M.A. Spiritual Formation

The Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation (MASF) recognizes that fulfillment in life and effectiveness in ministry increase as a person is shaped and conformed into the image of Christ.

What will I learn with a Spiritual Formation degree?

The Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation (MASF) recognizes that fulfillment in life and effectiveness in ministry increase as a person is shaped and conformed into the image of Christ. With its integration of Christian theology, Christian spirituality, and Christian community, the MASF program offers students a unique learning experience and opportunity to grow intellectually, spiritually, and holistically. Any church leader and follower of Christ will be stirred, challenged, and find personal benefit in this program.

The predominantly Friends faculty and the ethos of the college founded by Friends, add to the distinctive character of this concentration. The MA in Spiritual Formation is designed to maximize the learning experience for adult students by integrating the best of all possible learning environments – the convenience of flexible, distance education mixed with personal interaction and the development of genuine community and supportive relationships with fellow MASF students, faculty, and staff.

Additional Benefits of the MA in Spiritual Formation:

  • Complete program in only 2 years (4 semesters), a total of 36 credit hours!
  • Hybrid “distance learning” model – video conference technology, online communication, and a “Face-2-Face” gathering each semester!
  • Affordably priced – with Graduate Leadership Scholarships available!
  • Accredited – by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org), a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

Spiritual Formation Course Requirements

Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation (12 credit hours)

MASF512: Spiritual Formation in Biblical Perspective (3) – A study of the Old Testament and New Testament that explores significant biblical events (movements) and the spiritual formation of exceptional biblical personalities (models), and their life-transforming experiences (moments), in light of Jesus’ transforming leadership and His life, death, and resurrection.

MASF522: Spiritual Formation and the Transformational Journey (3) – A leader must be transformed in order to be transforming. This course allows students to engage in an intentional process of self-examination and self-discovery as a means of cultivating a deeper awareness of God’s soul-shaping activity and a greater receptivity to Christ’s ongoing work in their lives.

MASF532: Christian Classics: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Work (3) – This course exposes students to the rich treasury of devotional literature that is available to encourage us along the way in our journey with Christ. It also offers an opportunity to gain fresh insight and inspiration from a wide range of Christian leaders whose lives often bear a striking resemblance to our own.

MASF542: Soul Shepherding: The Role of the Christian Leader in the Development of Others’ Souls (3) – This course equips students with the theological framework and practical skills required to become a faithful soul shepherd or spiritual director, helping others to model their lives in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Students will learn strategies and formulate plans for soul care, spiritual direction, leadership coaching, and corporate discernment that can be applied to individuals, groups, and congregations.

Master's Course Requirements

MAO501: Orientation (0) – This is a one-week course designed to introduce students to the graduate program at Barclay College, including: classmates, course instructors, the mechanics of the online portal and discussion forum, and the academic rigors of graduate studies.

Theology Core (15 credit hours)

MABI511: Old Testament Hermeneutics (3) – God’s revelation through the Old Testament illuminates His timely message and timeless story for His people, while also providing the context and foundation for the New Testament. In this class, students will investigate the richness of the Old Testament and its relevance for today, including the principles and procedures for its interpretation, application, and exposition.

MABI521: New Testament Hermeneutics (3) – The narrative of Christ and His Church, foreshadowed in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament, provides the framework for Christian faith and practice. This class in biblical interpretation and exegesis focuses on the life and teachings of Christ, the experience of believers, and the eternal hope of the Church as recorded in the gospels, epistles, and apocalyptic literature.

MATH531: Christian Theology (3) – This class investigates the essential teachings of the evangelical Christian faith, with special attention given to the person and work of Christ, sin and salvation, the role of the Holy Spirit, the life of the Church, and contemporary theological issues. Students will become better equipped to apply and articulate theological convictions in ministry settings.

MATH541: The History of Christianity (3) – This course addresses the major events, issues, personalities, and movements that shape and define the story of the Christian Church. Topics such as the birth and growth of the Early Church, the threat of persecution, the rise of monasticism, the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon, the Reformation, the Great Awakenings, ecumenical efforts, and the globalization of the gospel provide a deeper understanding of the Church and a relevant perspective for ministry today.

MAMM513: The Missional Church (3) – We may not all be called to serve Christ as missionaries in a foreign land, but we are all called to be “on mission with God” wherever He may lead us. In this course, students are challenged to examine their purpose and calling in life, maximize their capacity to build bridges, and bear faithful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ both at home and around the world.

Research and Application (9 credit hours)

MARA523: Research Methods (3) – This course is an introduction to the research methods that are applicable in a variety of academic and organizational settings, including both quantitative and qualitative strategies that are commonly used in a graduate Capstone project.

MARA533: Applied Research I (3) – In this research and application course, students will identify and begin to investigate a potential Capstone project that relates to their chosen concentration of graduate studies. Through practical examination, each student will focus on their field of study using a variety of potential methods, some of which may include: field experience, literature review, and other forms of data collection.

MARA543: Applied Research II – Capstone Project (3) – This course involves the completion of a written Capstone project that serves as the culmination of a student’s research and their graduate school experience. Students will integrate their research findings with their chosen area of concentration, making application to life, service, and leadership today. In addition, each student will demonstrate their acquisition of scholarship, critical thinking, creativity, and written communication skills.

David O. Williams, D.Min.

Director of Spiritual Formation

Having served as a youth pastor, family pastor, lead pastor, campus pastor, and regional superintendent, Dave brings nearly 40 years of field experience to his current role as a “pastor to pastors,” and over 20 years of classroom experience as a professor of spiritual formation. A graduate of Malone University (BA) and Ashland Theological Seminary (MA), Dave completed his doctorate (DMin) in leadership and spiritual formation at George Fox University. His doctoral dissertation, “Sustaining Spiritual Leadership for the Long Haul,” provided the inspiration for his first book, Rhythms of Grace: Life-Saving Disciplines for Spiritual Leaders.  In addition to serving as director of the MAPM and MASF programs at Barclay, Dave also serves as lead superintendent for Evangelical Friends Church-Mid America and interim director for Evangelical Friends Church International.

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