“Covenant Discipleship” reborn as “Spiritual Formation”

Sep 7

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:49 AM  RssIcon

Wesley Theological Seminary’s urban Washington, DC location provides countless opportunities for service to the world. In fact, starting in Fall 2011, service is built into the curriculum.

Spiritual Formation for the Practice of Ministry, a required first year course at Wesley, was formerly called “Covenant Discipleship” and has been a part of the Masters of Divinity program at Wesley for approximately 10 years. The purpose of the class is to introduce students to the sustained practice of spiritual disciplines and provide a model of mutual accountability.

There are several components to the class. One component breaks two class sections into small groups of five-to-eight students that come together to write a covenant addressing how their cohort will learn the spiritual disciplines that they will take with them into ministry.

Then, once a week, students will make a trip down to Wesley’s Mount Vernon Square location in the heart of downtown DC to learn compassion, justice, worship and devotion in the context of the continually changing Chinatown neighborhood in the heart of the city. This will include standard classroom lectures, but also a meal and worship together once per month at one of our partner churches, including Mount Vernon Place United Methodist, Asbury United Methodist and Galbraith African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

These projects, designed to get students out into the community to serve, might include face-to-face opportunities serving breakfast or lunch at a local soup kitchen or hands-on activities like stocking food pantry shelves or putting together food packages. They could also include putting together a website or creating marketing brochures for programs that don’t have time for this work in their normal operations.

The revised curriculum is one more step in Wesley’s endeavors to ensure that our students are equipped to “do good well.” Encouraging them to become involved in the practical aspects of ministry early in their seminary career will ensure that they walk into their first ministries prepared to encourage congregations in their ministry to the world.

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