Traveling with Students, Forming their Faith

How does a student grow? A new book released this summer from Abilene Christian University Press entitled, “Building a Culture of Faith: University-wide Partnership for Spiritual Formation” explores that question and Greg Carmer, dean of the chapel, has contributed a chapter entitled, “Tour Guides, Translators and Traveling Companions: How Faculty Contribute to the Spiritual Formation of Students.”

The collection consists of 14 original essays organized in three sections: Institutional Influences on Spiritual Formation; Exploring Spiritual Formation; and Implementation, Praxis, and Models. Carmer’s chapter falls in the last category and in it he argues, “that the spiritual formation of students is a responsibility of all faculty and that the classroom affords a fitting and appropriate context in which that contribution can be made. I also try to explore the challenges that many faculty face in making this contribution and offer three metaphors—those of Tour Guides, Translators and Traveling Companions—for understanding how faculty can play critical roles in influencing the spiritual formation of our college students.”

Here’s how the the publisher describes the book: “Contemporary Christian universities claim that students grow spiritually while enrolled, yet very little work has been done exploring the influences of various parts of the university on student spiritual formation, especially, but not limited to, the impact of faculty. Building a Culture of Faith addresses the unique role faculty and others play in student spiritual formation, including historical and contemporary approaches; sets out a framework for understanding spiritual formation as it is practiced in the Christian university; and provides practical models for the roles the university plays in the spiritual formation of students.”

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