Spiritual Formation Requirements


Spiritual Formation at Jessup – Purpose & Requirements

At William Jessup University we believe that personal spiritual development is a vital part of each student’s education.  To complement the Christ-centered teaching in the classroom Campus Ministries has designed an intentional menu of experiences, resources, and training environments to equip our students to know and follow Jesus.  We believe every person is created by God to have a personal relationship with Him through the person of Jesus Christ and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.  Because of this it is our passion and privilege to help all students at Jessup explore, deepen, and apply their faith for the glory of God and the good of the world.   From our weekly Chapel services and small groups, to our local and global outreaches, Campus Ministries is excited to encourage students as they embrace their God given identity and calling.

To empower students to invest in their spiritual formation at Jessup we have created a simple, flexible set of requirements:

  • Accrue at least 20 Chapels Credits each semester by attending and engaging in several Chapel services a week
  • Accrue at least 12 Spiritual Life Credits before graduation by completing your own customized combination of the discipleship and outreach experiences offered by Jessup and our local church partners

These requirements are necessary to register for classes each semester and to qualify for graduation from William Jessup University.  It is the responsibility of each student to track and complete these requirements in full and on time.

The Office of Campus Ministries is glad to assist any student who has questions about the Spiritual Formation Requirements and the policies and expectations of the Spiritual Formation Program in general.  Detailed information on all aspects of the program are described below.  Please read the following policies thoroughly so you know what is being asked and expected from each student at Jessup.

We look forward to investing in your life and spiritual growth during these transformative years at William Jessup University!


Chapel is the heartbeat of community worship at William Jessup University. Three times a week we join together as students, faculty, staff, and administration to worship God, study His Word, and hear from a broad diversity of speakers and artists from within our community and all over the world. WJU chapels are held during the fall and spring semesters on Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:30 – 10:20 a.m. and Monday evenings from 8-9 p.m., with a few exceptions including school breaks and major holidays.

Chapel Attendance Requirements

Each full time student is required to attend a minimum of 20 of the 40+ Chapel services offered each semester.  To accomplish this students register their Chapel attendance by scanning their Student ID cards on their way into each Chapel service.

Scanning in to Chapel

  1. Chapel greeters will begin scanning students into Chapel 15 minutes before the start of each Chapel service.  We encourage all students to arrive early to ensure they make it in the doors on time to receive Chapel credit.
  2. Chapel attendance will not be taken after 9:35am at Morning Chapel and 8:05pm at Evening Chapel. Those arriving more than five minutes late will not receive Chapel credit for that day, however, they are still welcome to attend the Chapel service.
  3. In the event that the Chapel scanning system malfunctions, students may need to sign-in with their student ID number so that they can be manually credited for their attendance.
  4. Students may only scan themselves into Chapel using their personal student ID.  If a student attempts to scan any ID beside his or her own into Chapel they will be subject to disciplinary action and sanctions from the Student Life/Campus Ministries office.  

During Chapel

Chapel is a sacred space set aside for the express purpose of encountering God and being encouraged in Christian community.  To protect the integrity, depth, and connectivity of each Chapel service we want to create an environment free from distractions.  For this reason we ask that during Chapel you set aside everything that will pull your attention (and the attention of those around you) away from hearing what God would like to communicate to you.

Please observe the following Chapel policies:  

  1. Headphones and wireless ear pieces are never allowed during the Chapel service.
  2. Laptops are not allowed to be open during Chapel for any reason.
  3. Texting, games, social media, calendaring, and any other technology usage on a phone, tablet, laptop, or any other device is not allowed during Chapel.  
  4. Please keep phones, tablets, and electronic devices in your pocket, purse, or bag unless they are being referenced for Bible reading or sermon notes.
    • The only exception to this is if a speaker or presenter asks you to take out your phone/device to use for a panel, poll, or illustration.
  5. Students are not permitted to work on homework, class reading, projects, test preparation, or personal work or reading during Chapel.  They are kindly asked to respectfully listen and engage with the entirety of the Chapel service.
  6.  Talking, passing notes, and generally making a ruckus is not permitted in Chapel.  Please do not engage in this behavior.
  7. Students who are distracting themselves or others from focusing in Chapel will be asked to stop this activity immediately and may be asked to leave Chapel.  If a student is asked to leave Chapel they will lose their Chapel credit for that day.  

The discipline of abstaining from phones, devices, homework, and other distractions to focus on God is counter cultural, but it WILL be a blessing if you practice it faithfully.  Please respect the heart and purpose of our Chapel services by diligently adhering to these policies.  

Leaving Chapel

Should a student need to step out of Chapel to use the restroom or take a brief important phone call, they must check out with the attendance monitor at the main Chapel exit using their student ID card. The attendance monitor will return the ID when the student returns to Chapel.

Please observe the following policies when leaving Chapel:

  1. We request that students leave Chapel for no more than 10 minutes if they must step out for a phone call or restroom break.
  2. If a student abuses this freedom, they may have their Chapel credit taken away for that day.
  3. If a pattern of abuse emerges, the student will be asked to meet with the Campus Pastor and may face sanctions.
  4. Students leaving before the conclusion of Chapel with the intent of not returning must check out with the Chapel attendance monitor at the main Chapel exit and may lose their attendance credit for that chapel.  

Chapel Absences

Because there are more than enough Chapel opportunities provided, students will not be excused from Chapels due to sickness, vacation, or other unforeseen absences and should plan their semester accordingly.  It is the responsibility of each student to track their own Chapel credits via their online student portal to ensure they meet the requirement for class enrollment/graduation each semester.

Students who foresee that attending 20 Chapels in the course of a semester may be impossible due to life/work obligations may file an Alternate Chapel Attendance Petition if they meet the criteria. (See petition for specific details)

Alternate Chapel Petitions

Students who foresee that attending 20 Chapels in the course of a semester may be impossible due to life/work obligations may file an Alternate Chapel Petition at the beginning of each semester.  These forms are due the first week of school by 5pm on the ADD/DROP date.  After that date, students must email campusministries@jessup.edu to request a Late Chapel Petition and may be subject to a $25.00 late fee.

Students are eligible to receive an Alternative Chapel Agreement if they:

  1. serve as a primary caretaker of minors (parents and legal guardians only),
  2. commute more than 10 miles and do not have class within an hour of chapel,
  3. commute and work more than 30 hours a week,
  4. experience (or chronically suffer from) severe health challenges

Petitions may only be submitted for the circumstances listed as options on the form.  If approved, students may be approved to complete up to 6 chapels virtually by watching chapel videos from the current semester on their own time and writing a 2-page reflection paper for each.  Students may petition chapel by using the Alternate Chapel Petition form.

Approved petitions are valid only for the term in which it was requested. A new petition must be submitted for each term.

Non-Attainment of Chapel Credit

Because chapel attendance is an enrollment requirement, students who do not attain credit will be unable to register for classes for the following semester (or dropped from classes for the following semester if already registered), subject to judicial action, and must re-apply for registration ($100 fee) once cleared.

Chapel Attendance for Graduating Seniors

Graduating Seniors are reminded that the minimum attendance requirement of 20 Chapels each semester is applicable to all students, even those in their last semester at Jessup.  Graduating seniors are not exempt from the expectation to engage in Chapel programming and to make it a priority as they finish their final year.  It is very common for a graduating senior to end up not completing their academic credit requirements in what they thought would be their last semester.  Should a graduating senior fall short of his or her necessary units to graduate, that individual will encounter enrollment obstacles if they have not attended at least 20 Chapels and may be unable to register for future classes.  (See our non-attainment of Chapel Credit policy above for more information).

For this reason we encourage all students, especially graduating seniors, to make Chapel attendance a priority as they finish their journey at Jessup.  We hope to see all students engage in Chapel until the very end of their time at Jessup as it is a vital part of our spiritual formation investment in their life, especially as they launch out from Jessup to thrive as a transformational leader for Christ in the world.

For any questions or clarifications about these policies feel free to contact campusministries@jessup.edu for more information.


Spiritual Life Credits

Spiritual Life Credits were created to encourage intentional spiritual growth in students through participation in a variety of discipleship and outreach experiences during their time at Jessup.  In addition to ongoing chapel participation, all full-time (12+ units) traditional students are expected to complete 12 Spiritual Life Credits in order to graduate.  Students are given multiple opportunities to engage in outreach and discipleship – both through Jessup-sponsored programs, and through local churches and nonprofits.  These Spiritual Life Credits are tracked and updated each semester and students may view their total accrued Spiritual Life Credits through the student portal.  It is up to each individual to keep track of their total Spiritual Life Credits on the path to graduation.

The following is a list of options for Spiritual Life Credits:

    Discipleship Experiences for Credit:

  • Jessup Spiritual Formation Group (SFG) = 2 Credits
  • Church/Ministry Small Group (Weekly: 10 weeks min.) = 2 Credits

   Outreach Experiences for Credit:

  • WJU Service Practicum (encouraged for sophomore students) = 4 credits
  • Global Outreach Trip (7+ full days) = 4 Credits
  • Weekly Outreach (2 hrs/wk min., 14 weeks) = 4 Credits
  • Weekend Outreach (Two 8-hour days min.) = 2 Credits
  • One Day Outreach (Seven hours min.) = 1 credit
  • Local Outreach Blocks (2-3 focused outreach experiences during the same semester totaling at least 8 hours.) = 1 credit

Spiritual Life Credit Policies:  

  1. All students must complete 12 Spiritual Life credits prior to graduation.
  2. You must have credits from both Discipleship and Outreach experiences to graduate.
  3. Outreach or Small Group activities can be either WJU or church/nonprofit-sponsored.
  4. Credit is not awarded for internships, student teaching and other paid/for credit activities.
  5. Service done through a single entity during a semester or summer may count for one, but not multiple, credit categories. (i.e. serving with an organization may count for weekly local outreach or weekend outreach credits, but cannot count for both within the same semester).
  6. Local Outreach Block credits must be collected and submitted together for a credit during the semester in which they are earned.
  7. Students who enrolled prior to Fall 2015 can convert previously awarded service and small group credits to Spiritual Life Credits using the conversion chart on the Campus Ministries page.

Spiritual Life Credit Program Amendments for 2016-2017

Spiritual Life Credit requirements for the Fall 2016 – Spring 2017 academic year have been updated and expanded to fit our newest offerings for this upcoming school year.  Please see below to learn how these changes apply to you.  

Returning Jessup Students:

Students Enrolled at Jessup Prior to 2016-2017 Academic Year

All students enrolled prior to the 2016-2017 program will automatically receive 2 Spiritual Life Adjustment Credits to align our previous requirements (10) with our new Spiritual Life Credit requirements (12).


New Jessup Students:  

Incoming Freshmen:  

All incoming freshmen in the 2016-2017 school year will be required to complete 12 Spiritual Life Credits in order to graduate.


Transfer Students for the 2016-2017 Academic Year:

The following chart explains the required amount of Spiritual Life Credits for incoming transfer students.  Class standing is determined by the number of accepted units the Registrar’s office recognizes toward your Jessup degree.  The number of credits required is averaged at 4 per year beginning your sophomore year.  

0-29 units = Freshman  –  All incoming freshmen and freshman level transfer students are required to complete at least 12 Spiritual Life Credits to graduate.

30-59 units = Sophomore  –  All transferring sophomores for the 2016-2017 academic year are required to complete at least 12 Spiritual Life Credits to graduate.

60-89 units = Junior  –  All transferring juniors for the 2016-2017 academic year are required to complete at least 8 Spiritual Life Credits to graduate.

90-120 units = Senior  –  All transferring seniors for the 2016-2017 academic year are required to complete at least 4 Spiritual Life Credits to graduate.

If you have any questions about these changes or if you would like to meet with a Campus Ministries staff member to discuss how you can complete these requirements in a timely manner before graduation, please send your question and contact information to campusministries@jessup.edu and they will be happy to assist you.

Spiritual Formation Program Components

Freshman Spiritual Formation Track

Each student enrolled as a freshman (by credits) is automatically entered in several spiritual formation experiences designed for their first semester.  This includes Contemporary Discipleship, Learning Community, and First‐Year Experience.  Because these experiences are embedded in the Spiritual Formation Program, no Spiritual Life Credits are awarded for these foundational experiences.

Service Practicum (highly recommended for Sophomores)

Service Practicum is a semester long experience focused on developing a heart for service.  Students journey with a cohort through Biblical investigation and practical application of Christ-like service.   Service Practicum combines learning together within community and serving people outside of Jessup. This experience is worth 4 Spiritual Life Credits and is an option for any student at Jessup, but it may be most formative and helpful for students during their Sophomore year.  Service Practicum may only be taken once during your time at Jessup.

Local & Global Outreach

Making an impact beyond our campus has been a long tradition at William Jessup University.  Our belief is that God has equipped each person with a gift to use to make an impact for Jesus in the world, and we are excited to help you discover your place in serving God as He continues to change lives in the world today.  WJU has a number of local outreach partners that we work with to assist their unique work in our community and beyond.  These include ministries for which a student does not receive pay or academic credit such as; homeless ministry, street evangelism, non-profit service, tutoring, mission trips, discipleship, and more.  Students are also given the freedom to find an appropriate volunteer position within a church, mission organization, local community organization, or other ministry.

In addition to our local efforts, Jessup also equips and mobilizes students on mission around the world in partnership with our global ministry partners.  Global outreach trips are anywhere from 7-21 days long and are traditionally led by Jessup faculty and staff members.   For a list of ministry opportunities, please refer to the Local and Global Outreach page on my.jessup.edu.

Spiritual Formation Groups

Spiritual Formation Groups (SFGs) are small groups of 5-10 students formed with the purpose of building relationships on a more intimate level.  Participation in a SFG allows each student to become accountable to a small group, interact with others on tough issues, and support one another through prayer and friendship. Students may sign up for an SFG as they would any other class, with a choice of leaders and topics.  Each semester of a Jessup SFG is worth 2 Spiritual Life Credits.

Spiritual Formation Groups are not for academic credit and there is no fee required to participate in an SFG.  To receive Spiritual Life Credit for an SFG, a student may not miss more than three meetings in a given semester.  Furthermore, a student must be registered for the group they attend in order to receive credit.

Credit for Small Groups & Outreaches outside of Jessup

Spiritual Life credits can be attained during the semester or over the summer for eligible small groups and service via a local church or ministry.  To ensure that the small group or outreach/service opportunity meets Jessup’s Spiritual Life Credit parameters, we recommend filling out an External Spiritual Life Credit Proposal form.  This helps eliminate any confusion about what is and is not eligible for credit before the experience is completed.

At the end of the small group or outreach, a student must submit a completed Spiritual Life Credit Report Form detailing the experience with the signature of the small group or outreach leader.  Spiritual Life Credit Report forms are due at the end of each semester (or summer term) and may be turned in to the Student Life office no later than the Friday before finals week for eligibility.  Summer forms can be submitted up until the Fall add/drop deadline.  A $25 late fee will be assessed for forms submitted after the deadline.

The following parameters apply:

  1. Outreach credits are earned for activities focused outside of Jessup’s campus.
  2. Service and outreach done alongside a local church but focused on a non-church population counts for credit.
  3. If a student is receiving academic credit for service (i.e. an internship, or fieldtrip), that service may not be applied for Spiritual Life Credit.
  4. Service done through a single entity during a semester or summer may count for one, but not multiple, credit categories. (i.e. serving with an organization may count for weekly local outreach or weekend outreach credits, but cannot count for both within the same semester).
  5. ***Visit the Local Outreach page on my.jessup.edu for more detailed explanation of our Outreach Philosophy & Parameters.

Non-Attainment of Spiritual Life Credit

All 12 Spiritual Life Credits must be completed prior to the student’s degree posting date.  A student’s degree will not be posted until after all credits are completed and verified.


Chapel & Spiritual Life Credit Disputes

It is each student’s responsibility to keep track of his or her chapel attendance and Spiritual Life credits on the path toward graduation.  Individual chapel attendance and the current number of Spiritual Life Credits accrued to date can be accessed personally in the online Student Portal.

Contact Campus Ministries (campusministries@jessup.edu) or visit the Student Life Office to discuss any issues you may have with attendance, Spiritual Life Credit, and other records.