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 an integral part of the Point Loma Nazarene University experience. Chapel is a community gathering through which participants are shaped by God. This experience prepares all to love God, love one other, and love the world with a compassionate commitment. Chapel is a gift through which the university community pauses in the middle of busy lives to give thanks to God, seek God, and worship together. Chapel is a place of corporate worship, prayer, teaching, education, and growth. The primary purpose of chapel is to encourage the formation of Christian community and foster the development of a vibrant, life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Chapel is held three times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:45 a.m. 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.
Every Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. students gather in an informal worship setting designed to encourage an intimate, personal relationship with God through music, prayer, sharing of life, and teaching from scripture. Time Out is an evening chapel attendance option for 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 Ministries creates opportunities for students to assist in leading people in praise, worship, and response to God’s voice. The office 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 Music Bands
In the spring semester, students interested in becoming lead worshippers 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 are invited to attend an informational meeting, followed by an audition and interview for those interested in serving and growing. From this process a network of students is created from which student worship leaders and the director of Worship Ministries can draw as they lead around campus throughout the year. In addition, one band is created from the freshman class. This band works closely with the director of Worship Ministries, rehearsing on a weekly basis and joining the worship leading rotation.
Summer Ministry Teams
When the summer schedule allows, in the spring, 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 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 creates 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 and neighbor, 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.
Covenant and Discipleship Groups
By participating in a covenant group, students enter into a weekly rhythm of creating a time for rest, encouragement, learning, and spiritual friendship. Covenant groups encourage participating in ways that make an impact on the world in which students live.
Discipleship Ministries also offers 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.
The film forum offers an opportunity to view classic and contemporary films through a spiritual lens. These film presentations invite the student to engage in lively discussions about human nature, local and global realities, and universal themes as shown through plots and symbols. The Film Forum is a critical look at how faith and film intersect and how the community might use this medium toward Christian formation, both individually and corporately.
Student Ministries has more than 20 different student-led outreach groups which create opportunities for those willing to put their hands and hearts to work in the lives of people throughout the greater San Diego area and Baja Mexico. These groups serve many diverse populations including: homeless individuals and families; adults and children with developmental disabilities; incarcerated men, women and youth; elderly individuals living in assisted care facilities; children in need of educational assistance; and many others. No special skills or abilities are required, only a desire to join in the adventure of ministry and to benefit from relationships formed through Christian service.
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 2,000 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.
S.A.L.T. Mission camps
S.A.L.T. Mission Camps (Serving and Living Together) is a short-term mission program for Nazarene high-school students from Mexico and the United States. In a multi-cultural camp atmosphere, students live and serve together for up to two weeks at a time. In conjunction with the Nazarene Church in Mexico, camp locations are established to provide ministry support for the compassionate outreach efforts of the churches in the area. Participants serve alongside members of the congregations and debrief their experiences in facilitated discussions and worship times together. Along with adult staff that attend with the teens, Point Loma and Tecate Nazarene Seminary students are thoroughly trained to serve as camp staff, lead small groups, set a culturally-sensitive example, and engage thoughtfully in the program.
GradWorks is an opportunity for recent graduates of PLNU to gain international work experience and serve using skills and gifts developed at PLNU. International service options are available around the world, ranging from three months to two years. Placements are made based on a networking of the skills and interests of the graduate with the needs and strategies of the host field location. The office of International Ministries provides logistical support and membership for students serving abroad.