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D.Min. Track: Spiritual Formation and Soul Care


Pastors and Christian leaders are invited into an in-depth exploration and understanding of personal spiritual growth and how to assist others in the process. We have all grown and have witnessed others’ transformation. But we may have hit walls in our own spiritual life or see others and wonder, “Where are the rivers of living water? Why is my spiritual life so dry? Why do I and others struggle with prayer? God, where are you? What is wrong with me? Or what is wrong with my people? Why is spiritual growth so slow?” Or perhaps you are excited about your ministry and spiritual growth and those around you, but you just want to understand and participate in the process more deeply. How does change actually happen? What is God doing when he seems close and when he seems far away? What is the process of spiritual growth and how does the Spirit genuinely transform persons? What is going on in prayer and how can we better participate in this? What is the role of teaching, preaching, and being with others in spiritual development? How can individuals and churches experience deep, long-lasting transformation?

For over twenty-five years, Dr. John Coe, Director of Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation (ISF), has been a pioneer in developing an evangelical, gospel-centered approach to spiritual formation and soul care. He is now offering his experience and training beyond the halls of academia to those who are shepherding and leading in the church through our first ever D.Min. track in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. Under the mentoring of Dr. Coe and other faculty at ISF such as Drs. Judy TenElshof, Betsy Barber and Kyle Strobel, you will learn to integrate the foundational teachings of scripture, the riches of the historical Christian tradition, along with the disciplines of philosophy, psychology and theology. You will also enter thoughtfully and meaningfully into your own unique process of spiritual formation, and also learn to skillfully shepherd others through this dynamic growth process.

Next Available Track: Spring 2027

Application Deadline

November 1, 2026 (Openings available)

Residency Dates

  • May 27–June 7, 2024 
  • June 2–13, 2025
  • June 1–12, 2026

The Strategy

Year One – Spiritual Theology and Formation for Soul Care

During your first year in the program, Dr. Coe will help you to develop a robust spiritual theology which will assist you into authentic spiritual growth and soul care. You will explore the practical dynamics of living the New Covenant life “in Christ” and “in the Spirit.” You will also look honestly at the various motivations at work in our spiritual lives—guilt, shame, moralism, legalism, lawlessness, and sin dynamics of the heart – and how the Spirit has worked in our lives to reveal these matters to us and transform us. And you will be equipped to enter into and lead others into a life of honest prayer, surrender, and peace in the context of group mentoring led by ISF faculty as we as group retreat.

Year Two – Spirit, Prayer, and Listening for the Care of Souls

During your second year, Dr. Coe will help you to develop a practical pneumatology to understand how the Spirit actually works in believers’ lives so that we can cooperate with his work and presence in prayer and obedience rather than resist it. You will gain a developmental understanding of the spiritual life which recognizes how the Spirit works through seasons of dryness, trials, consolation, and dark nights of the soul. You will also learn how to open to God in prayer in the various seasons of the soul through praying the Psalms and other various forms of prayer that assist the soul in responding to God. You will also be trained in the care of souls through spiritual discernment and listening to God and others in both individual and group settings led by ISF faculty.

Year Three – Prayer and Soul Care in Preaching and a Rule of Life

During your third year, you will learn to order both your life and ministry towards long-term spiritual health and vitality. You will be taught to preach and teach in such a way that both aids your own spiritual growth and leads others into more prayerful and integrated lives before God. You will learn to watch out for burnout and anxiety by developing a Christian “rule of life” that is reasonable for your life as a leader and follower of Jesus.

The Faculty Mentor

John Coe

Dr. John Coe (Ph.D., University of California, Irvine) is the director and founder of Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation and is a professor of spiritual theology at Talbot. Combining rigorous scholarship with spiritual sensitivity, Dr. Coe specializes in spiritual formation and soul care for the sake of personal growth and formation in the classroom and in the church. He has authored multiple articles, co-authored Psychology in the Spirit: Contours of a Transformational Psychology, co-edited Embracing Contemplation: Reclaiming a Christian Spiritual Practice, and has a forthcoming book on prayer.

Guest Mentors

Judy TenElshof

Dr. Judy TenElshof (Ph.D., Fuller Marriage and Family Program) is a professor of Spirituality and Marriage and Family at Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation. She is also the director of the Spiritual Formation Core for all Talbot students. She also trains spiritual directors at ISF, is the founder of Hilltop Renewal Center and is a retreat director to pastors, faculty, pastoral staffs, marriages, mission organizations and corporations. She co-edited Women and Men in Ministry, and authored several journal articles and chapters.

Betsy Barber

Dr. Betsy Barber (Psy.D., Rosemead School of Psychology) is an associate professor of Spirituality and Psychology at Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation and director of ISF’s spiritual direction training. She is a trained clinical psychologist with an interest in integrating Christian spirituality, mental health and missions, as well as in training and supervising believers in spiritual direction and other forms of soul care.

Kyle Strobel

Dr. Kyle Strobel (Ph.D., Aberdeen) is an associate professor of Spiritual Theology at Talbot School of Theology, and is the author of Beloved Dust, The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb, Formed for the Glory of God, and a forthcoming book on prayer.

Learn more about the Institute of Spiritual Formation programs at Biola University.

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