Spiritual Formation for Ministry Leaders - Doctor of Ministry Program


Spiritual Formation for Ministry Leaders

Informing spiritual passions by…
Forming mentored learning communities, thereby…
Transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime.

Dates and Locations:
Year One: May 20-30, 2025 St. Edmunds Retreat Center, Enders Island, CT, and Hamilton Campus
Year Two: May 18-29, 2026 Minsteracres Retreat Center, NR Consent, Durham, England
Year Three: May 18-28, 2027 St. Edmunds Retreat Center, Enders Island, CT, and Hamilton Campus
Primary Faculty Mentors: Dr. David Currie, Dr. Steve Macchia

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The Doctor of Ministry track in “Spiritual Formation for Ministry Leaders” seeks to equip pastors and other ministry leaders to nurture individual and corporate life with God.

Check out this way that Dave Currie defines spiritual formation.

Spiritual formation is

   the lifelong, faith-filled process

of the Holy Spirit transforming

the whole person

from fallen malformation

into the loving likeness of Christ

—incarnate, crucified, raised,

ascended, & returning—

to the glory of the Father

as informed by the whole Word of God,

in relationship with the whole people of God

to fulfill the whole mission of God.

What do we hope you will gain from participating in this track?… The ability to echo Asaph in your ministry leadership: “But as for me, it is good to be near God.”—Psalm 73:28, as amplified by Abraham Kuyper, the great Dutch evangelical of the turn of the last century: ‘To be “near” is to be so close to God that your eye sees, your heart is aware of, and your ear hears him, and every cause of separation has been removed.’”

For ministry to be truly “pastoral”—shepherding a flock—it must involve the “cure of souls,” including the shepherd’s own. However, pastors and churches (and ministry leaders and ministries in general) tend to overlook this kind of soul work in the press of institutional demands and cultural expectations. The classic spiritual disciplines revolving around attending to God in the Word, prayer, and reflection are neglected for the unspoken, unholy trinity that drives much of the contemporary church: “bodies, buildings, and bucks.”


As a Doctor of Ministry student, you attend three two-week intensive residencies (seminars), one each year for three years. Retreats are very special aspects to each of the three residencies. Two residencies meet one-week at a local retreat center in Mystic, CT and the next on campus in Hamilton. While one residency will take place entirely in Orvieto, Italy.

You also complete projects following each of the three residencies, including a major thesis-project after the third residency. You read widely in books and periodicals, and your reading and research contributes to the residencies and to your current ministry.

Here are some of the books used in these studies before:

  • Casey, Michael. Living the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility. Revised Edition. Triumph Books, 2001.
  • Chan, Simon. Spiritual Theology: A Systematic Study of the Christian Life. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
  • Fryling, Alice. Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction. Downers Grove: IVP, 2009.
  • Heschel, Abraham Joshua. The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
  • Macchia, Stephen. Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way. IVP, 2012.

To purchase these books from Christian Book Distributors, click here gcts.christianbook.com.


Here is how your studies will transform you and your ministry by seeking to fulfill our general Doctor of Ministry goals in some track-specific ways:

  • To resource students through a biblically-grounded educational program taught by faculty who are committed to God’s Word and the application of principles of Scripture to the issues of contemporary culture.
    • Students will be able to explain how all authentic spiritual formation must flow out of the truth of God’s Word and filled with the same Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture.
    • To form in students a sound foundation of theological and biblical inquiry in their professional doctoral program’s specialized track that they are able to integrate into the life of Christian ministry.
    • Students will be able to begin formulating their own “spiritual theology” or “theology of the Christian life” that will inform how they live out their own relationship with God and how they seek to encourage others to do so.
    • “Theologically I am encouraged…. All along the Bible has supported spiritual formation but the curriculum brings clarity to the topic.” — Barbara Peacock, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • To provide students with the skill set and understandings in a specialized area of ministry to such an extent that they can impact their congregation or community more powerfully for God.
    • Students will be able to explain how believers can experience God more fully individually, 1-on-1, and in small and large groups through a variety of classic and contemporary forms of encountering God through Scripture, and will be able to encourage such encounters through wise employment of these skills.
  • To create through the cohort model of the program a dimension of Christian community and spiritual nurturing so that students form strong friendships with one another and enter long-term relationships with the scholars who guide the learning experience.
    • Students will be able to experience corporate dimensions of spiritual formation as the cohort –as a whole and in smaller sub-units– engages in various practices together, both on retreat and in the classroom. The goal will be to encourage everyone to consider one another as “soul friends,” as well as fellow students and scholars.
    • “The relationship with the mentors and the peers in the cohort have been a tremendous blessing. The love and care for others is obvious.” — Barbara Peacock, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • To develop in students a deeper understanding of Christ’s lordship in all areas of life for the common good of the contemporary world.
    • Students will be able to experience and explain the classic Benedictine dictum often etched upon the archway from the chapel to the fields “Work is prayer” and its counterpart on the opposite side, seen when returning from the fields to the chapel: “Prayer is work.”
    • “This track provided a real experience and understudy of God, as well as an education. A very well done track.” — Doug Mitts, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • To cultivate within students through critical reflection and careful research through the residencies and projects an enriched Christian witness in the places of society they are called to serve.
    • Students will be able to bridge the “credibility gap” between what they profess to believe and what they are actually experiencing in their relationship with Christ, leading to more authentic, compelling witness.
    • “This track helped me understand in a practical way practices that foster a well-formed soul.” — Doug Mitts, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009
  • To instill in students a refreshed view of their ministry as it relates to the proclamation of the Gospel among all people.
    • Students will be able to experience and explain that spiritual formation is not a form of sanctified self-help but the foundation of the Great Commission, as they grow in appreciating the reality of Christ’s living presence in their lives: “And surely, I am with you always”—Matthew 28:20
    • “This program has helped me understand that the call to spiritual formation is still relevant in the 21st century.” — Barbara Peacock, D.Min. candidate, cohort 2009

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