What is Spiritual Direction?
Throughout the whole journey of our life, the most important and significant relationship we have is the one we share with God. The completely intimate nature of this relationship makes it precious, and intensely personal. It grows in the quiet of our own reflections and experiences.
Spiritual Direction is about giving attention to our relationship with God. It’s a discipline that invites a spiritual director to act as a witness, bringing some guidance, encouragement and companionship in that journey.
A spiritual director directs our attention to the ways that God is moving toward us. They also help us discern our reactions to Him. A director is sometimes a witness, sometimes another pair of eyes and ears for us, sometimes a mid-wife, sometimes a tour guide, sometimes a ‘yes’ and a nod for us, and sometimes a gentle, encouraging push. Sometimes they’re simply a fireside companion as we sit and contemplate our journey of faith.”
Spiritual Direction FAQ’s
How long a commitment is required for spiritual direction?
Your commitment to spiritual direction is a commitment you make to yourself, so it is up to you to decide. It is helpful to keep in mind the vulnerability we often feel in going to reveal to another person our relationship with God. This vulnerability may sometimes discourage us from continuing to see
our director; however, as with other relationships, as time passes we become more and more comfortable and the attention we are giving to ourselves and [to our relationship with] God bears more and more fruit in our lives.
How often would I meet with my director?
It is common practice to see your director every 2-6 weeks – approx. once a month. Sometimes people want to meet with a director one or two times to help them make a decision or deal with a crisis of faith, however most people see a director on an ongoing basis. It is up to you to arrange your meetings with your director.
How is SD different from counseling or prayer ministry?
Counseling is focused on a problem we would like help in solving. Prayer ministry is the practice of meeting with one or a few people and having them pray focused prayers for us about a problem we are facing. Spiritual direction is focused on our ongoing relationship with God. When problems do arise they are looked at in light of how they are effecting our relationship with God, and not necessarily with a view to solve/solving them. If a director feels it would be helpful for you to see a counselor, they may recommend that to you. And while your director will pray for you, in a direction session they will lead you to talk to God yourself and/or pray with you.
Who usually sees a spiritual director?
Anyone who would like the support and companionship and the inherent accountability of seeing a spiritual director. Many people seek direction in times of life transitions, decision-making, or when they feel unsure of themselves and their relationship with God. Others see a director as a commitment to themselves to be deliberate about cultivating their relationship with God. In some Christian traditions, clergy and clergy in training are required to see a spiritual director on a regular basis. For leaders in the church, spiritual direction can be a helpful tool to make sure their personal relationship with God is not lost in the busy-ness of Christian service.
How do I know if direction is for me?
If you have a personal desire to grow closer to God, and to be intentional about developing our relationship with him, then spiritual direction can be a useful tool.
Is a spiritual director going to tell me what to do and give me heck if I don’t do it?
In spiritual direction, the word direction refers to the direction of your attention to God in your life, and to your reactions and responses to him. It does not mean the giving of directions/instructions to you. A spiritual director will not tell you what to do, but they may ask questions to help you decide for yourself. An spiritual director will support you in your movements toward and away from God, and they may ask you questions about this movement to help your relationship with God continue to develop. The only accountability in direction is inherent. When you know you are meeting to talk about yourself and God, you may be more aware of this relationship simply because you have scheduled a meeting to talk about it with another. Your relationship with God is your own, and your responsibility. Your spiritual director will not take that responsibility from you or even share it with you. What they will do is help you pay attention to God in your life, and to learn more about yourself and how you are responding to Him.
Is a spiritual director going to tell my pastor or small group leader what they learn about me?
No. All that is discussed in a direction session is strictly confidential. That said, directors (along with all of us) are legally bound to report situations where your personal safety or the safety of others may be at risk. If this is the case you will be advised. In addition, your spiritual director may seek the advice of their supervisor when needed. In this situation your session may be discussed anonymously (all identifying details removed) with a supervisor. (Note: Direction supervisors are not part of our church community.)
What qualifications are required of a spiritual director?
Our spiritual directors all have a significant personal history of Christian service and intentional pursuit of their own relationship with God. In addition, they have all taken a course in SD. (Currently all our directors are graduates of Sustainable Faith School of Spiritual Direction, Norwood Ohio.) All our directors see a director themselves, to continue to develop their own relationship with God. And all our directors have access to a supervisor of spiritual direction, should they need advice and support regarding anything they may encounter in their practice. As well, we are all directing at Cambridge Vineyard under the authority of and with the endorsement of Scott Roe, pastor of the Cambridge Vineyard.
Why is there a fee for spiritual direction?
Your fee is a recognition of the time and energy given to meet with you. A spiritual director charges a modest fee for their time, which includes their preparation time, the direction session, their processing time after a session, (approx. two hours’ total time for a one hour session) and their time meeting with a supervisor of direction when applicable. If for some reason you are completely unable to pay for a session, please talk to your director to decide if alternative arrangements are possible.