Spiritual Direction at FPC

What is “spiritual direction”?

Spiritual Direction is a guided relationship that aims at helping persons listen for God’s voice in their own life experience. It will feel like a mix of life-coaching, mentoring, friendship, counseling, and pastoral care. Those seeking direction will be expected to take initiative in the process. My first questions for you will be, “What brings you here? What kind of work would you like us to do together?” My role is to listen, to ask questions, to suggest areas for exploration, and to help you make connections and imagine ways to move forward.

Why is it called “spiritual” direction?

The term “spiritual direction” is an old one. It names a relationship in which those involved are at least open to discovering new depths in the many ways God actively relates to us. Though we may – if a person chooses – explore our images and symbols of God and examine our inherited practices of prayer, the process will focus on ordinary life, relationships, and the struggles and challenges that face us.

Are you qualified to do this kind of work?

Sort of. Because this is an experiment, I (Jared, the pastor at FPC) will be the one offering direction for now. I would love it if later there were some others trained to provide direction for the congregation and the community. But for now it’s just me. I am a pastor with experience helping people pay attention to God in the midst of all sorts of thorny issues. I do not pretend to be a therapist, psychologist, or licensed counselor.

My most important credentials are these: I have made lots of mistakes and gotten stuck more than once. I don’t believe there’s any one model for what a human life or a marriage or anything else should look like. We’re all different. My own experience in therapy and spiritual direction at a particularly difficult time in my life was one of the best things I’ve ever done.  I’m ok talking about taboo stuff. I’m ok with you crying or getting angry, or whatever else needs to happen. And I believe that “god” is the underground river of energy flowing down deep underneath your life and that if you can reconnect to that stream, you will find your own way forward.

How will it work?

The goal is to make spiritual direction available to those interested, though of course we may need to limit the number. I envision being in contact twice a month (once digitally – via email or text – and once face to face). On alternative months, we may try a group gathering (if there are several interested). Let’s shoot for a commitment of six months (January – June) and then see what happens.

Does it cost anything?

No, though if you miss a scheduled appointment I may exact revenge by asking for $10 given to the charity of my choice!

Do I need to have a “problem” or “issue” to engage in “spiritual direction”?

No. Some will be drawn to it primarily for the life-coaching elements like goal-setting, next steps, and accountability. In case you are not sure what kinds of things we might explore, here is a list of just some basic areas that can come into focus, depending on your interests.

  • health, wholeness, healing
  • pleasure, delight, joy, curiosity, travel
  • money, finances, budgets, priorities
  • work and career transitions, goals or frustrations
  • suffering, sickness, pain, questions about our bodies
  • grief, loss, disappointment, regret, guilt, shame
  • family of origin issues
  • childhood and adolescent development
  • dream exploration
  • marriage and dating
  • parenting and family dynamics
  • sex, sexuality, and desire
  • bitterness, anger, jealousy, stress and anxiety
  • creativity and playfulness
  • friendships and loneliness
  • aimlessness, lethargy, lack of focus, feeling stuck
  • questions about prayer, spirituality, religion, god-images

How do I sign up?

Call the office (223-3180) or send Jared an email (jared@fpcfs.org) expressing your interest.