If there is an empty chair next to me, someone will sit in it and start talking. And I love it. Every person’s story is like the unfolding of a wonderful novel. God’s love story for their lives is told. Themes of birth, relationships, conflict, betrayal, redemption, healing, and reconciliation fill the pages of their lives and I can listen for hours. I do, in fact. I am a spiritual director by vocation, and I long for the day when our faith communities are full of people who are keen to listen to the journeys of others. Do you find that others are often telling you their faith stories? If so, you might have the charism of a spiritual director.
What is spiritual direction, you ask? I often explain it this way, “spiritual direction offers Christians a safe place to talk about their journey of faith.” Spiritual Directors International defines it as “a mentoring relationship between a seeker and a spiritual guide.”
If you regularly hear the stories and faith questions of others, you probably have found yourself in conversations you were not sure what to do with. Training can help. The office of Community Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary and The Center for Spiritual Formation, Inc. are collaborating to offer a two year spiritual direction training program beginning in the fall of 2015. This two-year training course will help laity and clergy to sharpen their listening skills, clarify their graces, and acquire the disciplines essential for caring for souls in love.
Year one focuses on the history, traditions and models, Biblical roots and theological foundations of spiritual direction. It stresses the differences between psychological counseling and spiritual direction and demonstrates a contemplative approach to God.
Year two focuses on the actual practice of spiritual direction: developing listening and assessment skills; becoming familiar with displacement and projection, transference and countertransference; acquiring a working knowledge of the life stages of faith development; cultivating an increased awareness of the power of prayer and healing; and learning the importance of supervision.
For more details, visit our page.