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The purpose of this study is to establish and address the need for a graduate course, “Intimacy with God: Practicing the Presence of God,” among seminary students that includes experiential learning in regards to growing a deeper relationship with God. This project argues that scriptural knowledge alone cannot fulfill students’ needs for the intimacy they seek with God. This premise will be tested among the seminarians at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

This project will be presented in three parts. Part One exegetes the culture of Regent University Divinity School, revealing the diversity among students and faculty. It also describes the need that exists among the student body for a deeper relationship with God. Part Two offers the theological basis for spiritual intimacy among seminarians. Here the concept of intimacy is defined, and its necessity in the life of the seminary student is supported by Scripture. Scripture also is used to establish the manner in which intimacy can be achieved. The spiritual lives of the saints from the past, examples of revivals, and today’s spiritual openness and receptivity to God’s invitation also are examined. The final part outlines the strategy for helping students move into an intimate relationship with God. The role of worship, specific spiritual disciplines, and the church community are set forth. The role of the instructor is defined, and the instructor’s needs in preparation are identified. Part Three also explains the course design, its purpose, and its implementation. This discussion also evaluates the course’s effectiveness. Student feedback and general insights from this project will guide future revisions and teaching of this class.

Content Reader: Tom Schwanda, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Schwanda, Tom

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Regent University; Spiritual formation; Theological seminaries; Curricula; Immanence of God


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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