Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
During the last thirty years interest in the ministry of spiritual direction has grown rapidly within evangelical circles. This paper explores the conditions that have nurtured this change. Specifically, this dissertation defines and describes spiritual direction, sets forth its biblical and historical context, and then explores a variety of factors that help explain its increase in popularity among evangelicals. In the final chapter, the dissertation turns to a consideration of how best to prepare the growing number of evangelical spiritual directors and proposes an outline of a curriculum for a spiritual direction equipping program.
The paper is divided into three basic sections: what evangelical spiritual direction is; why spiritual direction has become so popular among evangelicals; and how best to equip the next generation of evangelical spiritual directors.
The “what” of evangelical spiritual direction is covered in the first two chapters. The first chapter speaks to the increased attention that the ministry of spiritual direction has received in recent years and briefly outlines the balance of the dissertation. In chapter two, the ministry of spiritual direction is more clearly defined. The chapter contrasts spiritual direction with other related but different ministries. It also continues to develop the understanding of spiritual direction by setting the ministry in both its biblical and historical settings.
Answering “why” we have witnessed such an increased interest in spiritual direction among evangelicals is the central work of this dissertation. Chapter three explores the social, philosophical and economic trends of the last thirty years that have lent themselves to the growing interest in spiritual direction. Chapter four looks at theological shifts in evangelicalism over the same time period that have created a more hospitable environment for this ministry. Chapter five traces the catalytic influence of Henri Nouwen and Eugene Peterson in opening the door to the acceptance of spiritual direction among evangelicals.
Given this increasing interest in the ministry, the last chapter explores “how” evangelical spiritual directors should be equipped. The paper concludes by integrating the insights from the earlier chapters and developing the outline of a curriculum for a spiritual direction training program.
Van Duzer, Margie, "Spiritual direction and evangelicals : exploring its growth" (2011). Doctor of Ministry. 10.