One distinctive of our MDIV curriculum is the 1 hour spiritual formation that accompanies each praxis course.  So this Fall, online ministers in the program will take the six hour online Missional Church course with Charles Arn and they will take the first 1 hour spiritual formation course, “Change and Transformation.”  The online course will be taught by Robert Vaughan, whose DMin dissertation was about spiritual formation in online classes.

Onsite ministers in the program will come to campus on Tuesday from 9-12 for the Missional Church with Bob Whitesel, which will continue from 2-4 in the afternoon.  But during lunch, I’ll meet with them to eat together and process the spiritual formation tasks of the week.

There are two strengths of IWU’s spiritual formation sequence, which was designed more by Keith Drury than anyone else, although we are delighted for Robert to continue designing courses 2-6.

The first strength is the fact that we are not myopically focused on what people usually think of when they think of spiritual formation–highly individualistic devotions, including prayer and Bible reading.  Spiritual formation is much more than this.  It must, for example, involve a corporate dimension to have real depth. 

The second strength is that the course sequence actually follows the actual process of change:

Change and Tranformation–how does change actually take place in a person?
Self Awareness and Appraisal–who are you, where are you at?
Goal Setting and Accountability–where are you headed and who is going to hold you to it?
Mentoring and Spiritual Direction–you’re not in this alone, we need the body of Christ
Personal and Corporate Disciplines–a robust treatment, including means of grace
Recovery and Deliverance–you can actually change!

I don’t know of any other seminary that has such a robust spiritual formation sequence that is required.  And even one that comes to mind as considering itself a specialist in this area seems to have a very myopic and overly introspective approach.  I can’t take credit for how awesome this approach is–of course even the key player can’t either.  But we can be proud of it, in a sanctified way. 🙂