Teaching Two Sections of Spiritual Formation at EPIC Bible College: Fall 2015 :Class Syllabus


Epic Bible College & Graduate School


CM110: Spiritual Formation


Al Soto. MA., Professor

Office Hours: Mondays/Tuesdays 3:00 – 5:00PM or by appointment by phone and Skype alsoto50


e-mail: asoto@epic.edu                         website: www.realgreatness.com


Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/al.headcoach

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pastoal?lang=en




Ministry is service in the name of the Lord. It is bringing the good news to the poor, proclaiming liberty to captives and new sight to the blind, setting the downtrodden free and announcing the Lord’s year of favor (Luke 4:18). Spirituality is paying attention to the Life of the spirit in us; it is going out to the desert or up to the mountain to pray; it is standing before the Lord with open heart and open mind; it is crying out, ‘Abba Father!’ It is contemplating the unspeakable beauty of our loving God.’[1]


 I consider that the spiritual life is the life of [one’s] real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern. The spiritual life is oriented toward God, rather than toward the immediate satisfaction of the material needs of life, but it is not, for all that, a life of unreality or a life of dreams. On the contrary, without a life of the spirit, our whole existence becomes unsubstantial and illusory. The life of the spirit, by integrating us in the real order established by God, puts us in the fullest possible contact with reality — not as we imagine it, but as it really is. It does so by making us aware of our own real selves, and placing them in the presence of God.[2]


Of all the possible requests the disciples made of Jesus, what stands out in the gospels is “Teach us to pray.” There is nothing recorded about requesting Jesus to teach them how to preach, how to build a dynamic leadership team, how to heal the sick, how to discern the future, how to defeat foreign occupiers, or how to relate meaningfully with culture. Why were the disciples so interested in prayer? What did they learn?





This course covers the foundational Biblical truths pertaining to the process of Christian development from the new birth towards maturity in one’s walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. Special emphasis will be given to study in the following areas: cultivating a devotional life, hearing the voice of God, praise and worship, studying the Word of God, commitment to the local church, prayer, fasting, and fruit bearing in the life of the believer.




Upon satisfactory completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the Biblical principles of the growth process of the believer.
  2. Examine one’s own theology of spiritual formation by studying selected scripture passages including those that frame the dynamics of the classical Christian pilgrimage.
  3. Summarize the “disciplines” required for Christian maturity.
  4. Identify with sensitivity the deeper meaning of the scriptures as they are implement in one’s life.
  5. Probe the role of the community in spiritual formation and the outcome of mission and service to others.
  6. Describe in detail how advanced cultures have declined because the moral and spiritual fibers of its people have failed.


III.           TEXTBOOKS


  1. Colburn, Tana Aivaz, Epic MLA Handbook. Epic Bible College,
  2. Print.
  3. Foster, Richard J. Celebration of Discipline, San Francisco: Harper

Publishing, 1998. Print.







  1. Letter grades will be in accordance with the standard grading scale of EBC:


Letter Grade Status
100-93 A Excellent
92-90 A-  
89-87 B+ Above Average
86-83 B  
82-80 B-  
79-77 C+ Average
76-73 C  
72-70 C-  
69-67 D+ Below Average
66-63 D  
62-60 D-  
59 and below F Failing
  1. Late assignments:


  1. The following EBC policy on late assignments will be strictly adhered to:
1-2 days late: 25% deduction
3-5 days late: 50% deduction
6-7 days late: 75% deduction
Over 1 week late: No credit for the assignment
  1. Late assignments may be e-mailed to the professor or may be submitted to the EBC office.

Those assignments turned in at the office MUST be date/time stamped by an office staff member.


  1. Plagiarism policy:


Plagiarism is taken very seriously at EBC.  The consequences of a student plagiarizing the work of others are as follows:

  1. First Offense:
    1. The student will receive a grade of “0” on the assignment that is plagiarized.
    2. A notation will be placed in the student’s permanent file.
    3. The student will be required to take (or retake) either English 1A (EN 110) or the Research

Methods (ED 210) course, successfully completing with a grade of “C” or better.

  1. Second offense:
    1. The student will be expelled from EBC.


  1. Attendance/tardiness policies:
  2. A student may be granted an excused absence only when under a doctor’s care (with documentation) or in case of a family emergency. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate his/her situation to the professor before the class that is missed if at all possible.
  3. Those students with an excused absence may turn their assignments in at the next class period without penalty.
  4. All other students who are absent on dates when assignments are due will be assessed the penalties listed above on their late work. This same policy applies to absences on testing dates.
  5. Students absent on the day of the final may request a make-up if the student fall within

the guidelines according to EBC policy as stated above. The student will be charged a make-up fee.


  1. Poor attendance and tardiness:
  2. A student is counted Tardy until 15 minutes into the class; after 15 minutes, the student will be counted absent. The same policy applies should a student leave before the class session is completed. Attendance points are awarded for being on time to class. If you are tardy you do not receive any points.
  3. Three tardies count as one absence.
  4. According to EBC policy, students are accountable for attending all classes. Students whose absences (tardies plus absences) exceed 2 classes per quarter will be placed on Academic Probation.





Classroom Lectures & discussion                               Attendance @ 5 points = 100 pts

Weekly Reading Assignments                                    10 points x 10 weeks = 100 pts

Two Quizzes’                                                               50 pts

7 page Response paper                                                100 pts.

Mid-Term                                                                    200 pts.

Final Exam                                                                  200 pts.

Total Points Available –                                            750 pts.


All reading assignments are due at the beginning of the next class.  Every week an assignment will be given from Celebration of Discipline.  Attendance is required.





Christian Formation: Integrating Theology & Human Development. Edited by James R. Estep & Jonathan H. Kim Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Academic, 2010.


Benner, David G. Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship and Direction.  Downers Grove, Illinois: Inter Varsity Press, 2002.


Bird, Peter Scazzero with Warren. The Emotionally Healthy Church.  Grand Rapids Michigan: Zondervan, 2003.


Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Life Together: Prayerbook of the Bible  [Originally Published in German as Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke Bande 5]. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works. Edited by Wayne Whitson Floyd Jr 5 vols. Vol. 3, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.


Cloud, Dr. Henery. Integrity: The Courgae to Meet the Demands of Reality.  New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.


Crabb, Larry. Inside-Out.  Colorado, Colorado Springs: Nav Press, 1987.

Guelich, Janet O’ Hagberg and Robert. The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith.  Salem, Wisconsin: Sheffield Publishing Company, 2005.


Henri J.M. Nouwen, Michael J. Christensen, Rebecca Laird Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit.  New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, June 29th 2010.\


Jr., M. Robert Mulholand. Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation.  Downers Grover, Illinois: Inter-Varsity Press, 1993. Spiritual Formation.


Nouwen, Henri J.M. Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life.  New York, New York: Bantam Double-Day Dell Publishing Group, Inc, 1975. Spiritual Life.


———. The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming.  New York, New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc, 1992. Spiritual Life.


Shawchuck, Roger Heuser and Norman. Leading the Congregation.  Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 2010.


Stanley, Andy. Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2012.


Walkemeyer, Kevin W. Mannoia and Larry. 15 Characteristics of Effective Pastors: How to Strengthen Your Inner Core and Ministry Impact.  Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2007


Willard, Dallas. Renovation of the Heart.  Colorado Springs, Colorado: Navpress, 2002.


William Willimin, M. Robert Mulholland Jr., Steve Harper, Marjorie J. Thompson, Bill Hybels,


Reginald Johnson, John David Walt, Jan Johnson, Neil B. Wiseman, Douglas S. Hardy, Morris A. Weigelt, E. Dee Freeborn. The Pastor’s Guide to Personal Spiritual Formation.  Kansas City, Missouri: Beacon Hill Press, 2005.


Wiseman, H.B. London and Neil B. Pastors at Risk.  Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1993.




Week 1 – Aug. 24                   Introduction – To Spiritual Formation

Read Chapter 1 from Celebration of Discipline

Reading due August 31


Week 2 – Aug. 31                   Theology & Practice of Spiritual Formation: Daily Office

Read Chapter 2 from Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Sept. 7


Week 3 – Sept. 7                     Prayer & Fasting

Read Chapter 3 from Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Sept. 14

Quiz #1 25 points


Week 4 – Sept. 14                   Warfare

Read Chapter 4 from Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Sept. 21


Week 5 – Sept. 21                   Hearing God

Read Chapter 5 from Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Sept. 28

7 page response paper assigned:

  1. Subject can be picked from one of the Disciplines

(Example: Prayer, Fasting, meditation, etc…)

  1. You can pick books from the recommended list
  2. Though this is a response paper this Professor would like you to cite all quotes and facts.
  3. I would like a bibliography
  4. Paper will be double spaced
  5. Request work cited page. I might be interested in getting book.

Response paper due on Oct. 12



Week 6 – Sept. 28                  Mid-Term

Lecture on Ethics

Read Chapter 6 of Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Oct. 5



Week 7 – Oct. 5                      Church and Care group

Read Chapter 7 of Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Oct. 12



Week 8 – Oct. 12                    Finances

Read Chapter 8 of Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Oct. 19

Quiz #2 25 points



Week 9 – Oct. 19                    Guidance: In Class Retreat

Read Chapter 9 of Celebration of Discipline

Reading due Oct. 26


Week 10 – Oct. 26                  Evangelism

Read Chapter 10-12 of Celebration of Discipline

Response paper is due Nov. 5

Reading due Nov. 2


Week 11 – Nov. 2                   Final Exam


[1] Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Living Reminder: Service and Prayer in Memory of Jesus Christ. San Francisco:

HarperSanFrancisco, 1977, p 12.

[2] Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island. San Diego: A harvest book/Harcourt, Inc., 1955, 1983, pp. ix-x.

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