At Duke Divinity School, we seek to cultivate a unified life of prayer, study, and service. Central to this reality is the experience of spiritual formation through prayer in small groups.

Prayer and ministry are inextricably joined. Through intentional spiritual formation, we become acclimated to the divine longing of our hearts and begin to sense that our lives are being turned ever toward God.

Michael Long headshot in front of Goodson Chapel windows, in dark gray suit and paisley purple tie

"Spiritual formation is essential for holistic wellbeing and requires our intentional focus. Our spiritual formation groups create space for students to cultivate, nurture, and enrich their spiritual life. Spiritual formation encourages and strengthens spiritual disciplines that sustain students throughout their lives and vocational calling."

Spiritual Formation Groups

Residential Students

We prayerfully place each first-year student in the residential M.Div. program (and M.T.S. students who request to join) into a small, intentionally diverse spiritual formation group. These groups are led by local pastors, many of whom are Duke Divinity alumni. Each week, the groups gather to share concerns, to reflect theologically on the nature of Christian discipleship, and, most importantly, to pray together.

Many residential students continue this invaluable first-year experience by participating in a variety of advanced spiritual formation groups and student-initiated prayer groups during their second and third years.

As part of the spiritual formation experience, students are also invited to take time apart from their studies to attend two spiritual retreats, one each semester.

Hybrid Students

Spiritual formation is a key component of all hybrid programs. As students living and working in scattered geographical locations, you will find guidance and support from your cohort and cohort mentor as you integrate your academic learning with your practical and contextual experience. Each cohort is assigned a mentor who will be present with you throughout the program. You will deepen your own spiritual practices by cultivating habits and rhythms for sustaining a lifetime of Christian service. You will also have time, space, and mentoring to discern your future vocation.

About the Director of Spiritual Formation

Rev. Dr. Michael Long, M.Div. ’12, D.Min. ‘18, has more than 38 years of ministry experience, most recently as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Reidsville, N.C. He has served for three years as a spiritual formation instructor and mentor in the Divinity School’s Doctor of Ministry program, since 2014 as a supervisor-mentor in the school’s field education program, and has been a member of the school’s National Alumni Council. He has also served as an instructor and mentor with Hampton University’s Lilly Endowment PRIME Pastoral Leadership Program.

Christina Hershey is the staff specialist for the Office of Spiritual Formation.