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Lloyd Irwin

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Seminaries across the globe share a deep concern to address the formational needs of students during training for ministry. However, trainees, faculty and churches alike report that despite the best intentions, spiritual formation remains one of the greatest areas for improvement in seminary experience today. This study identifies the source of this dilemma to be several pressures on and assumptions about seminaries, both internal and external, which conspire to marginalize and trivialize formation. These forces must be overcome to provide adequately for the formational needs of trainees during training.

This study was sparked by 10 years’ experience with the search, design and oversight of a more effective formation process for the Australian College of Ministries (hereafter, ACOM) in Australia. The experience highlighted the need for a more considered and robust academic foundation for formation, which this study aims to provide. It argues for a broad view of spiritual formation based on Jesus’ holistic approach to equipping his disciples. It sets out to understand the pressures and assumptions which alienate formation in seminaries and seeks ways to overcome them. It tackles the difficult issues of accreditation and assessment which must be overcome for formation to be given the exposure it deserves.

The solution is offered in the form of three accredited core subjects for the curriculum at ACOM but is offered in the hope it may be of use to other seminaries on a similar quest. The strategy provides an intentional process to synthesize the academic study, ministry practice and life experience of trainees in a way which grasps and cooperates with the formational work of God. In so doing, it is hoped that seminaries will be better equipped to meet the formational expectations of churches, faculty and trainees during the critical years of training.

Content Reader: Dr. Richard Peace

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Peace, Richard

Document Type





Australian College of Ministries (Australia); Students; Curriculum; Spiritual formation


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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