Spiritual Formation Certificate

At A Glance

23 Semester credit hours
$300 Cost per semester credit hour*
2 Years Average completion time**


ATS (Association of Theological Schools), NWCCU


Hybrid (online courses with BridgeWeek in Portland each semester)

Application Deadlines

Rolling application deadline; apply now for the next fall cohort

* All stated financial information is subject to change. Certificate programs are not eligible for federal financial aid.

** Based on taking 5 credit hours per term in the fall and spring semesters and 3 credit hours in the summer semester.

How do you apply the transformative work of Christ to your everyday life? What does it mean to cultivate and communicate an authentic faith? How do you develop habits of authentic disciplines that center on thinking and living in Christ’s presence?

These questions are central to the spiritual formation certificate program. This two-year certificate program is designed to foster your socio-cultural awareness and relational skills to become a transformative agent of Christ’s love.

Pursue this Certificate if ...

  • You desire training in biblical and theological studies, in spiritual formation, and in discipleship
  • You personally desire to grow deeper in Christ and in the Word
  • You feel called to spiritual formation ministry in church or parachurch settings
  • You are a professional who desires formational experiences and training in an academic environment

Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Requirements

Complete the following:
Examines and reflects on stories of various persons in both the Old and New Testaments that emphasize narratives of spiritual transformation. In particular, students will reflect on the patterns and practices of formation. The course will invite deep reflection on character building, ethical formation, and the application of such narratives to Christian ministry contexts.
Complete the following:
Examines movements and people within Christianity who have brought spiritual renewal to the church, including monasticism, the mystics, the Reformers, Pietism, the Wesleyan/evangelical revival, and certain present-day examples. Focuses not only on history, but also on themes within spiritual renewal and on insights that can be drawn for the contemporary believer and church.

Complete the following:

Introduces the pastoral counseling role of the minister or spiritual director. The purpose of the course is to acquaint the student with a basic counseling method in relation to the typical situations encountered in ministry. Special attention will be given to healthy differentiation and ministerial ethics. One of the principal objectives will be to help the student recognize when and how to refer persons to qualified mental health professionals.
Complete the following:
Provides an opportunity for students to identify their deep longings and giftings as they discern their vocational way of being in the world for the sake of others. This discernment is rooted in a growing knowledge of the biblical and theological roots of identity and belonging. Students will be invited to integrate their way of being in the world with the God who calls them.
Provides an invitation for students to embrace the calling to belong within a faith community as an essential of Christian spirituality. Locating their past and present sources of belonging, students will integrate those experiences in order to grow in their understanding of self in relation to community. Students will support this awareness by reflecting on the cultural forces and narratives that shape both individuals and communities.
Provides an invitation for students to engage in prayer and other spiritual practices for greater awareness of self, others and God. As students practice they will be introduced to the gift of a contemplative life and will begin to experience a groundedness in Christ’s presence. This groundedness helps them embrace themselves, God, and others. As students learn to experience this space, they will be able to invite others into a more contemplative life.
Introduces students to the concept of three-way listening: listening to another, listening to themselves, and listening to the Spirit with hospitality to all. Quaker, Wesleyan, and Ignatian spiritualities help shape this understanding of listening and discernment. Part of this journey is to begin to notice the barriers that arise in listening this way. Growth will occur as students learn how to sift through their interior and exterior experiences to determine their origin and the movement of the Spirit in themselves, their community, and the world.
Introduces students to the rhythms of ritual, mystery, and beauty as pathways for Christian formation. Moving from the specific to the general, students will cultivate the ability to experience the sacred in the ordinary through tangible practices. These practices will be guided by theological reflection on the implications of the Incarnation, thus allowing students to both explore and notice God’s recreative presence in the arts, creation, and all of life.
Leaning deeper in reflection on areas of disintegration and integration, students will be invited to practice self-acceptance, generosity of spirit, boundaries, and to recognize invitations of growth. Analyzing the theology of spiritual leadership and reviewing elements which invite leaders to sustain a leadership role with integrity and health, students will reflect and create a rhythm of life that will serve as a fluid document to sustain them as they live out their vocational call within the communities they serve.
Invites students to experience and explore images of God and understandings of spirituality through Scripture and the writings of the mystical traditions of the Church. Studying the spiritual writings of others through history opens one to consider their own image of God and concept of spirituality. This recognition, often shaped from childhood and life experience, offers an invitation to an expanding understanding of God. Mystics invite us to move beyond knowledge about God into an experiential relationship with God that impacts everyday life.
Invites students to explore God’s transformative action and desire for restorative justice and Shalom through the writings of the biblical prophets, Christian mystics, and activists. Students will broaden their awareness of unjust systems while considering their personal participation in oppressive structures. Reflective practices and discussion will invite students to actively join with God and create practices for response and reconciliation that extend God’s hospitality and restores the humanity of all.
This course focuses on hosting spiritual conversations for soul companions. Generous listening is a core practice for intentionally guiding persons in their spiritual growth and at the center of training for spiritual directors. This course explores the historical, theological, biblical, and psychological premises for soul companionship and introduces students to core practices. Students will reflect on meaning and definitions of hosting spiritual conversations in light of their own experience and the course teachings and personal discernment regarding vocational spiritual direction. Note: it is required that students take SFAD 571 & SFAD 572.
This course continues the students’ training in the discipline of spiritual direction. It addresses professional issues related to being a spiritual director and gives students practical experience in being spiritual directors, under the guidance of certified supervisors. (Note: it is required that students take both SFAD 571 & SFAD 572. Additional fees: The cost of personal spiritual direction is covered by the student.)