Christian Spiritual Formation examines the biblical theology, history, and pastoral dimensions and applications of Christian spirituality. The unit engages four broad historic expressions of spirituality from a contemporary inclusive evangelical perspective. Elements of Orthodox spiritualities, some particular Catholic spiritual practices and perspectives, as well as Protestant and Restorationist spiritualities are engaged.

Unit code: DS9717S

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Stirling Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Describe the distinctive contributions of selected spiritualities from a range of Christian traditions.


Articulate the place of spiritual disciplines in personal and congregational life.


Critically evaluate spiritual practices in the light of biblical and traditional roots.


Compare and contrast the use of spiritual disciplines in particular traditions.


Lead others in the study and practice of spiritual disciplines.

Unit sequence

Prerequisites: Either previous study in spirituality, pastoral or spiritual care, theology or bible; or substantial experience in and reflection on Christian Spirituality. This unit is only available to students enrolled in the Abilene Christian University/Stirling Theological College Doctor of Ministry Program.


Participants will engage in reading, an immersive learning and practical experience, will make presentations and share reflections.

Indicative Bibliography

Barton, Ruth Haley. Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership. Expanded ed. IVP, 2018.

Benner, David G. Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship & Direction. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

Calhoun, Adele. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook. Revised ed. Practices that Transform Us. IVP, 2018.

Cepero, Helen. Christ-Shaped Character: Choosing Love, Faith, and Hope. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2014.

Demacopoulos, George E. Five Models of Spiritual Direction in the Early Church. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 2007.

Greenman, J. P. and G. Kalantzis. Life in the Spirit: Spiritual Formation in Theological Perspective. IVP Academic, 2010.

Heath, Elaine A. The Mystic Way of Evangelism. A Contemplative Vision for Christian Outreach. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017.

Nouwen, Henri, Michael J. Christensen and Rebecca J. Laird. Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit. New York: Harper Collins, 2010.

Regula Benedicti (Rule of Benedict) (online:

Sheldrake, Philip. Spirituality. A Brief History. 2d ed. Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Introductory Essay 1000 15.0
Oral Presentation - Presentation 1500 20.0
Report - Class Reports 1500 20.0
Reflection - Reflection on a spiritual discipline 1500 20.0
Report - Spiritual and Formation Report 2500 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 16 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-16 17:10:53 +1100