In their first year, all seminarians meet monthly with a mentor who is an active pastor or other Christian leader. In this relationship, the seminary students have opportunities to ask questions regarding the practicalities of ministry, to observe the work/life balance of a busy Christian professional, and to process the theological learning they are receiving from the classroom into the praxis of ministry.
A particular distinctive of Seattle Pacific Seminary’s approach to formation is that seminarians also participate in weekly small groups for transformational discipleship. Each group has five to seven people (including a faculty or staff participant) and is facilitated by a second-year student who is trained to be a “class leader.” The model for these groups is the Wesleyan method of communal Christian formation (called “class meetings”).
In these meetings, group members “watch over one another in love,” by asking one another the question, “How is it with your soul?” The purpose of this question is more than merely a spiritual inventory; rather, we answer the question with the goal of fostering a vibrant love for God and neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40) while interacting with the study of theology.
Another distinctive of discipleship at SPS is our conviction that Christian formation must engage our increasingly multiethnic context. Class meetings are often multiethnic and thereby create an environment in which our students encounter an embodiment of God’s new creation (Revelation 7.9).
Ultimately, we want our students to thrive as followers of Jesus Christ during their time as seminarians and to be prepared for a lifetime of effective Christian leadership in the 21st century.