The Ministry of Spiritual Direction Program
The Center for Spiritual Formation offers a two-year online Spiritual Direction training for lay persons and pastoral leaders. The Ministry of Spiritual Direction (MSD) program assists the participants as they sharpen their listening skills, bring clarity to areas of giftedness, develop a lifestyle grounded in the spiritual disciplines, and acquire the tools and practices essential to caring for souls.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is companionship given by one Christian to another as they discern the presence and work of God in their lives, respond to the invitation and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and live out the beauty of that relationship. Spiritual companioning is not about fixing problems, and a spiritual director is not a therapist. The spiritual direction relationship is focused on working with the Spirit to discover and engage in what God is doing in your personal spiritual journey.
Why choose the Center’s MSD program?
One of the unique aspects of our MSD program is the pastoral approach to Spiritual Direction training, rather than an academic instruction. It is pastoral in that it is a gentle approach based on the integrity of the student’s work with the guide of the curriculum, encourages life-long learning and integrity within a community of care and encouragement, and focuses on the movement of the Holy Spirit in the life of the class participants.
The Ministry of Spiritual Direction Program creates space to:
- Gain or deepen one’s understanding, sensitivity, and insight into the workings of the Holy Spirit.
- Create awareness of the need for an ever-growing connection between the inner life of the Spirit and the outer life of faithfulness to the Spirit’s direction.
- Facilitate a deepening prayer life and a greater contentment with silence and solitude.
- Develop a greater ability to relate to persons with theological, experiential, and cultural differences.
- Equip those participating to deal with strong emotions and maintain relationships over time.
- Establish and maintain appropriate boundaries within the Spiritual Direction relationship.
What does the curriculum cover?
Year One focuses on our inner life as spiritual directors, where we are growing in our awareness of ourselves and working out what it looks like to engage this work of spiritual direction as a way of life, rather than just something we are training to “do” or “be”. During Year One, the curriculum focus is on foundations: the history, traditions and models, Biblical roots and theological foundations of Spiritual Direction; considers the differences between psychological counseling and Spiritual Direction; explores the spiritual disciplines and spiritual discernment; and the development of listening skills as we grow as individuals through deep learning and practice of a contemplative approach to God.
In Year Two, we continue that inner life focus and now add the awareness of the other by moving into a more outward focus with the actual practice of Spiritual Direction. During this year, the curriculum will focus on the development of assessment skills; acquiring a working knowledge of the life stages of faith development; cultivating an increased awareness of the power of prayer and healing; the practice of retreat design; exploring trauma-informed spiritual direction; consider the call and role of social justice; work toward a better understanding of multi-cultural needs in spiritual direction; and learning the importance of supervision and integrity of practice.
Where does this journey lead?
Graduates receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the two-year training program, and many of them become actively engaged in the work of spiritual direction in many different contexts. Our graduates report how valuable the training has been for them personally; in their work-life, in community with others, and wherever they find themselves out in the world.
What is the Commitment?
- One weekend per month (specifically, the weekend with the second Saturday). The Friday evening session runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm EST. The Saturday session begins with holy communion at 8:15 am EST, and then class from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm EST, with a lunch break at noon. All sessions are held online using the Zoom platform.
- Required readings prior to class. A yearly Reading List is provided at the beginning of each year. The Reading List is comprised of three or four required books each year, plus additional recommended resources to build your personal library.
- Some sessions may include some reflection prior to the session, such as journaling or watching a movie.
September 8-9, 2023
October 13-14, 2023
November 10-11, 2023
December 8-9, 2023
January 12-13, 2024
February 9-10, 2024
March 8-9, 2024
April 12-13, 2024
May 10-11, 2024
June 7-8, 2024
July 12-13, 2024
What are the Expectations?
- Participants need to have a reliable internet connection to fully participate with both video and audio in the Zoom sessions.
- Participate in monthly sessions that consist of both a Friday evening and Saturday gatherings.
- Students must devote additional time to study and prayer.
- Be actively engaged with a Spiritual Director.
- Year Two students should begin working with a directee.
- Submit all payments to The Center when invoiced.
What is the Cost?
- $50 Non-refundable application fee.
- $1600 per year, payable in quarterly payments.
- Tuition does not cover the purchase of the three or four required books for each year. Participant’s estimated cost of these books is less than $100 per year.
- A limited amount of scholarship monies are available. Please contact the Center Director for more information.
- A total of 24 CEUs are awarded upon completion of the two-year program.
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