School of Jesus


The 2012-14 group on a retreat in Big Sur.

A two-year program to help you become a student of Jesus.

Applications for the 2015-17 group will begin in April 2015. See below for applications.

Jesus left his church with standing orders: “Go and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” That Great Commission would be accomplished because, he said, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

While there is a strong movement to take seriously the call to reach all nations, seldom do we see churches implementing intentional, systematic plans for instructing their members to actually be able to do all that he taught, nor instructing them on how to live with an abiding sense that God is in fact with them, always.

Moreover, Paul calls for pastors and teachers to “equip the saints for the work of ministry.” The New Testament vision of a body of believers all equally engaged in the work of serving in profoundly necessary, individual ways has too often been replaced by program-centric structures, where gifts which serve the ends of the program are honored and those that do not are ignored. Instead, we need churches that will encourage and equip their members in whatever gifting God has graced them with, in whatever life roles God has called them to, and as often outside the church’s programs as within. We need to recover a sense of vocation: that wherever God has placed us, be it parenting, a career, education, or retirement, we are right there meant to live as students of Jesus, partnering with God and His kingdom for the creative good of others.

The School of Jesus Certificate in Spiritual Formation exists to help Christians become students of Christ, learning from him the “with-God” life of the Kingdom, and how actually to do what Jesus teaches, discovering how to live as stewards of the Kingdom in the particular roles of the life God has given them.

This four-semester course of studies will lead students, through reading, spiritual practices, retreats, one-on-one mentoring, and a community of prayerful, intentional support, to:

  • create a practical plan for living life with God and doing what He teaches
  • understand how God has shaped them individually to be servants in their particular roles of life, and
  • develop a proposal for personal ministry within those roles, to pass on what they have learned to others

Designed for those who have decided to become apprentices to Jesus and want to learn how they personally can live as He would in their place, the School of Jesus begins with a two semesters of theological foundation for life in God’s Kingdom, and then turns to a two semesters of personal vocational discernment. Both years include monthly spiritual practices to deepen an experiential understanding of what is being studied, as well as guided retreats and spiritual direction to help students in their personal formation.


The 2013-15 group on retreat in Santa Barbara.

The 2013-15 group on retreat in Santa Barbara.


Ideally, students will be members of FBCSLO who have already completed the one-year Apprentice course. They will already have a desire to live as students of Jesus, and be personally motivated to discover exactly how they, as an individual, are meant to be servants with Christ in their particular roles. They will be willing to experiment and put what they are learning into practice in the context of their church family, career and home life. Applicants who are not members of FBCSLO will be considered if there are spaces available.


Over the course of two years, students will read ten key works and dozens of articles, participate in a number of spiritual formation activities and ministry experiences, develop supportive community with a small group of learners, discern their personal vocational calling through one-on-one direction, and experience at least twenty days of formational retreat seeking God’s presence and counsel.

Over the two years, students explore eight key themes:

  1. Life in the Kingdom of God, here and now;
  2. a Biblical understanding of the human person and spiritual formation;
  3. the role of the Christian Spiritual Disciplines in shaping the human personality;
  4. the place of Scripture in cultivating a with-God life;
  5. an experiential understanding of the six streams of Christian faith;
  6. an understanding of personal vocation;
  7. becoming an instrument of redemption in God’s Kingdom; and
  8. living as a vocational steward in the Kingdom in all the roles of life.


  1. Discovering the With-God Life
  2. Christian Spiritual Disciplines
  3. Discerning a With-God Vocation
  4. Living as a Kingdom Steward


Applications for the 2015-17 group will be available in April 2015. You can download a past information packet, including syllabi for all four courses, for more information about the class.


For more information, contact Pastor Ben Barczi,

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