Spiritual Guide

Become a wise guide who attends to God’s activity in your own life, the lives of others, and the world.

What will I learn?

Grow as a guide in spiritual formation through courses that are Biblically-based, expertly taught, and holistically supported.

  • Delight in the Scriptures.
  • Growth in formative dispositions in imitation of Christ (such as trust in God, awe, gratitude, humility, attentiveness, respect, freedom, discernment, courage, peace, etc.).
  • An understanding of a variety of resources for and experiences of classic Christian spiritual practices (e.g. communal worship, scripture meditation, retreat, journaling, service, Sabbath, spiritual direction, etc.).
  • An ability to theologically reflect on and articulate the relationship between human and Christian spirituality.
  • Skill in assessing the formational impact of personal and communal events, traditions, and dispositions in nurturing or hindering spiritual formation.
  • The ability to both appreciate distinctions between and see the unity in diverse forms of Christian spirituality across times and cultures.
Ready to Learn More?

Stackable Curriculum Designed For Formational Education

Develop the skills and training you need with the flexibility of selecting the courses that best fit your calling with Northeastern Seminary's stackable curriculum.*

Earn a certificateYear 1: Certificate

Transform your calling into an accredited Certificate in Scripture, Theology, and Ministry after completing this block in your first year of study.*

Master's DegreeYear 2: Master of Arts

Continue your education with another stackable block of courses to receive a Master of Arts degree in Spiritual Formation or Ministry Practice.*

Earn a Master of Divinity degreeYear 3: Master of Divinity

Assemble multiple, stackable competency blocks to earn your Master of Divinity with a concentration in Spiritual Formation.*

*Assumes a full-time course load of 9 credits/semester, possibly including summer sessions. Federal financial aid is not available for students pursuing a graduate-level certificate. Students wishing to retain their M.A. and earn an M.Div. must complete additional coursework that will most likely exceed the three-year assumption. Contact admissions for more details.

If you already have a seminary Master's degree and want to go deeper into spiritual direction, consider the

Doctor of Ministry program or the Advanced Certificate in Spiritual Direction


The following courses have been designed to allow you to master this competency. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate or you can apply these classes to earn your Master's degree.

Personal Spiritual Formation

PSF 612 | Spiritual Formation | 3 Credits

What is spiritual formation? What makes spiritual formation distinctly Christian in relation to other religious and ideological spiritualities in our world? What dynamics are involved in Christian spiritual formation? This course seeks to address such questions and to be both formational and informational as it does so.

Students will be guided in developing an appraisal framework that is truly holistic as well as conducive to and compatible with the Christian revelation. This appraisal framework, based on the Formative Spirituality of Adrian van Kaam, will provide students with specific perspectives by which to reflect upon human experiences in order to discern various dynamics of spiritual formation. Students will also be guided through a survey of classic Christian texts from a variety of Christian traditions throughout history in order to deepen their appreciation for the rich and varied ways, unique and communal, in which people have experienced knowing the Holy Trinity. This course will engage students in several classic spiritual practices throughout the course, including Scripture reading, reading Christian devotional texts, prayer, journaling, and retreat. Through these and other means, students will nurture their attentiveness to the presence and work of God in their everyday lives, thus complementing the seminary experience of learning “about” God with the experience of growing in their attentiveness to and their love for God.

PSF 615 | Exploring Personal and Spiritual Faith Development | 3 Credits

Faith will be explored from a life cycle, developmental perspective, from infancy through senior adulthood. Autobiographical, theological, and theoretical perspectives will be examined. Students will narrate/map their own faith journeys. Strategies for facilitating faith development in the church setting will be discussed.

PSF 621 | Introduction to Spiritual Direction | 3 Credits

Spiritual direction is one milieu in which we find another person of faith who will invite us to pay attention to our experiences and responses to God’s action in our daily lives. This course will provide a basic introduction to spiritual direction as well as an experiential understanding of what it is, what it is not, its benefits, and differences between it and pastoral counseling or clinical therapy. It will address the history and practice of spiritual direction as well as its place in 21st century spirituality.

PSF 623 | Social Justice and Spirituality | 3 Credits

This course is a study of the intersection of faith and social justice and the relationship between the first two great commandments. Students will study relevant spiritual writings that include application to social justice and peacemaking. Included are readings by Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day, Gustavo Gutierrez, Teresa of Avila, and others. The disciplines including prayer, simplicity, confession, and worship will be studied in relation to the Christian call to mission and creating social justice. Students will explore practical ways to live out the call of Jesus to worship God and love their neighbor.

PSF 652 | Calling and Vocation | 3 Credits

This course will provide students with an opportunity to explore the relationships between spiritual formation, personality, and leadership. Students will benefit from standard personality and leadership assessment tools to gain insights into their own personality and leadership style. In addition, students will enhance their understanding of the biblical foundation of leadership and the significance of spiritual formation for today’s Christian leaders. The expected outcomes of this course will be a well-developed theology of ministry within the context of the individuals’ personality, spiritual giftedness and leadership style. Students will develop an informed sense of calling to their unique place in the Kingdom of God and will begin to consider a strategy of continuous personal growth to enhance their effectiveness in ministry for years to come.

PSF 654 | 20 Centuries of Christian Faithfulness: A Global Survey | 3 Credits

What do Christian solitaries in the Egyptian desert, mothers of rebellious teenagers, monks in community in the mountains of France, missionaries to Japan, and charismatic worshipers in a megachurch all have in common? They all provide a glimpse of people seeking to follow Christ faithfully in their different geographic and cultural contexts. This course surveys the myriad ways in which Christians across the globe have found themselves redeemed and enlivened by the Spirit of God, and celebrates the diverse expressions of our shared Christian faith.

Students will engage art, music, film, stories, and various texts in order to explore both the diversity and commonalities of the ways people seek to live as faithful Christians, and will reflect on the ways in which their cultural and historic situatedness influences their own expressions of faithfulness.