Winter 2003 Rapport: Spiritual Formation for Ministry
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encourages students to achieve genuine spirituality in their own walks with Christ for
preparation in ministry through efforts implemented by the Seminary. Christian leaders
face a tremendous privilege and awesome challenge. The world searches for authentic
spiritualityfaith that addresses and answers real-life concerns. At the same time,
the Enemy targets attacks pointed directly at Christian leaders. For example, statistics
of ministers who succumb to ethical and moral failure are staggering. To prepare for
these realities, it is crucial that church leaders have a vibrant personal spirituality
resulting in a Spirit-led and empowered life and ministry. What the Church needs today,
more than ever before, are truly spiritual leaders.
A study conducted by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust on graduate theological education
suggests that many students leave the hallowed halls of higher education unprepared
to care for their own spiritual well-being. The study discovered that a vast gulf exists
between theological education and the real-life expectations of graduates and the constituencies
must understand how to care for their ongoing personal spiritual transformation
and the growth of those they serve.
Taylor, director of spiritual formation
In many institutions the focus remains on the external skills and practices of ministry,
neglecting a holistic picture of what spiritual leadership is all about.
Many students struggle to maintain a healthy balance between their academic and spiritual
lives. They spend much time studying the Bible critically, historically, and theologically,
yet fail to spend time in daily devotions, thus negatively impacting their relationships
with God. In light of this, todays seminarians, tomorrows church leaders,
must receive more than a mere exercise in academic achievement; they must understand
how to care for their ongoing personal spiritual transformation and the growth, of those
To assist AGTS students to be proactive in this area, intentional efforts have been
implemented to provide tangible assessment of personal spiritual growth and facilitate
students in developing a strategy for enhancing ongoing spiritual transformation throughout
their ministerial training. The Seminary has established a new spiritual formation program,
which uses a holistic developmental approach to give students the opportunity to experience
and learn from the many facets of the spiritual formation process. The program flows
from the following values:
- Spiritual formation must be intentional.
- Spiritual formation must be integrated.
- Spiritual formation must be measurable.
- Spiritual formation must be a priority for every student.
- Spiritual formation must span the entire seminary experience.
Students learn about spiritual leadership and formation in the classrooms at AGTS.
Students build accountability relationships through weekly small groups.
Toward this end, AGTS students are being provided with many opportunities to facilitate
spiritual growth. The emphasis on spiritual growth includes regular chapel services,
weekly covenant groups and service opportunities, mentoring links, peer accountability,
and individual meetings of all students with the director of spiritual formation to
talk about spiritual formation issues on a personal level. A focused course on the spiritual
formation of the minister allows students to assess their personal and spiritual dispositions,
develop a personal growth strategy, participate in a weekly small group for accountability,
and reflect regularly upon their spiritual growth experience.
The goal is to integrate spiritual formation into all aspects of AGTS life. Ministers
who are prepared to deal with their own ongoing spiritual transformation will be able
to make a significant contribution to the spiritual growth of others.
Thursday, August 7, 2003 3:42 PM