Spiritual Formation-Spiritual Direction Certificate Program Update

By R. Neal Siler

September 14, 2018

From our beginnings with Cohort A, where we really were blessed to learn with our friends as we listened to God together, to the winding down of year one with Cohort D, HCMI’s Spiritual Formation and the Art of Spiritual Direction program has been an incredible journey of growth, learning and joy. In reflecting over the past year with Cohort D I have been able to see God’s hand at work in wonderful ways. The days of connecting, spiritual friendship, learning about how we care for people who may not look at life through the same lens has been a real gift. Teaching/mentoring and more – with heart and mind – with prayer and sensitivity to others has been amazing. Hospitality has taken on a new meaning. Befriending our desires and noticing the unseen real of God’s movement has captured us – heart and soul. To share in and witness to our students’ growth, deepening awareness and sense of what God is doing gives a sense of satisfaction and resolve that all in all, God is at work – this is His doing. We get to flow in this lively stream.

Our Spiritual Direction Training program is a wonderful compendium of classic and transformative approaches to care that also embraces formational prayer. We focus on the interior life of the director as the starting place where deeper prayer and conversations about what God is doing begins. Equal attention is given to equipping the spiritual director with caring skills through a formative process that includes a wide cross section of spiritual and theological readings and practical skills training. Equipping our students in this way builds confidence and competence with a loving, caring sensitivity that embraces journey as the ongoing movement towards wholeness and wellbeing.

The pre-residency work introduces students to the work of spiritual direction and what to expect during their two-year journey. Four week-long residencies form the core training model that offers a distinctively evangelical approach that is rooted in the classical way of spiritual direction. Philosophically the approach is trinitarian, Christ-centered and theologically grounded with a moderate Ignatian emphasis in scope and practice. The program integrates insights and practices from education, counseling, and kinesthetic experiences to form a model that is attentive to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life and work of the spiritual director and awareness of the same in the director’s work with directees. In year two, where the training is largely accommodated through a supervised peer approach to learning there is greater emphasis on skills development, integrating formational prayer and focusing on practical and ethical matters involved in shaping a spiritual direction ministry.

With all that this program offers, a standout for both, students, teachers, and staff is the stimulating and deeply fulfilling sense of being in community with each other that is experienced during the residencies and the interim journey group chats. If you have a desire to connect with people and help them in their journey of healing and wholeness, consider spiritual direction training as the next step for you.  

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