MF 4301: Spiritual Formation – Dr. John Lee & Faculty

Fall 2020/Main Campus

MF4301: Spiritual Formation – Dr. John Lee & Faculty
Thursday, 8:05 – 10:00pm; 3 credits


Spiritual Formation and Introduction to Theological Studies are the two foundational courses for Leland’s Master-level programs. While Intro to Theological Studies prepares students intellectually for the study of theology with the necessary concepts and
perspectives for doing theology, Spiritual Formation prepares students more holistically in terms of relational and character formation. We will examine and apply spiritual disciplines in and outside of class. But we will also be informed by recent studies in brain science that
stress the importance of attachment for one’s growth in character. Attachment to God and attachment to others will be seen as essential for character and spiritual formation.


At the heart of a “successful” spiritual leader in a church or some other setting is who the person is. Success, from a theological perspective, cannot be measured by worldly terms. Success, from a biblical and theological perspective, is about faithfulness to God, the ability to love and to hope, the ability to empathize, the ability to grow as a person and as a follower of Jesus. Prayer life, Scriptural study,
friendships are important in this journey of growth. Before you are a pastor, a student, or a professional in some field, you are a person who is called into relationship with God and others. Relational health and character formation (sanctification) in the image of Christ is of
ultimate concern for any Christian leader — for any follower of Jesus, period.


Through the successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

  • Understand how we change into the image of Christ as a result of the Holy Spirit and our attachment to God and others.
  • Understand the role and power of the spiritual disciplines to shape our thinking, feeling, and relating as followers of Christ.
  • Design a church curriculum or seminar to help others in the area of spiritual formation.


This course will meet weekly, initially in person but then we will move to a hybrid format mixing online and in person. For those with health concerns and issues, doing the course entirely online is available as well. Class time will be a combination of lecture and
discussion. In the second half of the course, students will also break out into small groups to share and to pray.


Priya Parker, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters. New York: Riverhead Books 2018. ISBN 1594634939. Pub. Price $14.29.

Jim Wilder, Renovated: God, Dallas Willard, and the Church That Transforms. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2020. ISBN 1641581670, Pub. Price $17.99.

Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives. New York: HarperCollins, 1991 (paperback). ISBN 0060694424, Pub. Price $11.49.


• Attendance and Class Participation
• Reading of required materials and written reading response
• A term paper or end of the course project (curriculum, workshop, or seminar for church)

RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: This course meets a core curriculum requirement for the
MDiv, MTS, MCL, and Graduate Certificate Programs.