Certificate in Spiritual Formation - Gordon Conwell

The Certificate in Spiritual Formation equips Christians to discern the Holy Spirit and integrate spiritual formation into their vocations.

Spiritual formation is an essential backbone for flourishing ministry, academic, and workplace contexts. If you are seeking preparation for leadership in congregational care, discipleship, spiritual direction, counseling services, corporate worship, or college ministry, the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Formation is for you. This certificate is designed to help you discover your unique God-given design and a clearer sense of your vocational and spiritual identity. Be equipped with a spiritual toolbox filled with ministry principles, methods, and skills to discern the Holy Spirit; integrate spiritual formation into any vocation; and embark on a journey of lifelong spiritual transformation.

What is Spiritual Formation?

Spiritual Formation is the study of the Holy Spirit’s initiation and enactment of lifelong transformation in believers: the Spirit both conforms us into the likeness of Jesus Christ and enables us to grow in our relationship with God, knowing his love at increasing depths and experiencing rich fellowship with him.

The study of Spiritual Formation at Gordon-Conwell is intentionally kaleidoscopic, taking an interdisciplinary approach that mines resources from biblical studies, theology, church history, the arts, literature, counseling, and spiritual direction. We endeavor to equip students with a spiritual toolbox filled with ministry principles, models, methods, and skills that they can put to use for a lifetime. With an emphasis on discovering one’s unique God-given design, we help students catch a clearer sense of their vocational and spiritual identity, discern their calling for the sake of the church, become equipped to persevere in the midst of challenges and obstacles, and grow in attentiveness to God. Students learn how to develop integrated models for ministry that engage the whole person and bring coherence between theology, spirituality, and practice.

This certificate program is ideal preparation for:

  • Counseling
  • Leadership in Congregational Formation
  • Director of Spiritual Formation
  • Director of Discipleship
  • Corporate Worship Leader
  • Theology & the Arts
  • Wilderness, Camp, Conference, & Retreat Ministries
  • College Ministry
  • Life Coaching
  • Spiritual Director (additional training through our partner Selah)


Six courses (18 credits): 4 Required & 2 Elective

Spiritual Formation for Ministry

Prioritizing spiritual formation is a fundamental ingredient to healthy ministry, academic, and workplace relations. This course will equip you to develop a vibrant spiritual and active devotional life with Christ. Learn about the multi-disciplinary nature of spiritual formation from biblical, theological, historical, liturgical, experiential, and literary perspectives. Look closely at the life of Christ as a model for developing healthy spiritual patterns and conduct case studies to observe practices from historic Christian figures for developing a robust personal spiritual discipline.

Dynamics of Spiritual Life

Dynamics of Spiritual Life (CH/SF591) draws on the biblical Creation-Redemption narrative, training students in LifeStory Exegesis,™ a model of Christian spirituality that can be used in personal renewal, spiritual formation, direction, discipleship, mentoring, and counseling.

Spiritual Formation Course in Church History (Select One)

C.S. Lewis’ Life, Works, and Spirituality (CH/SF667)
Medieval Spirituality (CH/SF618)
Reformation Era Spirituality (CH​/SF/TH619)

Spiritual Formation Course in Counseling (Select One)

Cross-Cultural Counseling (CO/WM712)
Group Process (CO/PC/SF711)
Ministering to Women in Pain (​SF/CO/MC642)

Spiritual Formation Electives (Select Two)

Cross-Cultural Counseling (CO/WM712)
C.S. Lewis’ Life, Works, and Spirituality (CH/SF667)
Global Christian Spirituality & Leadership (CL/SF510)
Group Process (CO/PC/SF711)
Medieval Spirituality (CH/SF618)
Ministering to Women in Pain (​SF/CO/MC642)
Pastoral Counseling (PC511)
Reformation Era Spirituality (CH​/SF/TH619)
Spiritual Formation & the Arts (SF860)


Students in the Spiritual Formation Certificate are required to complete four personal retreats (for low-residency students, these may be in their local area) and two semesters of a supervised spiritual formation practicum through one of the following:

  • Mentored ministry
  • A LifeStory Exegesis™ small group (for residential students)
  • A Pierce Center soul care group
  • A discipling relationship through the Discipleship Experience Program
  • A certificate in spiritual direction through programs such as Selah

Further Study

In Fall 2021, Gordon-Conwell will begin offering a concentration in Spiritual Formation for two of our MA programs: the MA in Christian Ministry (MACM) and the MA in Theological Studies (MATS). The Certificate in Spiritual Formation provides a foundation for both degree programs and all certificate courses can be applied toward the MACM or MATS.


Visit our tuition page for information on tuition rates and financial aid.

* All students can expect to receive some form of financial assistance. Most students qualify for the scholarship listed here. Reach out to our admissions team (using the form below) to see if you qualify for this or any other scholarships or financial assistance. Unfortunately, our Graduate Certificates are not eligible for federal aid. 

Have Questions?

Someone from our friendly admissions team would be happy to reach out to you.