When you picture Jesus on the road to Emmaus, this captures the spirit of Spiritual Direction. We are all on a journey with Jesus, but it is not always easy to discern His presence and activity in our lives. Spiritual direction helps us to “open our eyes” to see the One in our midst (Luke 24:31-32). Spiritual Direction seeks to create a safe and sacred place where stories are told, conversations take place, and the living God draws near, engaging us as only He can.
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)
Hospitable, strictly confidential, and grounded in Biblical truth, spiritual direction is a ministry that helps believers draw closer to God through prayer and spiritual exercises, attend more fully to the presence of God in daily life, and live in one’s calling as a follower of Christ.
What are the Benefits of Spiritual Direction for Pastors, Pastoral Spouses, and Lay Leaders?
To have a safe place to share joys, struggles, and questions.
To grow in personal spiritual disciplines as a way to create space to connect more deeply with God (acronym from Adele Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook).
- W – Worship God
- O – Open Myself to God
- R – Relinquish the False Self
- S – Share my Life with Others
- H – Hear God’s Word
- I – Incarnate the Love of Christ
- P – Pray
To focus on “being with” God instead of “doing for” God.
To recognize personal limits and develop healthy habits of rest and self-care.
To integrate the spiritual life and relationship with God into all areas of everyday life.
To seek clarity and discernment about vocation or life decisions.
Please contact Sandy Kuepfer (M.Div., Certified Spiritual Director) at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to schedule an initial appointment to discern if spiritual direction might be a good fit for you. Appointments are available in-person and via skype.
The Pastoral Health Ministry believes spiritual direction is a worthwhile investment in a person’s spiritual health, and we have budgeted funds to help make spiritual direction affordable for Church of God in Michigan ministers and their families. You will only be asked to pay a small fee for each session of spiritual direction with Sandy.
What is your Legacy?
King David said it like this in Psalm 78
Psalm 78:4: “…we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.”
I was honored by our congregation at Eagle Ridge Church of God in Midland to be given the opportunity to take a sabbatical during 2013. Several churches offer sabbatical time to Senior Pastors, but to give an associate that benefit is unusual.
Prior to 2000, I was a research and grant writer for a local university. I wanted to incorporate what I learned during that time into something that would benefit our congregation. It seemed that the sabbatical would give me the block of time needed to seek funding for the playground we wanted to build for the children in our neighborhood. That became my first priority.
The second, but not less than the first, was the advantage to the people in the congregation who took a leadership role while I was gone. We have a team of people who took over some of my duties during that time and did a great job.
Additionally, I was able to use the time to visit with some family members who I hadn’t spent time with in many years and take my two oldest granddaughters on a short vacation.
I began the research portion and eventually the grant writing portion of the project for the playground while on sabbatical. However, the funding for the entire recreational facility (which we have since named, Friendship Park) didn’t come until almost a year after the sabbatical ended.
We celebrated the building and dedication of the facility during the summer of 2015. Without the dedicated time of sabbatical, I would not have been able to begin the process. Many people joined together through donor funds, help with the building and landscaping to pass the legacy on to the children in our neighborhood.
This summer we will be honored to serve as a SHARE site for the Salvation Army of Midland. SHARE is a summer program for neighborhood children held in various locations throughout our city. We cannot think of a better way that the Eagle Ridge Church of God can be a good neighbor.
by Chaplain Dennis Cole
Recently, the Pastoral Health Ministry made available to every minister in the Church of God in Michigan an opportunity to take a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (C.P.E.). Some have responded but more should take advantage of this generous offer? With increasing funding now available for Ministerial enrichment, I want to share why I took several units of C.P.E.
At Anderson University School of Theology, I took my first C.P.E. class. I had been an associate pastor previously but in response to God’s Call to preach I wanted to be prepared to correctly handle the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15). Before graduating in 1991, I also chose to take one unit of C.P.E. I thought I had performed hospital ministry well before but that unit of C.P.E. gave me a better understanding of the day to day operation of a hospital and how I fit into it. I now more effectively minister to my parishioners who are hospitalized and I have an open door to minister to the medical staff as well.
What I learned about the hospital in that first unit of C.P.E. helped me understand why ministers are often not welcome in the hospital,or are watched very closely when visiting. I saw through newly opened, and now medically sensitive eyes how some practices acceptable in my church or the home were sometimes inappropriate in the hospital setting (For example, Communion is forbidden to someone just before surgery, and visits lasting longer than 10 minutes unnecessarily tires the patient who feels a burden to entertain you, their Pastor.). I also learned that there was a rhythm of care that I needed to fit into rather than expect that rhythm to stop for me so I could “do my thing.” Scripture is true in the hospital, too. There is a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Probably the best thing to come out of my first unit of C.P.E. was the comfortableness I now feel whenever I’m in the hospital. Maybe I was the only one to experience this but before C.P.E. whenever I entered the hospital I became nervous. I didn’t know how to act there. It was a sterile environment but I didn’t know my hands were considered unclean just because I touched the door knob, and that I needed to sanitize them before and after having contact with their patient, my parishioner. Nor did I realize that I was not welcome to visit anyone else in the hospital. I only had permission to visit my parishioner because they had requested it and no one else. Imagine my surprise to learn that unless the patient or the attending physician authorizes my stepping to the other side of the curtain I’m an unwelcome invader into the other patient’s bedroom and am risking having security escort me out never to be allowed to enter that hospital again. Even now, as a full-time hospital chaplain with the house physician’s standing-order authority to visit any patient in the hospital, I speak cordially if our eyes meet but I do not assume that because I am the hospital chaplain that other patient wants my visit. I respond if they do but I respect their privacy and their autonomy not to be bothered by me if they don’t invite my attention.
Just knowing how I fit into the rhythm gives me a comfortable feeling. I like it when the medical staff sees me functioning in the ways they deem appropriate and does not make added work for them later. And to think, I learned all this in C.P.E. I now understand why C.P.E. is taught at Seminary. But in case you didn’t go to seminary, or you didn’t have the opportunity to take C.P.E. when there, take advantage of the generous offer of the Ministerial Health Committee and get your first unit. You will be a better minister of the Lord.
Pastors do you need time away from the hustle and hurry of your ministry?
Is it hard for you to find time alone with your spouse?
Are the demands on you so much that the demands are taking a toll on your own family?
If so, then you need to get away and be alone with your spouse and the Lord, Jesus Christ.
These retreat centers give you the chance to rest, relax, pray and listen to God, all done in a beautiful setting.
There were no busy schedules that I had to make, no phone calls to answer, no emails to respond too....nothing. Just quietness before the Lord, great food, relaxation and beautiful scenery!
I urge any full time Pastor to check out these Web sites and reserve a week today for you and your spouse. You will be glad that you did.
Alongside is a Christian counseling and retreat ministry geared to the unique needs of Christian leaders, especially pastors and missionaries. At an Alongside retreat, you'll find a safe place--a place where caring, professional counselors can come alongside you as you seek healing and renewed strength for ministry.
Bridge Ministries, Inc., is a non-profit ministry that helps hundreds of people each year discover and live their unique, God-given calling as ambassadors for Christ. We do this through biblically-based Seminars, Video Workshops, and one-on-one coaching.
Our mission is: "to make disciples by training Christians for active church leadership and by preparing Christians for real world impact."
Broom Tree Ministries is a retreat center that offers 5 day spiritual retreats available for full time Christian pastors and their spouses. Retreat agenda is for participants to spend large blocks of time alone with God in prayer, rest, Bible study and time alone with their spouse. Daily schedule set by participants. Dinner together is required. All meals and lodging provided at no cost. They also from time to time will conduct (upon request) spiritual retreats for key lay leaders and their spouses.
Vernon, British Columbia
Nehemiah Ministries offers rest, renewal and restoration for clergy families in a retreat setting situated on 130 acres nestled in the Maple River Valley, five miles south of Owosso, Michigan. They provide a natural haven where individuals, couples and families can withdraw from their normal environment to rest, relax and enjoy God's creation.
The Shalom House is a retreat ministry which offers a place where pastors can relax, refresh and refocus. Time here is unstructured, whether it is used to read, think, study, listen to God's voice or reconnect with family. They offer two locations: New London and Suring, both in Wisconsin.
We invite you to join us for a Sabbath Time Retreat.
These retreats, held regularly for pastoral leaders, offer an opportunity to enter into an environment of rest, prayer, worship, spiritual companionship and support for engaging in the excellent practice of ministry.
The plan for a sabbath time retreat.
Sabbath Time Retreats welcome Christian pastoral ministers, lay and ordained of all denominations (or non-affiliated) to gather as colleagues, finding common ground in the call to Christian ministry and its challenges.
Each Sabbath time retreat runs for two overnights. The first evening begins at 7 pm, and includes an orientation and optional evening prayer. On the next day, you will have 3 meals, the option to attend morning and evening prayer, as well as a collegial sharing session. The final morning concludes with a gathering time and blessing after breakfast.
During leisure time, you may wish to avail yourself of the beautiful grounds and quiet nooks throughout the Retreat Center.
M-46 and Bagley Road, 2 miles east of St. Louis
Mailing address: 8489 N. Baley Road, St. Louis, MI 48880; 989-681-2581
The Lodge is a place for pastoral couples and others involved in church leadership and para-church organizations in search of spiritual renewal, restored relationships, and physical relaxation. Originally built as a private summer residence on the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan, this 82 acre French country estate has been turned into a Pastors' Retreat for those desiring to experience the joy of renewal in Christ. The Lodge offers four- and ten-day retreat for pastors and their wives.
1 mile north of Grand Junction on Lester Lake
Grand Junction, Michigan