Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Specialization


The Christian tradition is rich with spiritual practices that open eyes and deepen faith. From still, quiet practices like Lectio Divina to physical engagements like a prayer labyrinth, our predecessors shaped a myriad of experiences to enrich spirituality. As scholars of spiritual formation and discipleship, students carry on this tradition while also training to disciple others through relationship.

Students in this specialization spend two semesters cultivating self-awareness through the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, and contemplative prayer. Then, they participate in an immersive summer experience at a local retreat center or monastery, undergoing a process of spiritual formation while crafting a program of their own, such as an interactive digital curriculum for teens or content for a spiritual retreat.

Spiritual formation and discipleship is in Portland Seminary’s DNA. Though faculty come from a rich diversity of theological backgrounds, all hold an ethos of listening to one another, encouraging and challenging one another—that is, forming one another spiritually through relationship. Many faculty have undergone discipleship and formation experiences, and continue to seek those practices in their lives today.

Offered With

This specialization can be pursued with either of these master's programs as a spiritual formation degree:

Who It’s For

  • Students who want to serve specific populations in their congregation through ministries such as children’s classes, youth group, or men’s and women’s groups
  • Domestic and foreign missionaries passionate about building disciples through relationship
  • Students interested in developing liturgical practices for worship
  • Camp directors who want to create experiences that will spiritually form campers

Course Requirements

SFAD 551 Awareness and Identity I 2
SFAD 552 Awareness and Identity II 2
SFAD 555 Seminar in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship I 2
SFAD 565 Seminar in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship II 2
PSTD/MLDR 568 Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD/MLDR 569 Apprenticeship II 2