Marriage Retreats Pastor & Ministry Leader Retreats The Journey Marriage Intensives

Spiritual Formation + Soul Care

What is Spiritual Formation?

Spiritual formation is a contemporary way to refer to the process of sanctification. It is an attempt to spell out the nature and dynamics of growth in holiness in our relationship with God. (Romans 8:9)

How do we become the kind of people God intended us to fully become? To not simply do Jesus things, but to want to do Jesus things the Jesus way. This is the journey of spiritual formation.

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction is a Christian discipline where a spiritual guide or “director” helps a directee listen, notice and be open to God and His love. The focus is sharpening a “soul sensitivity” to God and growing our awareness of Him so that we may abound in love and discern what is best. (Philippians 1:9-10)

Hospitable, confidential, and grounded in Biblical truth, spiritual direction is a ministry that helps you grow in intimacy with God and live into your calling as a follower of Christ. Spiritual direction is a form of soul care that sits under the umbrella of spiritual formation.

Spiritual direction might be a good fit for you if:

  • You need a safe place to share how you’re experiencing God
  • You are curious about what’s happening in your own soul
  • You long for more in your relationship with God
  • You are in a current season of transition or choice
  • You desire to to continue cultivating a life of prayer

Frequently Asked Questions

Isn’t the Holy Spirit the only one who should direct me spiritually?

Often misinterpreted, the practice of spiritual direction is not instructive or even “directive.” A compassionate and skilled director guides the directee through reflective listening and thoughtful questions to listen deeply to God’s movement in their life and their own internal responses to Him.

True spiritual direction is about deep listening. It differs from spiritual friendship or “soul friends” in that it’s not a peer relationship. Spiritual direction is directee-focused.

Why should I begin spiritual direction?

• The most important relationship in life is the one you have with God. The primary intent of spiritual direction is to guide you into a deeper intimacy with God.

• For pastors and Christian leaders it is paramount to have a safe place where one can attend to the ongoing process of transformation in Christ without any other agenda.

• One of the greatest commandments is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Spiritual direction is a ministry of soul care that helps you notice what’s happening within your own soul so that you can love Him with all of it.

How is spiritual direction different than other care ministries?

• Spiritual direction is not meant to replace other forms of helping ministries such as biblical, pastoral, or psychological counseling.

• Spiritual direction differs from other care ministries primarily in its focus. The intention in spiritual direction is not to help solve a problem or accomplish a certain goal. Life with God is a journey to be discovered and not a goal to be accomplished. The aim is attuning to God’s presence and activity in the life of the believer wherever they find themselves on their journey with God.

What can I expect in a spiritual direction session?

• Meetings take place in person on the WinShape Mountain Campus.

• Each session lasts an hour.

• Often the director opens in prayer and offers a reflective question to begin the conversation.

• The dialogue is guided by times of silence, reflection, and attentive listening.

Why should I try spiritual direction or soul care?

Just as food is important for the body to stay healthy and strong, spiritual direction and soul care is nutrition for your spiritual faith, alongside other spiritual practices such as reading Scripture and prayer. These practices provide a rich diet for a healthy relationship with God and your spouse. The title in John Ortberg’s book says it all, “Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You.” As marriage expert and WinShape veteran Gary Thomas often says, ”It is only out of a healthy soul that we can build a healthy marriage.”

Spiritual Direction Resources

If you would like to continue with Spiritual Direction after your R&R,
below are two resources for you to consider.

Agape Center
for Spiritual Formation

Roswell, GA

Grafted Life Ministries

Choosing A Spiritual Director:

  1. Consider finding a director as your initial conversation to have with God in the process
  2. Reflect in prayer
    • Are there specific questions or issues in my spiritual life or relationships that I want to discuss?
    • Am I in a time of significant transition or life change?
    • How am I currently experiencing my relationship with God?
    • Am I having trouble identifying God’s presence in my life?
    • What am I hoping for in spiritual direction?
  3. Acknowledge any preferences you may have:
    • Gender preference
    • Age preference
    • Ministry Background
    • Cultural Identification
    • Theological Perspective
  4. As you search through a list of directors pay attention to directors you are drawn towards in relation to your preferences.
  5. Reach out to a director for an initial session to discern if there is a fit.
  6. Pay attention to:
    • Does the director seem experienced in the ways of the soul as a result of attending deeply to their own spiritual journey?
    • Does the relationship have potential for honest dialogue?
    • The level of tension/comfort when sharing your personal life
    • How did the director listen to your story?
    • Evaluate if you feel understood by the director
    • Does the director take initiative to define your relationship by discussing code of ethics, session format, fee expectations etc.?
    • Does the director consistently lead you back to your relationship with the Lord?
    • Is the prevailing feeling one of comfort and hope after the initial meeting
    • Is the director experienced in a variety of spiritual disciplines that open others to God?
    • Is the director trained through a recognized spiritual direction training program with accreditation’s attached?
    • Is the director in spiritual direction himself/herself and is also in ongoing supervision?
  7. When you have spoken with 1 or 2 directors return back to your conversation with God before you make your final decision.
  8. Finally, take a deep breath. God is your true director and He will guide you in the right direction.

Have Additional Questions?

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