Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership

Masters of Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership (MACSFL) is designed as a personal growth, academic and professional program for both lay people and people in professional ministry. You will receive the tools and resources for developing a framework for spiritual formation, while building a stronger theological foundation.

As an intensive, integrative program within the Apprentice Institute for Christian spiritual formation at Friends University, you will have the opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in the field of Christian spiritual formation. Distinguished faculty members researching and authoring in the field include James Bryan Smith, Scot McKnight, Jan Johnson, Keith Matthews, Keas Keasler, A.J. Swoboda, J.R. Briggs, and Tim Keel.

The MACSFL is a 33-credit program that follows a hybrid design (18 credits online, 15 credits via residency) and is founded on the teachings of Dallas Willard, and the James Bryan Smith Triangle of Transformation. The curriculum is delivered though cohort groups of students who progress through the degree requirements sequentially, which includes online coursework, retreats, seminars and workshops.

Learning Environment

This program is committed to a high Christology within an orthodox theological framework. We strive to encourage formation into a Christ-centered way of life, with a view to cultivate spiritual habits and virtues. Our faculty and instructors have high respect for our common heritage and ancient Christian tradition.

It’s not all head knowledge with us. You will experience a program with academic rigor and excellence, yet practical and experiential at all levels of instruction. Each student will have access to a spiritual director during residency, and on an ongoing basis throughout the entire program.

One of the greatest components of the MACSFL program is the relationships. The closed cohort format facilitates a deep sense of community and accountability. Students don’t just learn together – they “do life” together. This happens through a variety of approaches, including on-site retreats, small groups, conference events and online discussion forums.

This program is designed to fit into your life, but will require significant time in your weekly schedule. You will learn the dynamics of the Online Learning Community and the systems needed for success in the program. The Fall 2017 application deadline is June 15, 2017. We will accept applications for Fall 2018 starting October 1, 2017.

Barb Shaw, Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership

What really impressed and surprised me is what the program taught me about community and how we go about growing in community – it’s Jesus’ idea for the way we should live.

Barb Shaw, Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership


  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of Christian spiritual formation through rhythms and practices leading to a Christ-centered, with-God life.
  • Demonstrate an approach to building vibrant, sustainable spiritual formation in various ministry contexts.
  • Demonstrate the ability to cultivate community with people from various backgrounds through real, long-term relationships.

View Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership Courses