Friends University launches master’s in spiritual formation

Friends University is offering a new graduate program intended to provide lay people, pastors, church staff and ministry leaders the tools and resources to develop a framework for spiritual formation while growing personally and spiritually as well.

The Master of Arts in Christian Spiritual Formation and Leadership (MACSFL) is a two-year graduate program that combines online learning with on-site sessions. Graduates will be able to:
• 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.

The 30-hour program begins in the fall with the Apprentice Experience and consists of 15 credits online and 15 credits completed on-site. Combining a balance of academic rigor and experiential learning, it will help students grow deeper in their relationship with God and other like-minded Christians.

Relationships are at the center of the MACSFL program, as students will learn in a closed group designed to promote community and accountability.

“Students will come together through online discussion forums, small groups, conferences and on-site retreats over their two years of study,” said Dr. James Bryan Smith, Associate Professor of Religion and Executive Director of the Apprentice Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. “They won’t just learn together, but will ‘do life’ together.”

The program is founded on the teachings of Dr. Dallas Willard and on the Triangle of Transformation, a model developed by Dr. Smith that emphasizes that people are formed and transformed by narrative, exercises and community. Additional faculty for the program will include: Scot McKnight, Shane Claiborne and Jan Johnson.

For more information about the program, contact 316-295-5300 or

Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.