Christian spiritual formation is "a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others" (Robert Mulholland). It is inspired by the Holy Spirit and grounded in Scripture and a faith community.
The process of becoming Christ-like involves three interwoven processes:
- Orthodoxy — Right-thinking about Christ and the Christian faith
- Orthopraxy — Right-action/piety and devotional living
- 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 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 George Fox
George Fox Evangelical 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.
Degrees featuring spiritual formation curriculum:
- Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation (online and in Portland)
- Master of Divinity with Spiritual Formation concentration (online and in Portland)
- Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Spiritual Formation (Hybrid)
- Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship (Portland)
Spiritual formation courses offered:
- History of spirituality and renewal
- Knowing God, knowing self
- Prayer and inner healing
- Spiritual life
- Spirituality, shame and grace
- Spirituality and social justice
- Spirituality and the mind
- Spiritual formation for women
- Spiritual formation for men
- Spirituality and personality
- Spiritual direction experience
- The art of spiritual direction
- Spiritual leadership
- Images of God
- Group spiritual formation
- Spirituality and suffering
- Spirituality and children
- Spirituality and the mystics
- Spirituality and the heavens
- Spiritual formation and the senses
- Native American spirituality
- Spirituality and the stewardship of creation
- Spiritual direction practicum