The Spiritual Formation Program (SFP) is a structured yet flexible teaching-learning scheme aimed at accompanying the Seminary curriculum in preparing persons to be “healthy and faithful religious leaders for ministries in church and society” (Working Group Report). It permeates the student’s five-year journey in an ever-widening and ever-deepening educational spiral to help them become more certain of their “call” to be pastors, more sensitive of the objective conditions surrounding the communities of faith where they live and move and have their being,” more discerning of the “Voice of God” and what that “voice” impels them to do, more able to confront the challenges and rigors of ministerial preparation. The program helps to develop in them the penchant for servant leadership.
Couched in the exhortation of Isaiah (Isa. 50: 4-10), the Spiritual Formation Program provides the Seminary students with educational opportunities for faith, for healing for self-actualization, for decisions.
Because the Program seeks to be holistic and integrative, its curriculum is driven and shaped by the imperatives of the Christian faith, the needs and expectations of the local congregations, the demands of the institutional church and the academic locale, the “hopes and fears” of the students. The approach to learning is relational. The methodology is experiential and reflective. The outcome is becoming while in relationship which is always in search of the “fundamentally new and better” (Dr. Lester Edwin Ruiz). The active involvement of all the stakeholders in the Program (students, faculty and staff of the Seminar, local church members, the University family, the leadership of the institutional church) is, therefore, a necessary ingredient if the Program is to reach its avowed goals.
The Program is facilitated by a Spiritual Formation Program Director drawn from the faculty. It is important that the Director is on the teaching staff of the Seminary so that he/she has established relationships with the students in a classroom. A plus factor would be the Director’s active membership in a local church so that he/she is familiar with the dynamics and expectations of the church. It is essential that the Director is conversant with the socio-economic and political milieu in order for him/her to help the learners bridge the “Word and the World.”