Immersed in Personal and Spiritual Formation

NES is committed to the personal and spiritual growth of every seminarian. Through an innovative and integrative Personal and Spiritual Formation curriculum, students are exposed to the rich resources and disciplines of formative Christian spirituality. The fundamental objectives of NES include the spiritual as well as the academic preparation of candidates for pastoral and lay ministry.

Spiritual Formation Methods  

  • Each new cohort begins with a spiritual retreat
  • An All-Seminary Retreat is held once each year
  • Each master’s student participates in a faith sharing group directed by a trained spiritual facilitator who mentors a small group of students
  • Readings in formative spirituality and scripture study are integrated into the curriculum
  • A weekly personal spiritual formation segment or chapel service is held during the Core curriculum
  • Intentional growth reflection sessions, led by a certified spiritual director, are a part of each Core course
  • Master’s students take courses covering spiritual and pastoral formation plus other elective courses
  • Faith sharing group experiences are incorporated into the field education curriculum

The spiritual formation program curriculum at NES is developed around the following basic assumptions:

  • God is always active
  • God desires to be in intimate relationship with each of God's children
  • The basis for all Christian life and ministry is the lived experience of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; a nurtured and continuing experience of direct communication with God is of major importance for those who engage in Christian ministry
  • There are spiritual practices that help a person notice and respond to God's overtures for relationship; these include, but are not limited to, contemplative prayer, meditation on Scripture, worship, sacraments, fasting, retreat, interpersonal relationships, and guided reflection on everyday living
  • Healthy spiritual formation does not automatically occur in the context of a seminary education; the seminary that takes responsibility for providing appropriate structures for its students' spiritual development meets their needs more completely and does a better job of accomplishing its own goal of preparing people for Christian ministry
  • Healthy spiritual formation best occurs in the context of Christian community

Adapted from Forster Freeman, Readiness for Ministry through Spiritual Direction. The Alban Institute, 1986.

Read more about faith sharing groups here.

For a list of Personal and Spiritual Formation classes