Spiritual Formation Information for the Truett Community
- Q: What is spiritual formation, and how is it part of my education at Truett?
A: In Galatians 4:19, Paul writes of his desire that his hearers become “fully formed” in Christ. Christian spiritual formation is the Spirit-driven process wherein God transforms human persons into the likeness of Jesus, the Son. At Truett, we seek to help every student grow in the way and likeness of Jesus. We pursue this goal through these interrelated avenues of instruction: seminar-style classroom teaching, assigned readings, individual practice of Christian spiritual disciplines, personal reflection, and participation in a small fellowship called covenant group.
- Q: I am an incoming/new student. Where do I start?
A: Register for PRTH 7101, and please complete the Truett Seminary Covenant Group Placement Questionnaire. PRTH 7101 01 is for Monday commuter students only. PRTH 7101 02 gathers on Thursdays. As a subset of this course, the Office of Spiritual Formation will place you in a covenant group. You will meet with this group as a requirement of the course, and ideally will continue with your group in subsequent semesters.
- Q: How many credits of Spiritual Formation are required to graduate?
A: The spiritual formation requirement spans work over four semesters. There are three credit hours and a fourth semester retreat. Spiritual Formation is required for all degree tracks (MTS, MA, and MDiv).
- Q: What if I don’t fulfill the requirements of a Spiritual Formation course?
A: You would be required to repeat the course. Ideally, you will progress through the Spiritual Formation program and complete the requirement alongside those in your assigned covenant group. This continuity strengthens community among colleagues, fosters trust, develops friendships, and creates space for mutual edification in the Word.
- Q: What if I forget to register for a Spiritual Formation course as the semester progresses?
A: You can still register for a Spiritual Formation course after the cut off day for class registration if you have been attending class. To do so, you must communicate with the Academic Advising Office. You may be charged a late registration fee. You are responsible for registering for the right course, in the right sequence, for the right semester at the right time to fulfill the Spiritual Formation requirement.
Concerning Covenant Groups
- Q: You mentioned covenant group as one facet of spiritual formation at Truett. What is a covenant group?
A: A covenant group is a small fellowship of students who intentionally pursue spiritual maturity in Christ together. Your experience in this group is a vital aspect of your seminary education at Truett. Your group will follow the course curriculum together, practice the Christian spiritual disciplines, read assigned texts, and discuss your experiences with God. You will be given space to share your testimony with those in your covenant group. You will pray together. You will also encourage, support, and spur one another on to love and good deeds. You will learn to listen to one another and help one another discern God’s voice. You will also assist one another in discerning your vocation, or where God is leading you in life and ministry. This group is guided by a covenant group mentor as part of the Spiritual Formation courses.
- Q: What is a covenant group mentor? Who serves as a covenant group mentor?
A: A covenant group mentor is a person appointed by the Spiritual Formation Office to lead and guide covenant groups. They serve as a member of our faculty. Our mentors are Truett graduates, upper-level Truett students, area ministers, Baylor staff, and others who are spiritually mature Christian leaders who seek to help your group grow in Christ.
- Q: What is the covenant group placement process?
A: Covenant Groups are subsets of the Spiritual Formation courses. When you register for your initial Spiritual Formation course, you will be placed in a smaller subset as part of the course: the covenant group. The Spiritual Formation Office uses the Truett Seminary Covenant Group Placement Questionnaire to inform these decisions. We try to balance affinity with diversity, allowing for common points of connection and ordinary human difference. The covenant group is a microcosm of the body of Christ, a place where we learn from one another how to love our brothers and sisters in Christian fellowship.
- Q: Will I be in the same group throughout my seminary experience?
A: That is the ideal. We have found that continuity optimizes the experience for the group. However, this ideal is not always realized. As you can imagine, good reasons could justify a change to a group, or extenuating circumstances could arise, resulting in a shift. Please be flexible, welcoming, and hospitable should a new member join your group. Also, please help us by doing what you can to maintain continuity not only for yourself, but for your colleagues.
- Q: Is independent study an option?
A: Independent study is an option in extenuating circumstances such as international travel, mentoring, etc. Arrangements and approval for independent study is coordinated by the Assistant Director of Spiritual Formation.
- Q: Can I take more than one Spiritual Formation course at a time in order to finish more quickly? Would that work with my covenant group experience?
A: No. Each semester builds on the previous semester. Spiritual formation is a process that unfolds over time, often slowly. We ask that you plan your course of study with the intent to take each of the Spiritual Formation courses in sequence, alongside and with the peers in your covenant group.
- Q: When do covenant groups meet?
A: Groups meet during the appointed hour for class in accordance with the course syllabus.
- Q: Is it OK for a covenant group to meet off campus?
A: We ask that covenant groups meet on campus. In the event of an emergency involving one of the members of your group, a representative from the Spiritual Formation Office will seek out and communicate with your group. We designate rooms for covenant group meetings for this purpose—student safety, accountability, and consistency. However, we do encourage groups to meet off campus for a meal outside of the time designated for class instruction to strengthen fellowship and deepen friendships.
- Q: What books do I need to purchase for covenant group?
A: The required books for each semester are specified in each course syllabus.
- Q: What is the attendance requirement?
A: The attendance requirement is specified in each course syllabus.
- Q: Who logs attendance?
A: Covenant group mentors log attendance.
Other Questions Pertaining to Spiritual Formation
- Q: I have heard Truett trains people for the ministry of spiritual direction. What is spiritual direction?
A: Spiritual direction is a form of Christian ministry with a long history in the Christian tradition. A Christian spiritual director helps individuals and groups pay attention to God through prayer, holy listening, questions, and loving presence. Spiritual direction may be helpful in discernment, in learning to notice God in daily life, in clarifying areas for potential spiritual growth, and in developing a vocabulary of faith. Spiritual direction is meant to help the directee know God more fully, follow God more faithfully, and increase in confidence in the love of God.
- Q: I am interested in finding a spiritual director. Can you help me?
A: Yes. The Spiritual Formation Office maintains a list of spiritual directors in the area.
- Q: Can you help me find a professional counselor?
A: Yes, we can. Truett students have access to counseling services for students at no additional cost through Baylor’s Counseling Center. The list of counselors is found on Baylor’s website, or you can stop by the Spiritual Formation Office or the Student Services Office to receive more information. A professional counselor may help you navigate a crisis, offer direction if you are suffering mental illness, pursue a personal growth goal, or provide a space for good self-care. The Spiritual Formation Office can also help you pastorally by giving guidance on whether a professional counselor may best serve you regarding your specific need.
- Q: Are there retreats or retreat centers in the area?
A: Yes. When we are aware of retreat opportunities, we pass information along to students on Canvas, Facebook, or by posting information outside the Spiritual Formation Office. We can also provide information about retreat centers in the state of Texas. Contact the Assistant Director of Spiritual Formation for more information.
Spiritual Formation Concentration
- Q: How do I find out more about the concentration in spiritual formation?
Visit with Dr. Angela Reed, Director of Spiritual Formation (Angela_H_Reed@Baylor.edu).