1. How can a Spiritual Director help me?
We help people mature in their faith and deepen their relationship with God so that they can become more like Christ in the world and fulfill their God given destiny.
2. How does a Spiritual Director accomplish that?
We provide a welcoming and safe space for people to explore deep spiritual truths that they hold from their varying traditions and their ongoing relationship with Christ. We do that by listening to your stories and offering compassionate insight, spiritual exercises, prayer practices, and what ever else the Holy Spirit shows us in our time together. We support you with ongoing prayer, guidance and acceptance for who you are and who you are becoming in Christ. Your time with a spiritual director can often be a transformative experience from where you hear God speaking through you, and by that gaining the courage and support to act on what God is revealing to you.
3. What is the difference between Spiritual Direction and Therapy?
The word therapy comes from the Greek word, therapia meaning "to nurse." By definition a nurse offers the necessary care to restore an ill person to health. Psychological therapy focuses on psychological illnesses or problems that keep someone from living as a healthy human being. Spiritual director's do not focus on problem solving, rather we offer ongoing support for someone wishing to deepen their relationship with God through prayer and other spiritual practices. The intent of spiritual direction is to develop a heightened awareness of God's presence.
4. Who goes to a Spiritual Director?
Anyone who wants to deepen their relationship with God by meeting with one who is willing to walk the journey with them, listen to them, pray for them and respond to them with prayerful compassion and insight.
5. Aren't all Pastor's by definition Spiritual Director's ?
Spiritual Direction is a specific ministry where by one is called into a one-to-one relationship of prayer and support with another person. While pastors nurture the spiritual lives of individuals and churches, not all pastors are called to be spiritual director's and many spiritual director's are not pastor's.
6. How are Spiritual Director's paid ?
Because spiritual direction is a formal professional relationship of nurture, time, support, and presence, it needs to be valued accordingly by both people involved. It is often true that paying for this kind of ongoing support deepens the commitment of the "directee". Arrangements regarding the appropriate amount and timing of payments should be discussed during the initial meeting before a commitment to ongoing spiritual direction is made. Payment to the spiritual director is often made at the beginning of each session. Some director's are part of a religious community and prefer payment be made to the community.
7. How often does one go for Spiritual Direction?
This decision is usually made at the initial orientation meeting. Most have found that once a month pattern works well.
8. How long does a session usually last ?
The initial meeting could last 1- 11/2 hours. A regular spiritual direction session usually lasts one hour.
9. How long should I meet with a Spiritual Director?
This varies, some people will meet with their spiritual director for a particular season in life, and move on. Most people however find that an ongoing relationship with a spiritual director helps them to keep their spiritual life a priority and will stay with a director for many years. Most spiritual directors will have an annual review of the ongoing relationship with the directee to determine if both parties feel invited to continue the relationship.
10. How are Spiritual Directors supervised and held accountable?
Most spiritual directors are encouraged to be in ongoing supervision with a personal supervisor or peer supervision group. Also, most spiritual directors are members of Spiritual Directors International and adhere to strict standards of professional ethics regrading training, confidentiality, boundaries and privacy.
11. How are Spiritual Directors trained?
Many programs around the country offer education for spiritual directors. Those who complete these 2-3 year programs are simply given a "certificate " to practice spiritual direction. Since spiritual direction is a personal calling, education and skill development is offered -certification by a theological institution is highly recommended but not a prerequisite. At the initial meeting with a potential spiritual director, it is appropriate to ask how he or she felt called to this ministry and if they have had any formal training or education.
12. Can my Pastor be my Spiritual Director?
If you feel drawn to the pastor as your spiritual director , it is important to honor and explore that desire. As we all know, many pastor's in local churches function in multiple roles and have extraordinary demands on their time. For this reason, it is often impossible for the pastor to offer personal spiritual direction to the members of the congregation.
13. Should all pastoral leaders have a Spiritual Director?
In a perfect world Yes. Pastors cannot assume that spiritual leadership and personal spiritual growth are the same thing. The critical nature of inner work must be respected. In order to mature in their relationship to God, all pastors should have a spiritual director.
14. Is it appropriate to go to a Spiritual Director outside my denomination or faith group?
Since spiritual direction is concerned with a person's experience with God, issues of doctrine and theology take a secondary role. In other words, the ideas that separate us are less important than discovering how the presence of God transforms us. For this reason, it can be beneficial and transformational to work with a spiritual director whose life in God and whose experience of prayer are different than our own.