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Spiritual Formation with Youth and Emerging Adults

January 21 – February 28, 2019

Instructor: Rev. Dr. David MacDonald
Course Fee: $200.00 (includes 2 CEUs)

Recent well-respected studies have shown a rise among youth and emerging adults of a group known as the “nones.” Fewer young people are concerned with traditional organized forms of religion than members of previous generations. The same studies have shown, however, that young people today are as interested or more interested than any generation before them in exploring their spiritual lives. The term “spiritual but not religious” has never been more relevant than among the current generation of 18-26 year olds in the U.S. Churches and other ministries of spiritual formation can help open young people to the depth of resources available to them in the Christian spiritual tradition. Much of what entails “spiritual formation with youth and emerging adults” is developmental in nature, rather than focusing specifically on the current Millennial generation. Thus, insights into faith development and maturity can provide a long-term approach to spiritual formation with this group that draws upon the ancient traditions of the Church.

This course will help pastors, youth leaders, campus ministers, chaplains, and others who work with youth and emerging adults find new ways to help young people who are on a spiritual journey.

Rev. David MacDonald, DMin

David MacDonald is a native of Akron, Ohio, and serves as the University Chaplain at Ohio Northern University, located in Ada, Ohio. He is a 2014 graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (DMin in Spiritual Formation), a 2002 graduate of Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MDiv), and a 1999 graduate of Mount Union College (BA). In addition to being the chaplain at ONU, David also serves as an adjunct instructor in the department of philosophy and religion, teaching practical courses in the Youth Ministry major. Prior to coming to ONU, he served churches in Niles, Marshallville, and Edison, Ohio, and in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. His reading and research interests include: the spirituality of youth and emerging adults, group spiritual direction, vocational discernment, and the relationship between place/landscape and spiritual formation. He has recently had an article on group spiritual direction with emerging adults published in Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, and has a chapter on vocational discernment in The Prophetic Voice and Making Peace: Theological Reflection on Collegiate Ministry. His first book, Introducing Eight Classical Spiritual Practices to Collegiate Ministry, is due to be published by The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church in late 2018. David has been married to his wife, Kelly, for 18 years. They have two children, Rebecca and Daniel, as well as two dogs and a cat. In his spare time, David enjoys spending time with his wife and family, hiking and camping, reading, writing, and knitting.

 Sessions will focus on both developmental issues and spiritual formation issues among this age cohort. Group discussions, reflections, and group practice of spiritual formation exercises will be integral to the course process. Course participants will also choose a resource on spiritual formation for youth and emerging adults and provide a critique of it in light of the learnings of the course. Plan to spend 4-5 hours per week to complete course assignments.

Required reading: David E. MacDonald's Benedict on Campus: Nine Spiritual Disciplines for Collegiate Ministry (Nashville: Wesley's Foundery Books: 2018) ISBN 978-1-945935-24-4

You can withdraw from the course in writing via e-mail to Refunds will be provided according to this schedule:

  • Withdrawals received more than 45 days prior to the course's start date will receive 100% of the amount paid.

  • Withdrawals received between 44 to 30 days prior to the course's start date will receive 75% of the amount paid.

  • Withdrawals received between 29 to 16 days prior to the course's start date will receive 50% of the amount paid.

  • No refunds will be issued for withdrawals received 15 days or less before the course starts.