Spring is just around the corner. It is a season marked by new life and growth. After the dark days of winter, springtime is a welcome relief. As human beings, we are drawn to growth; we yearn to see vitality and new life.
As a spiritual wellness practitioner, I encourage individuals to grow and bloom into the beautiful persons God designed them to be. I come alongside of them as they cultivate the rich soil of faith in order to unearth a life-giving relationship with God.
With over 25 years of ministry experience, I felt called by God to create a new ministry category – spiritual wellness practitioners. What is a spiritual wellness practitioner? Is it the same as a spiritual director or coach? No! While there are similarities, there are significant differences.
A spiritual wellness practitioner is trained to come alongside of individuals in order that they may accurately assess their spiritual wellness and formulate an action plan for growth. He or she is educated on the various ways individuals connect with God and helps individuals identify their natural connection style. A spiritual wellness practitioner is versed in a wide-range of spiritual practices/disciplines and teaches those to others. Some spiritual wellness practitioners receive additional training to identify spiritual wounds and offer individuals appropriate healing care methods.
A spiritual wellness practitioner utilizes basic coaching techniques: active listening, powerful questions and designing actions. Nevertheless, coaching isn’t the only modality that a spiritual wellness practitioner employs. A spiritual wellness practitioner is not the same as a coach.
According to the International Coaching Federation, coaching is “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” Coaching is an opportunity for a person explore and embrace the change he or she desires to see happen. It is best suited to those who are highly motivated to experience personal transformation.
As a spiritual wellness practitioner, you may accompany an individual who is not highly motivated. He or she may have resigned him or herself to the fact that his or her relationship with God is the best that it can be. Unfortunately, countless individuals relate to God in a manner that does resonate with their spirits. Many individuals have had limited exposure to the gamut of spiritual practices/disciplines. A spiritual wellness practitioner recommends spiritual practices/disciplines that are suited to an individual’s God-shaped connection style. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a spiritual wellness practitioner lifts up possibilities for a person to explore, which may enable the individual to more fully embrace his or her relationship with God.
There are elements of a spiritual wellness practitioner’s role that are similar to a spiritual director. In spiritual direction “help [is] given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction). While a spiritual director and a spiritual wellness practitioner both desire an individual to deepen his or her relationship with God, a spiritual wellness practitioner utilizes a variety of assessment tools and a spiritual wellness checkup to evaluate a person’s overall spiritual condition. A spiritual wellness practitioner identifies things that may be inhibiting a person’s relationship with God and he or she makes suggestions as to how one might best address these areas. He or she formulates a plan with the client to move toward spiritual wellness.
If you are a person who is drawn to see individuals grow in their faith, then consider registering for the spiritual wellness practitioner pilot program. If you have questions or want more information, please contact Rev. Dr. Candace Adams, ACC at firstname.lastname@example.org.