Spiritual Guidance Seminar
Two levels of training in spiritual guidance are offered by the AMBS Church Leadership Center. Spiritual Guidance Seminar, the first level, is a supervised program for pastors and others who want to become spiritual directors. It will be offered during 2018 in a low-residency, “hybrid” format, with instruction taking place both on-line and on-campus. The seminar begins in January and ends in July. The seminar is limited to 12 participants.
The purpose of the spiritual guidance seminar is to foster competence, compassion, and spiritual awareness in the practice of spiritual direction through presentations, supervision, prayer, reading, and writing. It’s open to persons who have received at least one seminary course in Bible plus one seminary course in theology. (See below for detailed prerequisites.)
Offering spiritual direction to others is a ministry that summons us to draw from an extensive body of knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Therefore the topics in this seminar will range widely across scripture, practical theology, the spiritual journey, prayer and spiritual practices, ethics, psychology and human development, approaches and techniques, texts and traditions from the history of Christian spirituality, contexts (social, economic, ethnic, gendered, situational, etc.), and tools.
The first half of the seminar concentrates on initial steps in providing guidance to directees, while the second half explores guiding people in particular contexts. Issues considered include discerning the presence of God in multiple situations, the contribution of guidance to the mission of God, shaping guidance in various ecclesial and ethnic contexts, and offering guidance across the adult lifespan. Throughout students will receive supervision for their work as directors.
Graduates of this training in spiritual guidance from AMBS have used their skills not only in spiritual direction, but also to strengthen their work in pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, denominational leadership, neighborhood development, local mission, and international mission.
Dan Schrock, DMin, sessional faculty, AMBS, is an experienced pastor and spiritual director from Goshen, Ind.
Schedule Jan - June 2018
- Jan. 9 - Feb. 2 On-line work
- Feb. 5 - 10 Classes meet on campus
- Feb 12 - June 1 On-line work
- June 4 - 9 Classes meet on campus
- June 11 - July 20 On-line work
When the seminar meets on campus, participants should reserve the daytime for class and the evenings for reading and reflection. The amount of work required for this seminar is approximately equivalent to a 4-credit hour graduate course.
Ministry in its many forms provides abundant opportunities for accompanying people on their spiritual journeys and guiding them to deeper faith in God. In this seminar, participants will learn the art of spiritual guidance both through theoretical study and developing practical ministry skills. Components include:
- Studying the literature of spiritual guidance
- Experiencing spiritual guidance (both as director and directee)
- Reflecting on and discussing assigned readings
- Participating in supervision
- Reflecting theologically on the readings, discussions and personal experience
- Growing to understand the ways of God in human experience
- Becoming familiar with the literature of spiritual guidance
- Developing skills for one-to-one spiritual guidance ministry
- Acquiring resources and skills to promote spiritual guidance ministry in the life of the congregation
- Practice spiritual disciplines and meet at least monthly with a spiritual director
- Read three books prior to the first session of the seminar (it may be best to read them in the following order):
- Sue Pickering, Spiritual Direction: A Practical Introduction (Canterbury Press, 2011)
- Susan S. Philips, Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction (Morehouse Publishing, 2008)
- Richard Peace, Noticing God: In Mystical Encounters, in the Ordinary, in the Still Small Voice, in Community, in Creation and More (IVP Books, 2012)
(Two additional textbooks will be assigned after the seminar begins.)
- Participate in all seminar sessions and complete all the readings (readings will be available on-line and will include a variety of short articles and essays).
- Provide spiritual direction for two to five different persons, for a minimum of fifteen sessions in total, with a goal of providing at least seven sessions with one person.
- Participate in individual and peer group supervision, which includes preparing a contemplative reflection form and a dialogue form.
- A 2- or 3-year seminary degree is recommended. The ministry of spiritual direction draws on a knowledge of scripture, theology, history, and human development.
If you do not have a seminary degree, the minimum requirements are:
- one seminary course in Bible,
- one seminary course in theology,
- submitting a 8-10 page paper
- At least one year of receiving spiritual direction before the seminar begins
- References from two persons who know you well
- Active involvement in a local congregation
- Permission of instructor
- Submit an online application.
- Please have two references, one from your pastor or area conference minister, and another from your spiritual director complete this online reference request indicating your readiness for training as a spiritual director.
- If you do not have a seminary degree, submit an 8-10 page paper. (Application Essay PDF)
- Submit essay via postal mail to Church Leadership Center, 3003 Benham Ave, Elkhart, IN 46517 or by email.
- Complete the online application
- Have two references, one from your pastor or area conference minister, and another from your spiritual director complete this online reference request
Face-to-face sessions will be held on the AMBS campus and additional work will be completed online.
- The cost of the seminar is $1200 before Dec.15, $1400 after.
- After you have been notified of acceptance into the program a non-refundable deposit of $600 is due.
- The remaining payment is due the first day of the seminar.
- Click here for the payment form.
- Church Leadership Center membership Level 3 offers a 15% discount. Learn more
Lodging for participants who travel from a distance is available for a fee, upon request, at the seminary guest house on a first come first served basis. Contact the AMBS receptionist, 574.295.3726 ext. 0, to check availability and to make lodging arrangements. Please tell her the event to which you are coming and make payment for lodging with her.
Bring your own sack lunch or eat at a local restaurant. A list of local restaurants will be provided on the first day.
Continuing education units
7.7 CEUs are available for completing this seminar.
Email the Church Leadership Center