Date of Award


Document Type

Project Portfolio

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)



First Advisor

Ekaterina Lomperis, PhD

Second Advisor

Jacqueline Bland, DMin

Third Advisor

MaryKate Morse, PhD


We live in a world consumed by commotion. The eyes of most are constantly focused on screens and our attention is often fixated on things of least importance. But what if the church had a means to encourage folks to set aside daily distractions, pay attention to the world, and intentionally listen to the Spirit of God? The following pages are devoted to the idea that: Intentional, outdoor-focused experiences, coupled with guided reflection and thoughtful observation of one’s interactions, have the potential to cultivate engagement with the Spirit of God, leading to spiritual development by creating opportunities for self-awareness and a sense of connection with God, others, and the natural world. As this idea was refined, a primary insight rose to the forefront: organized structure seems to be beneficial to engaging the Spirit and experiencing connection with God. Though overprogramming can be detrimental, ordered practices, such as Lectio Divina, provide a framework for guidance, support, and knowledge of the Spirit. Along with traditional research, two vocational experiences contributed to this study. I currently serve in both staff and faculty roles at a Christian University. Prior to this, I worked for nearly a decade at a faith-based conference center facilitating outdoor formational programs for guests and staff. Both experiences have influenced the following project. The subsequent project is a facilitators handbook outlining a retreat that utilizes an adaptation of Lectio Divina (i.e., Lectio Creatio) to foster observation, reflection, and engagement with God (i.e., contemplation) in the context of natural space. The facilitators handbook provides theoretical, experiential, and practical information that could be utilized to facilitate the proposed retreat or adapted and employed in other contexts to encourage spiritual growth. The ensuing work, therefore, is not only the handbook, but also the unique experiences developed through the use of the handbook.


Revised August 2023

Included in

Christianity Commons