Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Mary Lowe


Integrating Spiritual Formation, Distance Education


Christianity | Online and Distance Education | Religion


Many factors contribute to the recent increase of digital education in higher learning institutions, including the expanded use of mobile devices, social media, and other online populations. CNBC reports that over two billion users ascribe to Facebook monthly (Balakrishnan, 2017). Over four hundred million Instagram users and over three hundred million active Twitter accounts are being used daily (Clement, 2019). Celebrating technology’s imprint on society presents another opportunity for social sciences to applaud human achievement at the risk of discounting God’s sovereignty. The digital era has created an opportunity for Christian education to expand its reachability through churches and Bible-based institutions. Covid-19 is a catalyst for congregants focusing on different forms of digital discipling methods. The pandemic has impacted all levels of academics, and Higher education is no exception. Although digital technology has been part of higher education since the nineties (Harasim, 2000), its prevalence has expanded to institutions that previously did not offer online programs. Bible-based institutions are situated to educate, equip, and evangelize believers in more significant numbers. This qualitative research aimed to explore the integration of spiritual formation through distance learning at Bible-based institutions. The phenomenological study method used data from video conferencing interviews to assess faculty and students’ actual experiences from Bible-based colleges, seminaries, and universities. The research results will help educators develop models for integrating spiritual formation through online courses and virtual learning communities (Lock, 2002). Keywords: Higher education, distance learning, learning community, spiritual formation.