The Spiritual Formation and Companioning Program is a hybrid (in-person and online) two-year certificate program hosted by the Center for Innovation in Ministry and Mission (Community of Christ Seminary). SFCP is designed as a formational experience for those who desire to learn more about spiritual formation and develop resources, gifts, and skills for spiritual companionship and leadership in their local contexts. This program is currently offered only in English.
Deepen Your Spiritual Journey
The Spiritual Formation and Companioning Program is a transformative journey in the pattern of Christ for the sake of God’s shalom!
$1920 USD per participant
($960 USD per year or $320 USD per course.)
Hear from Past SFCP Participants
This experience was life changing for me and continues to strengthen my conviction that God is so much “more” than any human mind can or will ever understand. Our minds and hearts must become one on this journey. Being spiritually formed is a gift from God, and we are all called to be trailblazers and, in our own unique ways, explore the inner depths of who God calls us to be. The spiritual companioning skills have become vital in my current leadership roles within my mission center as well as in my ministry as a High Priest. I’ve even found them quite useful with my growing grandchildren. After all, being a grandmother to special needs teenagers…listening, loving, and sharing with them…is also a spiritual practice, and spiritual practices are how we give back to God. —Cheryl Saur
SFCP was instrumental in helping me to get out of my shell, and into the lives of others. During the pandemic I kept our congregation engaged in spiritual practices via email. I have taken the lead in some zoom experiences like Covenant Discipleship Group. All in all, I am more connected with my brothers and sisters, and more invested in their spiritual health and well-being. —Sheila Kunzweiler
SFCP was a life-changing experience, challenging me to move out of my comfort zone! The learning opportunities, time for spiritual formation, and companionship experienced during our time together provided a wonderful foundation for being a spiritual companionship with others. —Pam Robison
As a graduate of SFCP Cohort 1, I feel more prepared to function in the priesthood office of evangelist. From deep listening to discernment and much more, the practices and skills have had immediate application in my ministry. I highly recommend it!! —Jane Gardner
The Spiritual Formation program had a tremendously positive impact in my life: My ministry with others is enriched: depth of theological understanding and people appreciation; quality and authenticity of compassion for Others (including the earth); improved listening skills, and probably most significant of all is my closer relationship with God – the Source of who I am and of what I have to offer. —Lorrie Long
A Transformative Experience
Being spiritually formed is foundational to obtaining a clear and compelling vision of mission. A compelling sense of mission springs from the overflow of deep communion with the Spirit.
Hunger for the Holy, longing for relationship with God is a universal human quality. The longing for spiritual connection and “home” is deep and pervasive in our world. God yearns for our wholeness and calls us into relationship and response. God wants shalom (justice, reconciliation, wellbeing, wholeness, and peace) for all of creation. God’s shalom is embodied in persons and communities through a deepening relationship with the Divine that reshapes our identity and calls us to compassionate action, healing, and peacemaking in the pattern of Christ. Holistic spiritual formation is centered in God and transforms every dimension of human personhood and community. The need is great for people who sense the call to listen more deeply to themselves, others, God, and creation as the source of action and response in the world.
All who are interested in exploring and deepening their spiritual journey are invited to apply! Acceptance will require the willingness and ability to be present onsite at the Temple in Independence as well as participate in online classes throughout the two year period. There are no educational requirements or pre-requisites to apply, but the ability to access the internet, use a computer, complete assigned readings, and write reflection papers is necessary for participation in this program.
The program includes online content and community opportunities.
- Online Courses begin in January 2024 and end in December 2025. See course descriptions under the “Outcomes" tab to learn more.
- Monthly Online Covenant Community Meetings.
The program includes three in-person gatherings. Meals are provided. Housing is not included.
- Orientation Retreat at the Temple in Independence, MO, USA, from 20–22 October 2023
- Year 1 Gathering at the Temple in Independence, MO, USA, from 21–25 October 2024
- Year 2 Gathering at the Temple in Independence, MO, USA, from 20–24 October 2025
Participants will gain knowledge and skills in the history, tradition, and practice of Christian spiritual formation through experiential and academic learning, worship, small group communities, Spiritual Direction, and spiritual practices during this two-year program. The six courses offered through SFCP are intended to take the participant from personal spiritual exploration to advanced topics of spiritual companionship and leadership. SFCP embraces an integrated approach of learning and forming with practice, relationship, prayer, body, mind, and spirit.
Participants will receive 18 CEUs for completion of all six courses.
Spiritual Formation and Transformation
8 January–27 April 2024
SFCP describes the process of Christian spiritual formation as a “transformative journey in the pattern of Christ for the sake of God’s shalom.” This course is both an introduction and an invitation into the study, history, practice, and integration of spiritual formation as a foundational element of Christian discipleship, ministry, and leadership. Through personal, experiential engagement and critical study and reflection, participants are encouraged to tend their own spiraling inward/outward journeys while gaining tools and resources to support others in spiritual growth and transformation.
Contemplation and Action–Mystics and Movements of the Christian Tradition
6 May–24 August 2024
Throughout the centuries, the mystics and spiritual leaders of the Christian tradition have emphasized that the greatest test of spiritual authenticity and integrity is transformation and compassionate action in everyday life. This course introduces participants to significant mystics (including their contributions to the Christian spiritual tradition) and movements throughout history that have shaped Christianity through the primary lens of an integrated life that embodies a rhythm of contemplation and action.
September–December 2024 (includes in-person gathering 21–25 October 2024)
Deep Listening is at the heart of spiritual companionship. Though we “hear” every day, deep listening is a ministry gift and skill that tends to the presence of the Spirit in “all things”, people, and circumstances. Spiritual companions learn how to listen deeply to others, self, God, and the world around them. Deep Listening is also at the heart of discernment, a vital skill of spiritual leaders.
Discernment in Communities and Systems
Building on foundations from Deep Listening, learners will explore what discernment looks and feels like on a communal level as both participant and facilitator. Using a primarily Ignatian model of discernment, this course offers the experience of a discernment process, attention to group dynamics in discernment, and insights from systems theory that support communal and social change as disciples seek to follow God’s call in their lives and the world.
This course will engage the “self” of the spiritual companion/leader through integration of self, calling, and vocation within one’s context. Participants will explore models of spiritual diversity, ministerial myths and narratives, and theories of spiritual and human development as part of a journey of discovering and living from “the true self in God.” The framework of the Benedictine Rule of Life will serve as a guide for everyday praxis of an integrated life and leadership style.
Companioning Diverse Communities and Contexts
September–December 2025 (includes in-person gathering 20–24 October 2024)
The culminating course of SFCP focuses on application of skills, gifts, and callings into one’s own ministry context. Attention is given to spiritual facilitation, environment, ethics, and diversity of contexts. Participants explore a variety of ways they can live into the call to spiritual companionship and leadership through examples from previous cohorts, current opportunities in Community of Christ, and discernment of their own call to ministry.
In addition to the 6 courses, participants can also expect:
At the heart of SFCP is a small group formation rhythm (modeled after Community of Christ’s Covenant Discipleship Groups) and experience. The purpose of covenant communities is to ground participant’s experience relationally, emphasize the importance of sacred community for spiritual companions, demonstrate and engage spiritual practice and deep listening skills with other learners, receive mentorship and support from the Covenant Community Leader, and learn a particular small group formation model through consistent experience that can be applied in local ministry contexts.
Monthly Spiritual Direction
It is important for the integrity and continued growth of spiritual companions to be in relationship with a spiritual director. Therefore, it is required of participants to find and sustain a Spiritual Direction relationship during their time in the program. Spiritual Direction is a one-on-one relationship of holy listening and attention to the Spirit in the lives of participants and is intended to serve as an important place to pay attention to inner stirrings, tend to their own soul and callings, and process anything that surfaces throughout their time in the program.
Core Spiritual Practices
While SFCP promotes encountering the Sacred through varied and abundant practices of prayer, the curriculum deliberately focuses on four core practices of the Christian tradition; The Prayer of Examen, Lectio Divina, Centering/Contemplative Prayer, and Holy Attention. Focused attention on these four practices enables the participant to have deep and consistent experience with each practice to be able to grasp their origin/history, purpose, and structure, and to identify inner movements related to ongoing practice more deeply. Participants will leave SFCP with appreciation for a myriad of spiritual practices but will have developed the experience and skill to facilitate the four core practices in a variety of settings.
Presentations by a variety of skilled leaders
We will include guest presenters from Community of Christ Seminary, the Community of Christ Spiritual Formation Team, as well as a variety of presenters who are experts in the field of Christian spiritual formation.
Those who complete the full two years will receive a certificate in Spiritual Companionship and Leadership from Center for Innovation in Ministry and Mission, Community of Christ Seminary.
To receive the certificate, participants are required to:
- Engage in ongoing discernment of call to spiritual companionship and leadership.
- Participate in assigned small group communities
- Engage in one-on-one spiritual direction with a qualified director
- Complete assigned readings and assignments
- Attend all in-person and online gatherings
- Complete a final project based on application of spiritual formation skills in a local context
- Complete one personal two night silent retreat (year 2)