Well folks, it is official. This spring, I will begin a certification program in spiritual direction, offered by Perkins School of Theology, SMU.
I'm excited about this opportunity. In pastoral ministry, I have filled the role of spiritual director by listening carefully to those I have led, assisting them in their journey to know and act upon God's will.
In direction, the directee partners with a director to achieve similar goals. Certification provides formal training in this ministry, and for a person like me, provides a knowledge base from which to move and work as I volunteer with high school students, sit down in conversation with friends, and minister to others that lead in a pastoral capacity. Certification also provides authority if I wish to offer my services to those seeking direction in a way similar to, but different from, a professional counselor.
"Spiritual Direction" will sound odd to some; as a formal discipline, it is commonly embraced in the Catholic tradition. But in the past 40 years, much work has been done in formalizing the practice of direction in other Christian denominational traditions, equipping those in the ministry of direction with a deep knowledge of church history along with contemporary best practices for holy listening, discernment, and wisdom.
Thus far in life, I have been fortunate to befriend a broad range of people serving the church in multiple ways. Above all, I hope that obtaining skills in direction will help me to be a better friend, a more competent guide, and a more able counselor to those whom I am privileged to know. Stated differently, I hope my training in spiritual direction will strengthen the church's sense of hearing, as I help others better hear and comprehend where God is calling us to go.
I hope you will join me in celebration, support me in prayer, and follow along as I share what I learn.