What is Spiritual Direction?
God is always working (John 5:17) and communicating (Psalm 19:2) yet despite being all around and even within us, we are often so profoundly unaware of his presence, activity, and voice, as well as how we want to respond to these things. Many of us also sense an invitation to learn more deeply how to pray.
Spiritual Direction is an ancient practice intended to facilitate a deeper experience of God in our lives, both in terms of our conversation with God (speaking and listening) and our attention to him (noticing and discerning God’s presence and activity).
Spiritual Direction is a shared, collaborative experience whereby a director and directee “come together for the primary purpose of focusing on the presence and activity of God in the directee’s life. In a word, Spiritual Direction is co-discernment. We learn to ‘see what the Father is doing (John 5:19),’ not just in that moment, but over the months and seasons of a person’s life. The goal is to deepen the relationship with God by growing in attentiveness [Introducing Spiritual Direction, p. 1].”
Why a “School of Spiritual Direction?”
There are two primary purposes of the school, broadly understood in terms of an inward and an outward dynamic. First, inward: the school is designed to promote personal growth in love for and devotion to God, in experiencing him, and in discerning the movement of the Holy Spirit. We believe that you will be enriched significantly in your faith and deepen your intimacy with Christ.
Second, outward: the school is designed to strengthen your ability to be attentive to others, especially in relation to accompanying them well on their own journey with Christ. We believe that you will develop honed listening skills and be equipped to offer Spiritual Direction to others in your own context.
Ultimately, the School of Spiritual Direction is intended “to cultivate excellent pastoral care and deeper spiritual formation within the local church” [Introducing Spiritual Direction, p. 2].
Who is Involved?
Sustainable Faith is responsible for running Schools of Spiritual Direction and has been doing so all over the U.S. and the Netherlands since 2007; we hosted Canada’s first school in 2015. Jared Boyd taught the first school in Winnipeg, with Danny Mullins teaching successive years. Though the teachers are typically connected to the Vineyard, they are under the auspices of Sustainable Faith.
Year One and Year Two Overview
Year One of the School of Spiritual Direction offers participants an immersive, integrated and robust introduction to the ministry of spiritual direction. Through the combined experience of reading superb literature, engaging in individual and group exercises, paying close attention to one’s life, practicing spiritual disciplines, receiving spiritual direction, and offering direction — all in a communal setting — students move toward competency as spiritual directors.
Year two is for those who envision spiritual direction as a more central feature of their work. It gives participants the opportunity to go through the Ignatian Exercises together, gain significant (supervised) experience in offering direction, delve more fully into the theological underpinnings of spiritual direction and address special topics.
- Note: Year Two is only for students who have completed Year One.
There are five modules, each typically two days, with a particular theme:
- Year One
- Module 1: Foundations: The Story
- Module 2: Foundations: The Conversation
- Module 3: Self-Awareness
- Module 4: Group Spiritual Direction & Discernment
- Module 5: Journey: Stages of Faith
- Year Two
- Module 1: Theology: Our God
- Module 2: Teleology: Our Destination
- Module 3: Anthropology: Our Role
- Module 4: Formation: Our Journey
- Module 5: Discernment: Our Choice
Requirements, Syllabus etc.
Who is the School for?
You do not have to be part of the Vineyard to be part of the school. The SOSD is open to pastors, church leaders, and laypeople alike, and is geared to serve not just one denomination or church tradition, but the larger body of Christ. The training is Christocentric and guides people to embrace the entirety of the life of Christ in terms of his priorities of solitude and prayer, and of engagement and ministry.
- Note: Each school will typically have no more than 12 students.