To become a Spiritual Director, you must complete a minimum of 2 years training at an approved and accrediting program. The ESDA has helpfully provided the following resources for those interested in pursuing training.
Spiritual Direction Training and Support
ESDA is pleased to offer the following organizations as helpful resources in the area of spiritual direction and spiritual formation.
Biola University’s Institute for Spiritual Formation
A Christian, evangelical, academic community within Biola University and Talbot School of Theology. Located in Southern California they offer an MA in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, an MA and an MDiv with an emphasis in Spiritual Formation, and a Certificate in Spiritual Formation, and are dedicated to deepening the life of prayer and openness of the heart to God.
For more than a decade, Denver Seminary has provided training in spiritual direction that is evangelical in theology, classical in approach, and contemplative in spirit. Currently they offer a Certificate, an M.Div Concentration, and an M.A. in Christian Formation and Soul Care.
Emmaus Formation Centre
Located in southern Ontario, Canada, the goal of the Emmaus Centre is to enable the evangelical mission of the church by providing a sacred space where people can respond to God’s desire for a transformed people.They provide a supportive community and learning opportunities. The Emmaus two-year part-time certificate is offered to those called by God into the ministry of spiritual direction, as well as those seeking personal spiritual growth.
George Fox Evangelical Seminary
Located in Oregon, this seminary trains persons as spiritual guides in the Christian tradition with various degrees offered either locally or online.
HCM International’s Spiritual Formation
Certificate Program in Spiritual Formation & the Art of Spiritual Direction
This certificate program in Spiritual Formation and the Art of Spiritual Direction provides participants with the contemplative experiences, knowledge, and wisdom necessary to deepen their awareness of God, self, and others. A series of four residencies and two praxes form the core of this two-year training experience with faculty guidance and peer interaction between residencies using virtual formats.
Holy Conversation: A Course in Spiritual Direction in the Anglican Tradition
This two year course out of the Anglican Diocese in New England seeks to equip mature and skilled spiritual directors grounded in Anglican sacramental theology and the Catholic contemplative tradition. It is led by ESDA member Susan Skillen.
The Leadership Institute’s School of Spiritual Direction
By learning the lifestyle rhythms of Jesus first through our Journey process, our spiritual direction training process is unique and deeply transformative. Our formal spiritual direction training is enhanced by the student bringing into the training a lifestyle already deeply rooted in the rhythms of Jesus. In addition to training spiritual directors in a cognitive learning style, our prayerful goal is to also provide opportunities for lifestyle transformation that result in an abiding life with Jesus that flows into and empowers the ministry of the spiritual director.
Moody Spiritual Formation Program
This cohort-style program integrates emotional and spiritual development to assist individuals to radically and holistically deepen their relationship with Christ and be inwardly conformed to His image. They offer a one-year Spiritual Formation Certificate, which can be followed by a second year Advanced Spiritual Formation Certificate or a Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Each year is comprised of 4 weekend retreats, located in Mundelein, IL.
Richmont Graduate University
Located in Atlanta, GA, this training offers a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction through a series of five 3-credit hour graduate courses. The program is based around intensive residencies and on-line learning. It is rich in hands-on spiritual direction practice, while it focuses on the historical roots of spiritual direction and the role of spiritual direction within the Kingdom of God. Topics are explored and experienced in a growing community of learning, prayerfulness, and intentionality. Please contact co-directors Dr. Tim Harben (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Sharon Rowland (email@example.com) with questions.
Selah (East and West locations) at Leadership Transformations
Selah is a 2-year certificate program in spiritual direction which is intentionally Trinitarian in theology, contemplative in style, and biblical in grounding. This program’s participants and graduates represent over 20 states and 3 foreign countries from a variety of evangelical Protestant backgrounds. Both Selah-East (New England) and Selah-West (AZ) are offered within the context of a residential model. Selah nurtures spiritual direction’s foundational understanding of the theology of spiritual formation through faculty teaching during retreat Residencies (5 retreats over 2 years), as well as reading and reflection assignments in between Residencies. Selah also develops spiritual direction’s central practice, through small group experience during retreat Residencies, as well as individual experience of offering spiritual direction and reflecting on it with a Selah faculty Supervisor (in person or by phone) in between Residencies. Download a brochure or contact Selah Director Susan Currie for more information: Susan@ltinc.org.
Since 2008, Sustainable Faith has offered accessible, practical, and affordable training in spiritual direction. The program is cohort-based, with 1st and 2nd year training located at multiple locations throughout the U.S. and Europe. Their focus is on preparing pastors, church staff & lay leaders to be effective directors through integrative study and hands-on practice. Cohorts meet for five weekend intensives over the course of training. This contemplative, experiential Christocentric approach is open to Christians of all denominations. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Click below to see additional Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction programs recommended by ESDA.