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Year One

Becoming a spiritual director is first and foremost about the formation of the director.

The ministry of spiritual direction requires both formation and training; it involves transformation and education. Participants in this program will acquire the skills of asking good questions, listening attentively, and fostering stillness as they facilitate deep and meaningful conversations. Participants will also read and discuss many of the best books about this focused type of pastoral care. Yet, at the heart of this experience is tending to one’s own spiritual formation.

Our design for renewing the ministry of spiritual direction reflects this primary need for formation. Over the course of eight months, participants will participate in five two-day intensives which will meet from 8:00 a.m–5:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. These intensives will meet in idyllic homes, providing an atmosphere for deep personal reflection, discussion and growth. Our gatherings will be a place for experimentation with various contemplative exercises and practice in the skills of spiritual direction.

To receive the certificate of completion, there are seven requirements:

  1. Participate in all five modules
  2. Experiment with and engage in chosen spiritual disciplines
  3. Receive regular spiritual direction
  4. Offer spiritual direction (five sessions to two directees, totaling ten sessions)
  5. Submit a recording/verbatim for feedback
  6. Read the required books
  7. Submit seven monthly general reports via email

The intensives will also prepare participants for where the best training in the ministry of spiritual direction will occur: in offering spiritual direction to a few others in their own contexts. Hence, the intensives are like laboratories along the way as you learn to provide direction for others. Between the intensives, participants will also receive spiritual direction.

Fall 2022- 2023 Year One cohorts

Apply Now!

The cost of this experience in formation and training is $2,950. Payment in full is due before Module One. Payment plans are available upon request and must be approved by the Director of the Institute for Christian Spirituality. 

This price covers your training as well as breakfast and lunch during each of the modules. You will be responsible for the cost of your travel, lodging, books, and any other meals.

Pay in Full

Make a Partial Payment

The deadline to apply for our fall cohorts is Friday, July 1st. All applications received after this deadline are automatically archived and a new application is required to be considered for the following year.

If you have any questions about our spiritual direction cohorts or anything pertaining to the Institute for Christian Spirituality, please email us at

Fall Year One Cohorts

2022- 2023 Fall Locations, Facilitators & Dates

Paige Pope

Nashville, TN: Paige Pope

Paige has degrees from Freed-Hardeman University and Indiana University. She is currently finishing her Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation at George Fox University (Portland Seminary). Paige is a former teacher, principal, and professional development specialist, so she is very excited to combine her love of Spiritual Direction with her background in education. Paige completed two years of training in Spiritual Direction through the Institute for Christian Spirituality at Lipscomb University and an additional year of training through Sustainable Faith to accompany others through the Ignatian Exercises. She has also completed a nine-month experience of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, training in Immanuel prayer, and additional training through Healing Care Ministries. Paige has been married to Tim since 2003 and they have two wonderful children. She is originally from New Concord, Kentucky and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee. Since their marriage, Tim and Paige have lived in Michigan, Illinois, Texas, and finally Tennessee. She loves to travel, hike with her family, and read.

August 26-27, 2022
November 4-5, 2022
January 20-21, 2023
March 3-4, 2023
April 21-22, 2023

Photo of John Grant

Lebanon, TN: John Grant

John Grant has received monthly spiritual direction since 2003. "In leadership roles, soul care gets pushed aside. You're always nurturing others, and few people watch out for you. Spiritual direction has been a lifeline, a safe place to grow as a leader and as a child of God."
John worked in congregational ministry with three churches over 24 years. Since 2018, he has served as Executive Director of Compassionate Hands, a network of 45 Wilson County churches caring for people experiencing homelessness. He completed SD training with ICS – “this training is life-changing. It revitalized my connection with God and it re-shaped how I respond in every conversation.

September 9-10, 2022
November 11-12, 2022
January 20-21, 2023
March 17-18, 2023
May 12-13, 2023

Grant Azbell

Memphis, TN: Grant Azbell

Grant Azbell’s formation includes two years of spiritual direction training, nine months of Ignatian spiritual formation, training in Immanuel formational prayer, training in identity formation through Healing Care Ministries, and training in spiritual companionship on the doctoral level through Lipscomb University. Grant has sixteen years of full-time ministry experience and also teaches philosophy, logic and world religion at Northwest Community College. He holds a Master of Divinity from Harding School of Theology and is in the project/dissertation stage of his Doctorate of Ministry in missional theology and spiritual formation at Lipscomb University. Grant loves God and people. He is a practitioner as well as teacher and draws heavily from his ministry experience, his academic training, his spiritual direction training and experience to train first year directors.

September 16-17, 2022
November 11-12, 2022
January 13-14, 2023
March 3-4, 2023
April 21-22, 2023

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A Message for Elders