The Formation School

A nine-month community-based experience that will equip and form adult Christians for a deeper encounter with the Triune God and lifelong, practice-based discipleship to Jesus for the sake of the world.


The call of the Scriptures is to intentionally give your life to Christ, through the Church, for the sake of the world. Often we feel this longing, even if we can’t name it: “Is there more than this?” “Can I go deeper still?” This pursuit is not something we can accomplish by accident or alone.

The elephant in the sanctuary is that the church in America has a discipleship problem. So we prayed—how can Mars Hill form people in the ways of Jesus and in the rhythms of life and prayer as seen in the Scriptures and the early church? Our discernment process was long and carefully measured, because rarely does something rich in goodness and complexity come quickly or easily. 

The Mars Hill Formation School is designed as a community-based experience that will equip adult Christians who are interested in a deeper engagement with the history, teachings, practices, and Scripture of our faith as well as intentional, communal spiritual formation.

Participants of this 9-month cohort will intentionally seek to grow deeper in humility while widening their theological understanding, so that they might emerge further equipped to be a faithful presence in the world. By communally and prayerfully examining our lives, loves, and narratives our hope is that the Formation School graduates will not only find themselves transformed personally but also as agents of transformation in their circles of influence.


Our desire is to offer the space, scaffolding, and the best possible collection of resources from which to grow as a person, leader, neighbor, and disciple of Jesus. Seminary-level readings, discussions, writing/reflection assignments, faculty lectures, serving opportunities, and feasts will take place alongside strategic pairings with spiritual practices. During your time in the Formation School you will also be invited to cultivate a relationship with a spiritual director to aid you in listening well and responding to the voice of the Spirit. 

Our primary scaffolding for this journey is our Directions, which call us to be holistically formed disciples. Each of our six Directions will constitute a module in which we will spend a number of weeks together that will be punctuated by feasts (we gather to share stories and celebrate what God is doing among us) and a few retreats (space to get away and immerse ourselves in community and practice).  

Through the embodiment of our faith, these holy habits will allow us to more fully inhabit God’s reality and vision for robust Christian discipleship.

Class Size/Covid-19 Realities

During this year, we hope to journey with a small group of students who are committed to the common life and thriving of Mars Hill and demonstrate current and future leadership potential. Given possible Covid-19 related gathering restrictions and social distancing realities, we will be prepared to learn as a cohort online and also in-person when possible. We’ll commit to be being adaptable and hospitable to how individuals in our cohort are navigating their own health + safety decisions.


The cost for the year of materials, books, faculty, service opportunities, and retreats is $700. [Limited scholarships are available]


Meetings will be on Monday evenings beginning on September 20, with our opening retreat Saturday, September 18.


We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021-2022 cohort. Check back next summer to apply for the 2022-2023 cohort.


If you’ve read this far, this could be your year to jump in and see what God might have for you! If any questions remain or if it would be helpful to pray or talk through your discernment process, please don’t hesitate to contact our Formation Pastor, Tim Nelson at

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