DMin Spiritual Direction and Formation Specialization
Jerry Webber, D.Min., M.Div.
The ministry of spiritual direction rests on two fundamental convictions. First, a person’s relationship with God is primary and at the center of life. Second, one’s relationship with God continually unfolds in the context of self, others, and the created world.
Spiritual direction, then, refers to the ministry of holy listening and presence in which one person helps another attend to the God-relationship as it is interwoven with self, others, and the created world.
Spiritual direction may also be known as spiritual guidance, spiritual companionship, spiritual friendship, or soul-care. Whatever one calls this ministry, the spiritual director offers loving, listening presence to another who is seeking to be more attentive to the promptings of God’s Spirit.
The Spiritual Direction Specialization provides a comprehensive view of spiritual direction as a vital ministry of the Church. A nine-month practicum offers actual experience in spiritual direction, under the supervision of the Director.
Coursework in the Spiritual Direction Specialization includes attention to the following:
- The role of spiritual direction in the larger framework of the spiritually formed life;
- Methods of prayer, especially contemplative prayer and meditation;
- Development of spiritual practices which support an ongoing ministry of spiritual direction;
- Hebrew spirituality and New Testament spirituality;
- Faith development and the unfolding spiritual journey, including emphasis on the role of darkness in spiritual becoming;
- Various traditions of soul-care, including the Early Desert, Benedictine, Celtic, and Ignatian traditions;
- Dreams, depth psychology, and authentic selfhood in Christ;
- Creativity, including the use of poetry and art in the spiritual direction process;
- Spiritual direction in the local congregation;
- The role of the minister as spiritual director in the local congregation;
- Tools for creating small soul-care groups;
- Practical supervision of the student’s practicum as spiritual director over a nine-month period.
Dr. Jerry Webber directs this specialization in consultation with Dr. Becky Towne, Director of the DMin Program. Dr. Webber has a BA in psychology from The University of Tulsa, and MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He completed two spiritual direction training programs, one sponsored by Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and the second through Pecos Benedictine Monastery in New Mexico. Ordained in 1984 as a Baptist minister, he served two congregations as Senior Pastor for sixteen years. In 2000, he founded The Center for Christian Spirituality through Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston.