About MSFL

Spring Arbor University’s Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Leadership (MSFL) program, offered through the School of Arts and Sciences (Department of Theology) and SAU Online, merges the historic and ecumenical principles of spiritual formation with an evangelical perspective on discipleship and leadership.  The MSFL 36-credit program follows a hybrid design (partially online, partially face-to-face with annual residency) and is founded on the RENOVARE six streams of faith and practice, providing training for ministers, lay persons and others interested in their own formation and those whom they minister.  The curriculum, delivered though cohort groups of students who progress through the degree requirements sequentially includes online coursework, retreats, seminars and workshops.

It’s a program designed to fit into your life, but will require significant time in your weekly schedule. We say this unapologetically, since anything worth doing usually requires prioritizing our time. Time spent in learning spirituality is no exception. It is an online degree designed not only to help you get to know God more, but also your classmates (Cohort) as well as your professors through our creative combination of online interaction and residency experience.



  • Provide a biblical, theological, historical, and psychological framework for understanding spiritual formation and leadership development within a global context.

  • Foster disciplined habits and skills that promote godly character and effective leadership aimed at renewing the Church, engaging the culture, and transforming society.

  • Encourage formation into a Christ-centered way of life, with a view to cultivate spiritual habits and virtues.


  • Commitment to a high Christology within an orthodox theological framework.

  • Evangelically rooted within a Wesleyan orientation yet ecumenical and global in scope.

  • High respect for our common heritage and ancient Christian tradition.

  • Academic rigor and excellence yet practical and experiential at all levels of instruction.

  • Communal and Relational in focus through cohort model design and residency requirement.


  • A combination of online and face-to-face learning experiences.

  • Three one-week, face-to-face intensive seminars are scheduled during the program.

  • Each course decidedly emphasizes both practical and experiential learning components.

  • Utilizes a Cohort group model for community and small group formation.

  • Each student is required to see a spiritual director on an ongoing basis throughout the entire program.

  • Each student is expected to fulfill a series of personal retreat requirements throughout the duration of the program.