The mission of the Office of Spiritual Development is to faithfully call the Point Loma Nazarene University community to spiritual vitality centered on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Office of Spiritual Development, through relationships and programming, seeks to join the larger university in its mission to teach, shape, and send.
Specifically, the Office of Spiritual Development desires to invite the university community into a deeper experience of God’s love and to support students in their spiritual journey by creating opportunities for growth through reflection, discovery, and practice of our faith in Christ. It is the office’s goal and prayer for the PLNU community to love God, love others, and love the world with body, mind, and spirit.
Chapel is offered four times a week. We have morning gatherings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:45 a.m. On Monday and Wednesday, Chapel is offered at the Point Loma campus and the Liberty Station campus. We also have an evening gathering, called Timeout Chapel, every Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. where students gather in an informal worship setting designed to encourage greater intimacy with God, with each other and our calling to minister in our greater community. Chapels engage a diverse number of voices from outside the PLNU community as well as PLNU faculty, staff and students. Wednesdays are usually our Community Chapel days, when the Chapel preaching team will teach from Scripture in connection with the Chapel theme for the year. It is the university’s belief that Chapel has an important role in Christian liberal arts education and, as such, is required for all undergraduate students.
I Thessalonians 2:8 expresses the heart of the work in the Office of Spiritual Development: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” Spiritual care offered in the context of loving relationships is at the center of the Office of Spiritual Development.
Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Care
Encouraging a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the university’s highest priority. The prayer for every student is that, in their time at Point Loma Nazarene University, God’s voice will be heard, God’s will discovered, and God’s mission embraced. The office staff is available to all members of the university community for prayer support, spiritual guidance, pastoral counseling, and pastoral care.
Worship Arts creates opportunities for students to assist in leading people in praise, worship, and response to God’s voice. The team seeks to partner with and develop students who are pursuing integrity in their relationship with God and neighbor and who demonstrate ability in their area of art or technology.
Chapel Worship Leaders and Bands
In the spring semester, students interested in becoming Worship Leaders on campus for the following academic year are interviewed and auditioned. Those selected begin an internship in Spiritual Development in the fall, providing leadership in various worship gatherings on campus, primarily in Chapel. In the fall, PLNU students interested in serving and growing within Worship Arts are invited to attend an informational meeting, followed by an audition and interview. From this process, a network of students is created from which the student Worship Leaders and the director of Worship Arts can draw, as they lead throughout the year. In addition, one band is created from students new to PLNU. This band works closely with the director of Worship Arts, rehearsing on a weekly basis and joining the worship leading rotation.
Summer Ministry Teams
In the spring, one or two paid teams of 7-9 students are selected and trained to travel during the summer throughout the Southwest Educational Region of the Church of the Nazarene, ministering at churches, youth and family camps, conventions, and retreats. Their primary ministry vehicle is music, but it is a highly relational ministry. These students are selected through an interview and audition process.
Students interested in writing songs, primarily for use in corporate worship, are invited to gather on a bi-monthly basis to provide encouragement and constructive criticism to one another. Staff partner with various professors to help provide further feedback in a song’s theology and music. From this program the office hopes to develop ability and confidence in song-writers as they hone their skills, writing songs that are both theologically sound and musically accessible for corporate worship.
Discipleship Ministries create opportunities to seek and discover ways of living that reflect the life of Christ. When people engage in faithful ways of learning in order to live out what it means to love God, neighbor, and self, practices become a sacred obligation that express joy, hope, and discernment. Programs in Discipleship Ministries invite the student to engage in rhythms that include faithful reflection, spiritual nourishment and friendship, study of the Word, discussions on relevant issues in the culture and world, and the worship of God expressed in creative ways.
Alpha Groups provide an intentional, embedded, and directed small group experience in every on-campus freshman dorm for the fall semester. Each hall is connected with two leaders who meet weekly to go through a unified curriculum that aims to grow student knowledge of their faith, community, and self.
By participating in a D group, students enter into a weekly rhythm of creating a time for rest, encouragement, learning, and spiritual friendship. D groups encourage participating in ways that make an impact on the world in which students live.
Students are invited to participate in intentional one-on-one relationships with someone slightly further along in their faith. Senior students volunteer to mentor their sophomore peers while staff, faculty, and friends of the university volunteer to mentor juniors and seniors. These relationships provide mutual growth for both participants.
Created space offers several workshops each semester to a limited group of students who engage in prayer and worship through various forms of creative expression: art journaling, drawing, painting, sculpturing, etc. Each semester, a large prayer and worship event provides space for the student body to outwardly express spiritual growth and formation through creativity.
Spiritual Development also partners with other departments to offer spiritual formation retreats, men’s retreat, and a women’s retreat for the PLNU community. These weekend retreats offer opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to come together and build relationships with one another outside the normal university setting. Retreats focus on Christian formation through fellowship, worship, discussion, and sharing about personal life journeys.
Student Ministries provides opportunities to serve with and alongside our neighbors throughout the greater San Diego area. Student groups connect weekly with established nonprofit organizations serving many diverse populations including: homeless individuals and families; adults and children with special needs; seniors living in assisted care facilities; kids and teens in tutoring programs; and many others. Every PLNU student can find a place to serve. No special skills or abilities are required, just a desire to give, receive, and be blessed by the rich relationships formed in Christian ministry. Seasoned student leaders oversee each ministry and transportation is provided to ongoing ministry opportunities as well as special events.
International Ministries offers opportunities to those who want to partner with, fellowship with, and learn from Christian brothers and sisters around the world. International Ministries participants are privileged to come alongside church leaders, missionaries, and international development professionals and support on-going ministry in a variety of places around the world. While each location, culture, and ministry is unique, all programs genuinely value devoted Christian service with an attitude of humility, hospitality, and intercultural understanding.
LoveWorks Short-Term Missions
The LoveWorks short-term mission program is a resource to church leaders, missionaries, pastors, and congregations serving Christ in various places around the world. Through the LoveWorks program, over 3,000 students, faculty, staff, and alumni have served and built relationships in Christ’s name. LoveWorks has a reputation for sending well-trained, respectful, and energetic teams who have been a blessing to the church on every continent. Participant preparation, safety, and well-being are taken into account at all times. All team members are required to participate in weekly training sessions conducted by the Office of International Ministries.
Ministry with México
Ministry with México offers the opportunity to serve in Northwest Baja (Tijuana, Tecate, and Rosarito) with student-led groups that partner with the Church of the Nazarene, orphanages, and government agencies. We offer three Saturday trips a month and all trips are accompanied by a faculty/staff/alumni sponsor.
The Border Pilgrimage is a partnership between International Ministries and the Center for Justice and Reconciliation. One weekend each semester, we explore the border and learn about the complexities of this fascinating region. The experience includes expert presentations, travel to and across the border, and worshipping with a sister church in Tijuana.
Spring Break Build
Over spring break 50 staff, faculty, alumni, and students work together to build a new sanctuary building with one of the Nazarene churches on the Northwest Baja district. Lazarian World Homes is an organization that has developed a sustainable building model using foam blocks. We use their technique and partner with their staff to accomplish this huge task. The evenings are spent in fellowship, worship services, and preparation for the next day’s work.