Pepperdine University is committed to furthering God's Kingdom through the integration of faith and learning, and therefore is intentional about nurturing spiritual growth. Seeking to enrich the spiritual lives of students in a manner that is authentic but also sensitive, the Spiritual Life Advisor program is a ministry that empowers students to provide "soul-care" for other students.
The Spiritual Life Advisor program is a peer-ministry that is supported by Housing and Residence Life and is overseen by a Resident Director. The program stems from a desire to minister to students "where they are," with the understanding that this is the "incarnation model" that Jesus has revealed. In the same way that He came in the flesh and cared for humanity by living among them and caring for their personal needs, Spiritual Life Advisors (SLAs) seek to minister to students in their rooms - where they live, study and sleep. The SLAs are able to befriend and get to know the residents, as well as care for their emotional, physical, and spiritual struggles. This approach to helping students grow spiritually has had a much greater effectiveness and sustaining transforming power than a "program-based ministry" where students attend events. The SLAs' are charged to care for the residents with "no strings attached" only a desire to model and share the love of Christ.
The Spiritual Life Advisors and Spiritual Life Coordinators with President Benton.
The Spiritual Life Advisor position is a voluntary, one-year commitment. Students who are considering to be an SLA must be dedicated Christians who are active in their local church, but are not required to be a member of the Church of Christ or be pursuing a major or minor in Religion. Those who apply, interview and are selected to serve as an SLA are trained in the areas of theology, pastoral ministry and peer-counseling. They are assigned to a living area where they commit to serve for an academic year. SLAs work with and are supported by the Resident Director to make certain that the SLAs are receiving the care and training they need. The general responsibility of the SLA is to serve as a student-peer chaplain to students by fostering an atmosphere that encourages spiritual growth through encouragement, support and accountability. This is accomplished through building relationships and being involved with the residents, showing concern for them by listening and praying with them and being available to residents for individual ministry. Many SLAs also choose to lead a Bible study in their hall which fosters spiritual growth and allows people an opportunity to hear the message of the Gospel in an authentic environment.
The Spiritual Life Advisor program was started at Pepperdine in the fall of 2000. While visiting Asbury College earlier that summer, Pepperdine's Student Ministry Coordinator was introduced to the idea of the SLA program by the Campus Ministry staff who graciously shared their enthusiasm for their hall-chaplain ministry. They expressed that they sensed a need to intentionally minister to their students through a sustained relationship-building effort; therefore, they modeled this program from other schools and adapted it to their environment. After taking some time to lay a foundation, the SLA program was launched at Pepperdine. This first year had challenges as the program was established, but in the midst of this struggle real ministry was taking place in the residence halls. In its second year, the program grew to 27 SLAs and the third year with a full team of 35 SLAs; now the program is an established part of the Pepperdine community, enriching the spiritual lives of our students. God has truly blessed Pepperdine with the SLA program!
If you have questions or would like more information about the SLA program, please contact us.