-group accountability, and fellowship.

Programs featuring spiritual formation curriculum

Programs featuring spiritual direction curriculum

Spiritual formation courses offered

  • The Art of Spiritual Direction
  • Group Spiritual Formation
  • History of Spirituality and Renewal
  • Images of God
  • Indigenous Spirituality (North American)
  • Knowing Self, Knowing God
  • Prayer
  • Prayer and Inner Healing
  • Spiritual Leadership
  • Spiritual Life
  • Spirituality, Shame and Grace
  • Spirituality and Social Justice
  • Spirituality and the Earth
  • Spirituality and the Heavens
  • Spirituality and the Senses
  • Spirituality and the Writings of the Mystics
  • Spirituality and Personality
  • Spiritual Direction Experience
  • Spiritual Direction Practicum
  • Spiritual Formation in Marriage
  • Spiritual Formation for Men
  • Spiritual Formation for Women