LCI Update: Back From Spiritual Direction Training in Ottawa


Air Canada prop lane 18 seaterI am back from a week up in the Ottawa region of Canada. The plane pictured to the right is the small prop plane that took me on the first flight from Harrisburg, PA to Toronto. It was an 18 seater. Kind of fun being in it. Fast take of and landing. Plus you can watch through the front window of the plane as we come in for the landing.

I met my good friend Barry Whatley for two days of connecting, spiritual friendship, strategic thinking about leadership, missions, coaching/mentoring and more. What a great mind and heart! Barry uses a French Canadian phrase "We heat our house with the same wood." That means we are on the same page when it comes to the things that matter most. Missions, Spirituality, Leadership, Mentoring Leaders, Organizational Change... Barry thinks deeply about these things.  

For about a year, Barry and I have been planning to launch the LCI Spiritual Direction Training process in the Ottawa area. Last week was the official launch of that process. A group of twelve people gathered at a retreat center a few hours north of Ottawa.

The LCI process of training spiritual directors consists of three modules/courses.

The first course - Getting Started: Foundations of Spiritual Direction - introduces the participants to a distinctly evangelical model of spiritual direction that is rooted in the classical way of spiritual direction that guided the church through most of its history. Core components of our model are:

  • Trinitarian,
  • Christ-centered, 
  • Rich in Scriptural wisdom,
  • Holistic in terms of the mind, heart and will,
  • Integrated in using best insights and practices from various fields of education, counseling and mentoring,
  • Centered on the personal and particular experience of God's Presence, Work and Word,
  • and seeking to learn from the various streams of living water (different church traditions).

We cover the nature of spiritual direction (and the nature of Christian spirituality). Then we talk about the person who does direction. Next is a close look at the work of spiritual direction. The last focus is the practical and ethical matters involved in spiritual direction.

There is never enough time to cover this material fully. Still, the conversations and interactions are vigorous and delightful. The perspectives and insights that are offered from the participants (pastors, coaches, teachers, students, market-place leaders) are stimulating. It is a week of facilitative learning that includes being in community with each other. 

While the week involves about 70% training in the ways of spiritual direction, about 30% of our time intentionally involves spiritual formation as well. Every day, one of the major themes lends itself to deep reflection about one's own journey.

I always hate to leave these times of community and learning. Relationships are formed. Seeds are sown. Doors are opened. I wonder - where will the Spirit of God lead each person? What are the next steps on their own journey of intimacy with Jesus and growth in the ministry of spiritual direction?

Sometime later this year, the group will begin working their way through the second module which is an extended nine month journey of being in direction, providing spiritual direction, monthly learning in a new theme each month, all in the context of a mentored relationship. It is a privilege to be a part of the learning journey and ministry development of these leaders.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International
BrianRice@lcileaders.org