Help! Integrating Spiritual Formation into the Congregation

Help! Integrating Spiritual Formation into the Congregation
August 4 - September 12, 2014
Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell, Oblate
Six week On-line Course
2 CEU’s

Spiritual direction is a valuable tool for anchoring the discipline of holy listening and faith formation within the congregation.  This discipline of Spiritual Formation is not relegated to a side program of the congregation or placed in a silo as a separate educational or small group ministry. This formative process is the foundation of all aspects of a congregation.  This six-week online class will assist clergy and lay leadership in building a foundation of spiritual formation in all facets of local church ministry. From the nuts and bolts of board meetings and budgets, accessing the congregational culture, to spirit-led worship, leadership training and formation; this class will provide “hands on” application for integrating spiritual formation into the congregation’s mission and vision. 

Why is this so important in the 21st century church?  Consider: What is the central point and focus of the body of Christ? Is it possible the laser sharp focus of faith has slipped into spiritual lethargy since the apostolic age? Could the integration of Spiritual Direction/ Formation intentionally into the body of Christ recreate a laser sharp focus? For a greater understanding of how the church has been transforming over the past hundreds of years check out: Hugh Halter and Matt Smay, The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incranational Community – the Posture and Practice of Ancient Church Now, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishing, 2008. ISBN #978-0-470-18897-2

Required Text:

  • Thomas Edward Frank, The Soul of the Congregation: An Invitation to Congregational Reflection, Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2000. ISBN #0-687-08717-1
  • Jane E. Vennard, A Praying Congregation: The Art of Teaching Spiritual Practice, Herndon, Virginia: The Alban Institute, 2005. ISBN #1-56699-313-X

Instructor: Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell, Oblate

Brenda’s deep passion for spiritual formation within the church is highlighted by companioning others in the exploration and discovery of God’s presence in community. An ordained elder within the United Methodist tradition, Brenda has trained as a spiritual director and supervisor of spiritual directors at Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. (  and has received the United Methodist Certification in Spiritual Formation.  Currently Brenda is training to become a member of the International Coaching Federation, where she is learning to be a Spiritual Coach for individuals and congregations. Brenda has served as the Minister of Spiritual Formation of a 3000 member church.  She is spiritual director for lay and clergy, a national retreat leader, co-founder and current Director of Learning and Formation for The National Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders, which kindles Hearts on Fire ( her rhythm of daily prayer, Brenda is an Oblate in the Benedictine Methodist Monastery, St. Brigid of Kildare. (

 With her online teaching certification, Brenda has taught spiritual direction and supervision of spiritual directors as a guest instructor at United Theological Seminary (UTS) along with other classes applying spiritual direction as a transformational foundation for a new awakening within the 21st century church. (  

In addition to spiritual direction and retreat leadership, two of Brenda’s favorite spiritual disciplines are swimming and ballroom dancing.

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UMC Logo Garrett-Evangelical, a seminary related to
The United Methodist Church, welcomes
students from a wide range of faith traditions.