Spiritual Discernment

MS 3XD3/5XD5/6XD6

Winter 2019

Where is God at work in your life, or in the people, church, community, or culture around you? How can you recognize God at work or discern where he is leading? Every individual, person in ministry, Christian professional or academic needs spiritual discernment and capacity for skillful theological reflection.

This course leads toward awareness of theory, methodology, practice, and the viability of spiritual discernment and theological reflection, whether for ministry, professional or academic work, or personal life. Discernment and reflection is critical to gaining perspective on one’s vocation, as the earliest inklings of vocation shift to the realities of lived life and changing perspectives connected with aging or changed circumstances. In this course, you will develop awareness and understanding of discernment as discovered in literature, Christian biography, biblical characters or events, professional or institutional study, and personal experience. Students select the specific resources that are most pertinent to their own development, their own ministry or profession, and their own program at MDC. Through pursuing spiritual discernment in these various areas, students also develop skills in theological reflection, both of which are crucial to personal spiritual wholeness, professional effectiveness, and successful leadership. Final papers and projects in this course are shaped to the student’s own personal, ministerial, or professional needs and interests, and can be done at any MDC degree course level.


  • Explore contemporary and historical perspectives on spiritual discernment.
  • Become familiar with theories and methodologies of theological reflection.
  • Discover ways of engaging in discernment and reflection that are relevant for life, ministry, or vocation.


  • Be shaped by the practice of developing skills in theological reflection.
  • Be moved by increased awareness of God’s leading in historical lives and situations.
  • Be transformed in small ways through attentive interaction with biblical, historical, literary, and current individuals or scenarios.


  • Practice theological reflection and spiritual discernment through weekly postings related to literature, Christian biography, biblical characters or events, relevant church or institutional or professional events, and personal experience.
  • Increase your own capacity for discernment and theological reflection through thoughtful online responses and in-class discussions.
  • Develop your own understanding of or approach to spiritual discernment and theological reflection through a final paper or project, shaped towards your own area of professional, ministerial, or academic need.