Our Story

We have found that people are desperate for an experiential journey that helps them grow deeper in their apprenticeship to Jesus Christ. Over the years, James Bryan Smith has traveled the world to speak at conferences about Christian spiritual formation, including the curriculum he teaches at Friends University. People would often approach Jim and say, “Wow, it’s great that college students get to study transformational curriculum. What do you have for adults?” That became the impetus behind the Apprentice Experience. It was developed simply in response to a need vocalized by hundreds of people. While adult learning is nothing new, we are excited to offer a journey to committed Christians that blends academic rigor and soul training exercises with a deep sense of community that creates a transformational experience.

About the Apprentice Experience

Connect to the Apprentice Experience

Northern Seminary

Doctor of Ministry, Transformative Discipleship

The Apprentice Experience is a valued ministry partner of Northern Seminary (Chicago, IL).  Our partnership has formed a program intentionally designed for Christian leaders who desire a deep experience in personal discipleship while simultaneously growing in the capacity to bring transformation to others within their own ministry context.

In between the four Gatherings, students deepen their learning as they interact and reflect biblically and theologically with their seminary professors through meaningful academic assignments. The curriculum includes four cohort gatherings, plus three core online Doctor of Ministry courses and a practical thesis project.

If you are interested in exploring a Doctor of Ministry in Transformative Discipleship, click here to learn more.

Apprentice Institute


The vision of the Apprentice Institute is the renewal of the world and the Church through the formation of new people and new communities who have begun living a radical Christian life in conformity to the teachings of Jesus, as his apprentices, in the midst of the world, whether in secular or ministry positions.


  • To educate the current and next generation of leaders.
  • To resource individuals, churches, pastors, and ministries in the work of Christian spiritual formation.
  • To research and advance the field of Christian spiritual formation.

What we do

  • Educate and equip students and members with a comprehensive, compelling, and practical approach.
  • Applied research projects that are aimed at advancing the field of Christian spiritual formation.
  • Provide resources for personal and community transformation.

Who we serve

  • Students at Friends University seeking a first or second degree in Christian spiritual formation and aspiring to join a new generation of Christ-like leaders.
  • Churches desiring to develop extraordinary discipleship and spiritual formation ministries.
  • Like-minded organizations seeking to collaborate and build lasting partnerships worldwide.