Spiritual Development Coaching
Doing an online search for Spiritual Development Coaching will reveal the literal hundreds and thousands of hits for those offering spiritual direction and guidance. Unfortunately, much, if not most, of it is of little to no eternal value, as it is rooted in humanistic mysticism that focuses on supernatural spiritualism that has no foundation in truth or reality. Sadly, many people in the church, where maturity in faith and growing in personal holiness is rooted in truth, also miss the opportunities to experience what God desires for them.
Spirituality Is Foundational For All
Everyone is spiritual! Regardless of your specific faith (e.g. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, etc.), or even if you claim to be an atheist, you have a belief system that undergirds what you believe to be true and how to think and act. Everyone is spiritual and spirituality – your belief system – supports every single aspect and area of your life. Your thoughts and your actions are based squarely on what you believe to be true about yourself, the world, and your place in it. When your beliefs are based on sandy grounds or are rooted in half-truths or untruths, you’ll soon see the effects in other areas of your life. Your relationships will struggle, your happiness will be fleeting at best, and you’ll always have a sense that something is “off.” Christians, too, can find themselves at a spiritual impasse, burnt out on serving, or looking for greener pastures because they’re “not being fed here anymore.”
Spiritual Development Rooted In Intimacy
Intimacy is at the heart of spiritual development or spiritual formation coaching. Specifically, spiritual coaching is about helping a person explore, develop, and then live out a more intimate relationship with God. To accomplish this, intimacy must be part of a person’s life already. They must be intimate – close, aware – with themselves first, before they can be close to God. In His wisdom, God has arranged that our intimacy with Him is often experience through our intimacy with others. We experience a deeper relationship with Him when we also have deep relationships with others in our lives.
Most of the traditional means of developing spiritual maturity – spiritual disciplines, discipleship, mentoring – take an “outside-in” approach. Meaning, information is presented from an outside source and is then digested and attempted to be lived out. Coaching takes an opposite approach. Choosing instead to “draw out” what a person already knows about themselves and situation they are presently in to discern a path of direction that is specific to them. The Holy Spirit plays a pivotal role in this process, both in helping to develop questions posed by the coach but also in helping the client discern their own answers.
Six Stages of Faith Maturity
James Fowler and Janet Hagberg have indentified six prominent and consistent stages of faith development or maturity. Sadly, 75% of Christians will stagnate in or around stage 3, never experiencing greater depths of growth. Coaching engages clients who are typically hitting the wall of stage 3 and helps draw them up through stage 4 and into stage 5, on their way to a truly transformed life.