Spiritual Development’s role in the spiritual transformation process

Student discern God’s plan for their lives in college and beyond with Spiritual Development’s guidance.

Caitlin Blackmon, Features Apprentice

College proves difficult for many students—spiritual life included. At a time when many things feel uncertain and confusing, Biola’s Spiritual Development program encourages students to bring their worries and needs to God.


Life happens, and oftentimes students find themselves unable to discern what the future holds. Dean of Spiritual Development Todd Pickett believes that God desires to meet his people in their current walk of life and to guide them through it.

“God meets us where we’re at. He doesn’t meet us at some future that doesn’t exist yet,” Pickett said. “So we want to help people identify what God is doing in their life right now, and help them cooperate with it.”

While the minimum of 20 required chapels allow for students’ spiritual growth, Pickett shared that pastoral care and spiritual direction offer one-on-one spiritual guidance, which cover different topics depending on the particular student’s needs.

“So unlike some universities, we have several offerings that are designed from what we know of students and the stages they go through developmentally.” Pickett said. “We try to design services and pastoral care around some of the needs that occur developmentally, as people are trying to connect with God. That’s why we have nine services a week, and pastoral care and spiritual direction.”

Since each student has different spiritual needs, each student may enjoy some chapels over others. For junior biblical studies major Annalyssa Carmichael, Tuesday’s Fives chapel allows her time to reflect on her day and to meet God in that place.

“I really like the [chapels] on Tuesdays, where you’re just reflecting on your day,” Carmichael said. “I really appreciate those, because it’s just a way to stop, rather than being preached to, you’re kind of just spending one-on-one time with God. And they’re guiding you, so you can reflect on your day and what God’s done for you.”


College aims to provide students with the tools necessary to lead a successful life in the real world, but Biola seeks to go a step further by integrating faith into the equation. Pickett shared that he hopes to see students walk away from their time at Biola knowing God and how to interact with him.

“I would love them to say, ‘Biola and Spiritual Development in particular really helped me prepare for my life with God and in the church…[and] helped me understand how to listen to God and respond to him,’” Pickett said.

Many students plan on working in secular settings, including junior public relations major Taylor Zerbe who wishes to leave Biola with a faith strong enough to shine a light for Christ wherever she goes.

“I hope that I can walk away with a strong enough Christian worldview, that when I go into [secular work] places, [where] there may not be a lot of Christians, that I can be the light, and just have the solid foundation to share with them and speak into them in ways that will be impactful,” Zerbe said.

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