Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Terry Huffman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Karen Buchanan, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Dane Joseph, Ph.D.


Spiritual formation has always been of utmost importance in Christian education as faithbased institutions strive to educate the whole person; body, mind, and spirit. Because of this, Christian universities work to create programs and provide activities that challenge the minds and hearts of the students in order to promote spiritual growth. This study seeks to answer the following question: What does a phenomenological analysis of the lived experiences of students at a Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) institution reveal about their perceptions of the spiritual formation priorities of the institution? Stated another way, what do students report about their lived experiences in relation to the spiritual formation practices at their institution? This research captured a glimpse of the spiritual formation programming at Pacific Northwest Christian University, or PNCU (pseudonym), as six students shared their experiences through a process of interviews.

As the interview data and field notes were analyzed, four themes emerged from the research: Classes and professors impacted their spiritual growth, a sense of community was important to their well-being and spiritual formation, faculty and staff provided a platform for spiritual mentoring, and communal worship in various formats was meaningful. These themes proved consistent with the literature, and offered a snapshot of the overall health of the spiritual formation paradigm at the institution. As a result of this research, a few suggestions were formulated as to how the university could continue to improve its offerings of spiritually formative experiences, and offered insight into potential further study.