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The importance and value of a Spiritual Director

July 4, 2007

I’m coming to the conclusion that if you are in a role of leadership in the church (whether full time, part time, or volunteer makes little to difference to what i am about to say) please consider having a spiritual director.

So what is a spiritual director? I’ve heard it described as “being present to God for another.” It is a process where one person, a director will spend time listening to you while also listening to God to help you discern what God is doing in your life so that you can cooperate with his desires and activity for you.

Here’s some of the basic components that I am learning/finding helpful:
1. A Monthly meeting
2. Pay for it. Most spiritual directors understand the value of having someone pay for the experience. The last 2 director’s i have had both asked me to pay but give the money somewhere else besides directly to them. They didn’t need or want my money but they wanted me to value it and see it as valuable so they had me “pay”/ donate to something else. Others might need the money to support themselves and that is legit to.
3. Keep a journal and troll it before meeting with your director.
4. Interview them. Wait for a fit. Don’t commit to anything till after the 2nd meeting. it takes time to discern if if will be a fit. I went through several potential directors before finding one I really connected with. Sometimes we get the feeling that if we just try hard enough or hang in there it will get better. sometimes we don’t want to disappoint the director so we just ‘settle.’ And sometimes we are just so desperate or frantic that we’ll take ‘whoever is willing.’ These are all understandable but short sighted approaches.
5. understnad the difference between Spiritual direction and counselling. The focus of spiritual direction isn’t to fix you. The focus is on God, listening to him and discerning together what he is doing one’s life. There is value to both. it is just important going in to understand the difference.

Receiving spiritual direction has been one of the most pivotal experiences of my life in Christ. I pray that you find that to be true for yourself as well. If you need help finding one let me know and I’ll see if I can help you connect with some in your area. kevinrains@mac.com

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2007 1:41 pm

    I have a brochure I give potential directees and ask them to read it before they come to interview me, and it makes a couple more “this is NOT” type distinctions which I think are also important: it’s not counseling, yes, but neither is it mentoring/discipling, nor is it shepherding.

    I’ve had an odd assortment of directors — two Anglican parish priests (one live, one online), one nun, one group of women, and now a lay Roman Catholic woman — and I’ve gone without a director for some time at various points. I do think a comfortable fit is important, maybe especially early on… but it’s also true that there are functions of being in direction that work even if the person is sort of a stretch for you.

    And absolutely pay. It’s important for the way it helps you value it, yes, but it’s also a justice issue. No one goes to a masseuse or a counselor or a personal trainer and says, “I know you probably need to support yourself, but could you just give me free appointments anyway?” If someone is supported in another way (member of a monastic order, chaplain at a hospital whose hospital lets them do direction on work time, independent income) that’s a different issue.

    In New England we have a network of evangelicals involved in spiritual direction, and our sort of parent organization is just kicking off a training program for directors: http://www.leadershiptransformations.org/selah.htm

  2. July 4, 2007 4:09 pm

    i have been without a spiritual director for too long…lots of sacred companions around – and i know we do provide this as a group at times, but i need to be more intentional to reach out and find a spiritual director…

    thanks kevin…

  3. July 5, 2007 8:27 pm

    Hey Kevin, did you know this post got picked up on the blog of Spiritual Directors International, where you are identified as “an auto body shop owner and spiritual follower”? It just came across my RSS reader.

    http://info.sdiworld.org/archives/2007/07/05/spiritual-direction-won-t-fix-you

  4. July 13, 2007 5:22 am

    Good advice Kevin. Training to be a spiritual director one of the most “pivotal” experiences in my Jesus-following journey thus far… Hope all is well with you and the family.

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  1. What is a spiritual director? - The Sabbath Life

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