03 April 2014

New Way Ministries School of Spiritual Direction

Dr Crabb and Me.  I am a giant.
Last week, I attended the School of Spiritual Direction in Asheville, North Carolina. This week long school is offered by Larry Crabb and New Way Ministries. Dr Crabb is a clinical psychologist who is a popular speaker and author. About 20 years ago, he had a significant change in his thinking about what constituted helping or "soul care."

Dr Crabb has shifted from a counselor/counselee model to a focus on "conversations that matter" that can, and should, occur between believers. He describes wise conversations between pilgrim's on the way. There are none who have arrived in and of themselves; each faces his or her own brokenness.  Along with about 30 other people, we learned about what it meant to have conversations that matter.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but it is fair to say that I have not experienced anything quite like this event. We were given a binder full of notes, but we rarely looked at it. Dr Crabb encouraged us not to get bogged down in taking notes. Rather, I would describe the week as a series of conversations--sometimes with the whole group and sometimes one on one.

Over the week, each day had a rhythm of sorts. After breakfast, we would meet as a group from 9 until noon. This time involved worship, devotional thoughts from Dr Crabb, and his explanation of how he envisions having these conversations. His approach is very conversational, engaging the class with his stories and ours. He was very good at drawing people out.

The afternoons consisted of work in small groups of 3 or 4 where we were able to share one another's stories on most days. One afternoon was dedicated to meeting with Dr Crabb or one of the other directors. I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr Crabb a couple of times, which was helpful in understanding how he approaches spiritual direction. Meeting with 3 others, though was equally useful.

In the evenings, Dr Crabb would spend some more time talking through his model.  Though I would get tired, I always looked forward to the next session. And I never skipped any, which was unique from any other conference that I have attended.

The in between times were spent walking in the woods, visiting with new friends, or resting and relaxing. The beauty of the mountains is unparalleled.

More personally, I wish it were possible to explain the shift in my soul that I experienced when I was there. Spending time meditating on what Dr Crabb shared with me individually and what he talked about in the group has shaken up my thinking, in a positive way. I am eager to see how it affects relationships. Dr Crabb said, "spiritual formation is relational formation."

If you want to talk specifically about the school, or if you have questions, let me know. I would be eager to sit down with you and have a conversation that matters.

1 comment:

Alan Rieck said...

Sounds like a very formative and fruitful time. The relational integrity that is seen in the Trinity and that is designed to be evident in the church is such an exciting possibility. It is great to read a bit about your experiences and was great to chat briefly the other night. I would love to hear more.