Spiritual formation is a topic gaining wide acceptance
as a “growing edge” within many leadership programs in theological education. Students desire it. Professors recognize its role as glue for the whole curricular strategy. Surveys lift up the need for seminary leaders to pay more attention to it. Should seminary boards be attending to spiritual formation, along with their other fiduciary responsibilities?

The quick answer is “yes.” But how? How does a board assess spiritual formation? Or should they even worry about assessing spiritual formation when more concrete things can so easily be measured — critical board responsibilities like budgets, investments, and enrollment numbers?

A good resource to check out is the Spring 2013 edition of Seminary Journal, the publication of the National Catholic Educational Association. The journal’s “Spiritual Direction” issue (Vol. 19, No. 1) takes a Catholic view on spiritual formation, as you would expect. The articles are numerous and rich, and both Protestant and Orthodox communities will certainly find profit reviewing the issue’s pages. In addition, the NCEA has been working on how to assess spiritual formation within the overall curriculum. Boards should pay attention to this important development.

To order a copy of the Spring 2013 Seminary Journal, please email kschmitt@ncea.org. To subscribe, please visit http://www.ncea.org/department/seminary

Image credit: Adapted from "Potter at Work" on Wikipedia