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Integrating Spiritual Formation Into Your Ministry Setting

Text: Integrating Spiritual Formation Image: Bible open to Psalm 23 on a wooden table

January 15 – February 21, 2020

Instructor: Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell
Course Fee: $200.00 (includes 2 CEUs)
Registration Deadline: January 14, 2020

Click Here To Register Now

Spiritual direction is a valuable tool for anchoring the discipline of holy listening and faith formation within the congregation or any ministry context. 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 or individual ministry context. From the nuts and bolts of board meetings and budgets, to accessing the culture of your ministry context, to spirit-led worship, leadership training and formation, this online class will provide a “hands on” application for integrating spiritual formation into your 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?

Course Requirements

Required Texts

  • Thomas Edward Frank, The Soul of the Congregation: An Invitation to Congregational Reflection, Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2000. ISBN #0-687-08717-1
  • Gil Stafford, When Leadership and Spiritual Direction Meet: Stories and Reflections for Congregational Life. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2014. ISBN# 978-56699-441-5


Rubric for successful CEU Completion

Expectation of Participants

It is expected that participants shall spend 3-4 hours per week on all aspects of the course, including preparation, reading, posts, and responses to classmates.

The participant will breathe deeply of God through daily times of mediation and prayer. You may desire to try the challenge of 20 minutes of silence three days a week for the duration of this class.

  1. The student will post TWO insights and learnings from this class each week. (10% of completion)
    Due date: ONE posts due each week by Wednesday and ONE response posts to classmates due by Friday each week.
  2. Each week the student will turn in a 3-5-page reflection paper on the weekly topic.  The intent of these papers is to focus the students’ imagination and thoughts on how to integrate spiritual formation into the congregation or other contextual ministry. (40% of completion)
    Due date: weekly reflections papers are due by Saturday.
  3. During the final week of the class, participants will write a compilation of the weekly reflection papers creating a full proposal for integrating spiritual formation into the life of the congregation or other contextual ministry. (40% of completion) 

Included in the final paper:

  1. Length 10 pages (This a compilation of the weekly papers.)
  2. How the spiritual life of the leader (either lay and/or clergy) influences the integration of spiritual formation into the life of a congregation?
    1. How spiritual direction impacts leader and community.
    2. The effects of prayer practices (contemplative and/or active) on the leader and what affect this has upon the congregation/ ministry context.
  3. A plan of implementation for spiritual formation as foundation within the congregation.
    1. Outline at least three steps you intend to take to integrate spiritual formation as foundation into the life of your congregation.
      1. Each step will include a format explaining
        1. Purpose: why you are going to implement this step.
        2. Projected outcome: how the ministry context will be affected into deepened relationship with God, the effects on mission and/or ministry.
        3. Naming those whom will assist you in implementing these next steps.
        4. The anticipated time line for implementation of each step.
    2. What spiritual direction traits or qualities will be implemented for leadership training.

Due date: Monday February 17, 2020 at 8:00 am ET

4. Final zoom teleconference Thursday February 20, 2020, at 6:00 pm ET. The focus is sharing the participants highlights of integrating spiritual formation as foundation into ministry context. (10% of completion)

About Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell

Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell

Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell

Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell is a practitioner of prayer.  She personally engages in the art of integrating prayer and spiritual formation into personal life and ministry. Brenda is an author (The Advent of God’s Word, and a weekly blog at and founder of Living Streams Flowing Water. She is a United Methodist Endorsed spiritual director, coach, and educator who opens interior space for the power and presence of Christ to shape individual and community life to fullest potential for authentic living.

Brenda has extensive experience in practical application of spiritual direction for training small group leaders and educators. By weaving together spiritual direction (Mercy Center), theology and leadership (Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary), she empowers persons to exceed their current level of leadership. With an online teaching certification, she is adjunct in spiritual formation at Ashland Theological Seminary, teaches for GBHEM UMC Cyber Campus, Garrett-Evangelical Connectional Learning, and CenterQuest. Brenda was co-founder of The Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders.

In addition to spiritual direction, two of Brenda’s favorite spiritual disciplines are swimming and ballroom dancing. The delight of life is her children and grandchildren for whom she strives to be Amma.


Please visit the Connectional Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the full list of our frequently asked questions.

Want to learn more about the online courses offered through the Rueben P. Job Institute? Please visit the Rueben P. Job Institute Online Courses in Spiritual Formation/Direction webpage.

Cancellation Policies

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Course Cancellation Policy

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary reserves the right to cancel the course if a minimum participation level is not reached. If we cancel this offering, participants will be notified of the cancellation 7 business days before the offering’s start date and will receive a full refund.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Policy for Participant Cancellation

Participants can withdraw from the course in writing via e-mail to

Refunds will be provided according to this schedule:

  • Withdrawals received more than 30 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 100% refund.
  • Withdrawals received between 29 to 16 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 50% refund.

No refunds will be issued for withdrawals received 15 days or less before the course starts.

Additional Information

Other suggested texts to assist in implementation of integrating spiritual formation into the congregation:

  • Peter Koestenbaum, Leadership: The Inner side of Greatness, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 2002 #0-7879-959562.
  • Trevor Hudson, Holy Spirit: Here and Now, Nashville, Upper Room Books, 2013, ISBN # 978-0-8358-1220-7
  • Christine Valters Painter and Betsey Beckman, Awakening the Creative Spirit, Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction, Harrisburg, Morehouse Publishing, 2010, ISBN #978-0-8192-2371-5.
  • Jane Creswell, Christ ~Centered Coaching: 7 Benefits for Ministry Leaders, St. Louis, MO. Lake Hickory Resources, 2006. ISBN # 978-0-827204-99-7.
  • Rueben P. Job, Spiritual Life in the Congregation, Nashville, Upper Room Books, 1997 ISBN # 0-8358-0818-1.
  • Debra Farrington, Living Faith Day by Day, New York, The Berkley Publishing House, 2000. ISBN # 0-399-52620-x.
  • Richard Foster, Streams of Living Water, New York, HarperCollins Publisher, 2001, ISBN # 0-06-052822-7.
  • Joyce Rupp, Praying our Goodbyes, Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press, 2005. ISBN # 9-780877-933700.
  • Roberta Bondi, To Love as God Love, Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1987 ISBN # 0-8006-2041-0.
  • Craig Galbraith and Oliver Galbrath, The Benedictine Rule of Leadership, Avon, MA. Adams Media, 2004. ISBN # 1-59337-005-9.
  • Judy Dwight, A Quiet Pentecost, Nashville, Upper Room Books, 2013. ISBN # 978-0-8358-1199-6.
  • Jane Tomaine, St. Benedict’s Toolbox, Harrisburg, PA. Morehouse Publishing, 2005. ISBN # 0-8192-2152-x.
  • Bertman, Stephen. Hyperculture:  The Human Cost of Speed, Westport, Connecticut:Praeger, 1998.
  • Chittister, Joan, O.S.B. The Rule of Benedict :  Insights for the Ages, New York: Croassroads, 2005.
  • Fassel, Diane. Working Ourselves to Death: The High Cost of Workaholism and the Rewards of Recovery, Lincoln:, Inc., 2000.
  • Palmer, Parker. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life: Welcoming and Weaving Community in a Wounded World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
  • Myers, Joseph R. The Search to Belong: Rethinking Intimacy, Community and Small Groups. Grand Rapid, MI: Zondervan, 2003.
  • Law, Eric H. F. The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb: Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 1993.
  • Bill Easum and Dave Travis, Beyond the Box, Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2003. ISBN # 0-7644-2536-6.
  • Jimmy Long, The Leadership Jump, Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2009, ISBN # 978-0-8308-3364-1
  • Max De Pree, Leadership is an Art, New York: Doubleday,1990. ISBN# 0-385-51246-5.
  • John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publisher, 2000. ISBN # 0-7852-6882-0.