Spiritual Formation and Faith Development

Course Description

This course is an intensive study to equip students in both the theory and practice of the spiritual disciplines. This course focuses on our personal relationship with god. We will seek to develop an understanding of the necessary aspects of personal spiritual maturation through the evaluation of Scripture and through self-reflection and practice. Second, this course will emphasize theories about the stages of faith and moral development as those theories relate to Christ-centered ministries.

Course Schedule

DayClassAssignment Due
1.12Syllabus and Orientation. Rule of Life. 
1.17ConfessionsAugustine, Ch. 1-2
1.19ConfessionsAugustine, Ch. 3
1.24ConfessionsAugustine, Ch. 4-5
1.26ConfessionsAugustine, Ch. 6
1.31ConfessionsAugustine, Ch. 7-8
2.2ConfessionsAugustine, Ch. 9
2.7ConfessionsAugustine, Ch. 10
2.14HabitsGlittering Vices, Introduction
2.16Goodness, Virtue, and the Church CalendarSmith, “Redeeming Ritual”
Warren, Liturgy of the Ordinary, Ch. 3 (PDF)
2.21Why Ascetism?McGinn, Section 2 (PDF)
2.23OFF: Silent Retreat
Feb 24-27
Read: Into the Silent Land by Laird
2.28Virtue and SinGlittering Vices, Ch. 1
3.2Envy and VaingloryGlittering Vices, Ch. 2-3
3.7Sloth and AvariceGlittering Vices, Ch. 4-5
3.9Anger and GluttonyGlittering Vices, Ch. 6-7
3.14OFF: Spring Break
3.16OFF: Spring Break 
3.21Introduce Ordinary (and Extraordinary) Saint Project
3.23Work on Ordinary Saint Project
4.13OFF: Work on Spiritual Autobiography 
4.18OFF: Work on Spiritual Autobiography
4.20Life TogetherBonhoeffer, Intro
4.25Life TogetherBonhoeffer, Ch. 1
4.27Life Together Bonhoeffer, Ch. 2-3
5.2Life Together Bonhoeffer, Ch. 4-5


Spiritual Journal (40%)

The main grade in this class will be weekly reflections in a journal on what you’re reading and practices. We will talk about how to structure the journal but there should be sections for:

Rule of Life—1 Page at the beginning

Book Reading Reflections—30 Pages

Pages for classroom notes

Spiritual Practices—15 pages

Silent Retreat—5 pages

Ordinary (and Extraordinary) Saints (15%)

You will pick a saint you know (or want to get to know) and prepare a class presentation. The presentation can be hagiography (dismissing weakness and writing a fictional but glorifying account) or giving an example of a virtue or virtues they represent.

Glittering Vices Translation Class Presentation (15%)

Each group will take a certain vice to “translate” to fellow classmates. What does this vice look like in college life? How is it seen in campus or dining halls or the sports field? How would one practice a corresponding virtue?

Presentations should be engaging and creative. Don’t give me a lecture. Keep our attention. Make the insights come alive with contemporary examples or convicting practices for the class.

Spiritual Autobiography Assignment (30%)

In replacement of the final exam, students are required to write a spiritual autobiography based on the class readings and practices, and also meeting with a mentor to discuss the following prompt:


– ¼ sheet of poster board

– Mini Yellow post-it notes (Good/neutral happenings)

– Mini Pink/Red post-it notes (bad happenings)

–  Mini Green post-it notes (lessons)

– Red circle stickers (akin to stop signs)


  • Have individual brain storm life’s happening (even beginning before their lives). Each major happening is written on a mini post-it note. Good things on yellow and bad thinks on pink.
  • Arrange items in chronological order on the ¼ sheet of poster board. Consider “chapters” for life that are marked with red dots (like stop signs).  
  • Review the list with coach/mentor/discipler
  • The student then needs to go back and consider what God may have been teaching him through the good times and (especially bad). These lessons are written on green notes and placed over corresponding yellow/pink notes. The more the individual links these happening with the Bible, the more useful this exercise will be.
  • The lessons are reviewed with the coach. The coach needs to work on helping the person see:
    • Unresolved issues. These will require more work, perhaps even biblical counsel.
    • Repeated life events. Hint: God is sending a message/teaching us something and will probably continue to do so until we “get it.”
    • Tying the life lessons to the Bible.
  • The individual now needs to consider what God wants from them in the present and the future. The key is to think about God’s Providence in one’s life.

In light of this exercise, write a spiritual autobiography about the ways God has worked in your life, for good and for bad, the lessons he has taught you, the struggles you see, and how you hope to grow.

One way to write this exercise is an extended prayer to God, where you are praying and reflecting with God in what He has done and what you have done. (Think Augustine).

Should be around 2500 words.

Due: End of Exam Week