Friday, July 20, 2012

Spiritual Direction Guidlines

What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is a discipline for healthy, mature, adult believers who understand the Christian faith. Spiritual direction is a Christian discipline in which a “directee” seeks out a “director” to help discern what God is doing in his/her life. The director seeks to provide an atmosphere in which the directee can discern the presence of God in one’s daily life and respond meaningfully. Spiritual direction is not teaching, disciple-making, counseling, mentoring, or therapy.

A spiritual direction session is a time to look at one’s relationship with God in a safe, prayerful, and welcoming atmosphere. Where are you being stretched in your faith right now?  What is God saying to you in all areas of your life? How is God inviting you to grow more fully into the person He wants you to be? How do spiritual disciplines help or hinder your growth?

Here is a helpful illustration to distinguish between a spiritual director and other helping relationships. When an individual seeks help for his/her marriage:
A friend listens and shares joys and struggles about marriage.
A teacher tells what the Bible and wise Christians have to say about the subject.
A disciple-maker develops a biblical plan for growth in marriage.
A counselor finds problems that affect the marriage and seeks to change behavior.
A mentor models a healthy marriage and builds a relationship with the person.
A spiritual director helps the person discern God’s presence and listen for God’s voice in the joys and sorrows of marriage.

How will our director-directee relationship work?
During our initial meeting, we will explore the possibility of developing a spiritual direction relationship. If we agree to continue meeting, we will decide on meeting times, location and other logistics. I meet directees in offices designated for spiritual direction at the Church of the Nativity in Northborough and at Grace Church in Oxford. Other venues are also possible.

I recommend meeting once a week for the first few sessions. After that, depending on your needs, we can schedule appointments every other week or once a month. The time belongs to you, so bring your questions, reflections, and insights from your life with God. If you do not bring anything to discuss, I will ask questions to discern how God is working in your life. I may offer some insights or a passage from the Bible that relates to your experience. My main desire is for you to hear the Lord speaking personally. It is my practice to pray with directees during each session.

What is the directee’s responsibility?
I ask you to come to each session with a desire and willingness to welcome God’s active presence in your life. Be honest with yourself and with God. Please make a commitment to watch for the hand of God in your daily life and to take steps to grow in following Him as you sense His invitation.

We will discuss an affordable financial arrangement during your first appointment. A fee makes it possible for me to provide spiritual direction. It also gives you incentive to receive the most from our time together.

I ask you to be on time for each appointment. If you are not able to keep an appointment, please contact me at least two hours in advance or I will expect payment for the time.

What about confidentiality?
I am ethically committed to hold all information expressed in our conversations as sacred and confidential. I will not release any information to a third party without your signed consent, unless it is legally and/or ethically required, as in cases of actual or suspected abuse, or other risk of injury to myself, to a minor, or to any third party. Also, because of confidentiality, it would not be appropriate for me to serve as a reference. If you are receiving counseling or pastoral care, and want me to communicate with your therapist or pastor, I will need written consent from you before initiating any communication. While I am bound to confidentiality, you are free to share whatever you choose about our conversations.

What is the director’s responsibility?
If we decide to establish a relationship, I will pray for you regularly, I will offer you my prayerful attention when we are together, and I will attempt to be honest and biblical in my conversation. I will review the terms of our meeting with you annually, but either of us may terminate the relationship at any point. We will develop a termination plan together.

While our conversations may touch on psychological and relational issues, I do not offer psychotherapy. Nor do I offer professional financial advice. Any decisions and actions you take in regard to finances are done without my advice or recommendation; they are solely your responsibility.

What is my training and experience?
I have met consistently with a spiritual director since 2010. Prior to that, I worked with several spiritual directors, from various Christian traditions, over the past twenty years. In June 2012 I completed a two-year certificate program in spiritual direction offered by Selah (, a ministry of Leadership Transformations, Inc.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from Roberts Wesleyan College (1972) and a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (1978). I served as a pastor in the Baptist tradition for over twenty years. In June of 2010, I entered the Anglican tradition.

Stan Bohall
41 West Summit Street #23
South Hadley, MA 01075

*Adapted from a similar form created by Hallie Cowan.

Spiritual Direction Covenant*
 We have read and discussed the guidelines outlined above. By God’s grace, we agree to abide by them.

Date:  ___________

Directee’s Signature: ____________________________________

Name: _____________________________________________________________

Address/Phone/E-mail: ____________________________________________________

Director’s Signature: _____________________________                 

Stan Bohall

*Adapted from a similar form created by Hallie Cowan.

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