Spiritual Direction is commonly offered in a one-on-one environment. That is, a Spiritual Director would commonly meet monthly with a person for about an hour each time. In addition, a trained Spiritual Director is likely to facilitate groups according to the same model - that is, consciously creating space for God, facilitating an environment of listening, focusing on asking open questions, encouraging people to engage at a heart level, honouring people’s stories, and fostering a sense of trust. In this way, a person may take the role of Spiritual Director within a group on retreat, for example, or they may simply bring this way of leading into regular team gatherings, small groups or debriefs.
Spiritual Direction is different from a normal approach to one-on-ones or leading a small group, as well as from counselling or coaching. In Spiritual Direction the person can bring anything to the conversation and the Spiritual Director will use open questions to help the person pay attention to the ways God is with them and inviting them to engage with him within their experience. They will not generally offer advice, teaching or solutions, but rather wait on God for his presence and communication with the person.
Anyone offering Spiritual Direction should have received training that equips them to ask good questions, to listen well to the directee and to God, and to safeguard the integrity of the Spiritual Direction relationship. They will themselves be meeting regularly with a Spiritual Director, and they should attend regular supervision. We also encourage Spiritual Directors to set out clear expectations with their ‘directees’ in the form of a written agreement.
Spiritual Direction can be a great support to people who are serious about their ongoing Christian formation. It is a way for people who are not in a training context to meet a mature Christian on a regular basis and to share vulnerably about their lives. It is a way to encourage people to live as those who seek God first, and who practice what it means to listen for his voice and leading, and to respond.