What is Spiritual Mentoring?
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
||Spiritual mentoring, also known as spiritual direction or spiritual companioning, is an ongoing relationship between two individuals centered in God. The “Seeker”, a person who desires to focus attention on his or her spiritual life, meets with a “Mentor” on a regular basis. Conversation and prayer lead to becoming more attuned to God's presence, with the intention to respond more fully to His leading and guidance in their life. Known from Christianity's earliest days, this ministry is being renewed among us through this Spiritual Mentoring program.
The mission of Spiritual Mentoring is to provide
a person on a spiritual journey
their relationship with the Divine.
At the heart of Spiritual Mentoring is the intent to provide the Seeker with personal attention regarding how God is moving in his/her spiritual life. Each Christian is on a journey to God, walking in the footsteps of Christ. Each Christian lives a paradox: simultaneously surrounded by a Christian community and yet alone on their path. A Spiritual Mentor is a fellow Seeker who walks side-by-side with you for a while, helping you recognize and interpret the signs from God along the way and supporting you in prayer.
Who might benefit from Spiritual Mentoring?
Anyone on a spiritual journey who desires to move closer in their relationship to God is welcome.
How do I meet a Mentor?
If you are interested in spiritual mentoring, first pray for God to guide your search. At Calvary, you can contact Pr. Phil at email@example.com and Bios of Spiritual Mentors available through Calvary are listed at the end of this guide. Spiritual Directors International (SDI) at www.sdiworld.org is a good resource for finding SDs in your area. Also, ask your pastor or the rector of your Via de Cristo Ultreya for assistance.
How do I select a Mentor?
Both Seeker and Mentor should have a sense of the rightness of their relationship to enable open, honest communication. A reverence for the unique way God is working in both lives is important, also. The Seeker and Mentor should not be close acquaintances, which makes objectivity difficult. Specifics of age, sex, denomination, etc., may or may not be a determining factor depending on the individuals involved. What is essential is that Mentor and Seeker be comfortable enough together to accomplish their purpose. If the initial introduction goes well, plan to meet a few times and then re-evaluate the relationship. The time commitment is normally one one-hour meeting per month with more frequent meetings in the beginning or as needed.
What is the Mentor's role?
The Mentor's role is to focus the Seeker's attention on his or her relationship with God as it is reflected and challenged by all aspects of that person's life. The Mentor may question, challenge, suggest, or support as seems called for by the Holy Spirit, but ultimately the Seeker must own whatever insights are uncovered or any course of action to be taken.
What principles guide the mentor relationship?
- The Holy Spirit is the real mentor or director.
- Everything shared is confidential. Mentors are not counselors and do not offer advice and do not have the legal protection of confidentiality held by pastors.
- Each Seeker is responsible for his/her own walk with God.
- The focus is God: his presence and guidance in all life experiences.
Program for Spiritual Mentors –
Who is eligible to be a Spiritual Mentor?
An individual may be recommended to the program by a pastor, Ultreya rector, a Mentor, or other recognized leader in our spiritual community. The ministry is one we are called to, not one we "volunteer" for. However, this doesn't mean an individual can't discuss a sense of call to the ministry of spiritual direction and seek a recommendation to the program.
What qualities should a Mentor have?
- Be a mature Christian
- Be a mature adult, secure in his/her identity
- Be a listener (able to listen without "fixing" the other person or pushing their own agenda)
- Be able to maintain confidentiality
- Be able to make a two-year commitment
- Be recommended by a pastor or other recognized spiritual leader
Is mentoring similar to therapy?
Therapy and counseling deal with particular issues in an individual's life. The goal is a healthy resolution of these issues. Spiritual mentoring is about finding and responding to God in all facets of life, in the midst of suffering and of celebration--and in everything in between. Spiritual Mentoring is not counseling or psychotherapy.
How are Mentor's trained?
Spiritual Mentoring training is available at Spiritual Direction schools, such as, Pecos Benedictine Monastery in Pecos NM, Mercy Center in Burlingame CA, Heart Paths training in Dallas TX, Shalem in Bethesda MD. For continuing education and peer group supervision, Mentors join in small groups for training and discussion and meet once a month, normally on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00PM. Mentors benefit from sharing their experiences and concerns with the other Mentors in the group (always within the bounds of confidentiality).
Do you have more questions?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (Pr. Phil) and we will get back to you. A brochure is also available about Spiritual Mentoring that we would be glad to mail to you.
Informational web sites:
For in-depth information about spiritual direction and spiritual formation, go to websites for Spiritual Director training, such as:
If not spiritual mentoring/direction, then what?
Perhaps you feel something needs attention in your life relating to personal or spiritual growth, but spiritual mentoring may not be what you need now. Test your particular needs through the following questions and suggestions:
? Am I looking for "how to's" in developing a prayer life? Or a group I can share and pray with?
Consider: Spiritual formation groups; church prayer groups
?Are there areas of my life calling for focused healing prayer?
Consider: Local church healing services; church prayer groups
? Am I seeking moral, biblical, or theological guidance for my life?
Consider: Church leadership and groups; talk with your pastor
? o I want to deepen my theological understanding or explore the possibilities of lay ministry?
Consider: The Parish Lay Ministry Academy (www.plmacademy.org)
?Are there specific problem areas of my life or troubling emotions siphoning off energy?
Consider: Counseling or therapy; 12-Step Groups
?Do I feel the need for "spiritual friends" with whom I can have an informal mutual relationship of prayer,
sharing and support?
Consider: Via de Cristo (VdC) "small groups" (anyone is welcome, regardless of VdC experience--talk to
your pastor or Ultreya rector)
Spiritual Mentor Bio: Jim Cronkhite
- BS and MS degrees in Engineering from University of Texas at Arlington, TX.
- Certificate in Spiritual Direction from the Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA (July 2008).
- Kairos Prison Ministry – served at Coffield TDCJ Unit near Palestine, TX since 2013.
- Certified Ordained Chaplain – International Fellowship of Chaplains (IFOC) 2018.
- Stephen Ministry training (May 2008).
- Graduated from the Parish Lay Ministry Academy (PLMA) of the ELCA Lutheran Church, NTNL Synod (spring 2009).
- Completed Bible Study Fellowship 8 year program.
- Spiritual workshops and retreats:
- Richard Foster’s Renovare Conference in Austin, TX (Sept. 2006)
- Silent 7-day retreat at the Redemptorist Desert House of Prayer in Tucson, AZ (Jan. 2006) soon after my wife passed away.
- Centering Prayer workshops including a four-day Centering Prayer silent retreat at Montserrat in Dallas, TX (Mar. 2006)
- Participated in Via de Cristweekend #73 St. Luke Family, March 2007.
- Three-day spiritual retreat at Trinity Pines Retreat Center near Houston, TX (Feb.2007)
- Directed spiritual retreat at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Houston (Feb. 2008)
- Lenten Retreat with Fr. Thomas Keating in Austin (Feb.9, 2008)
- Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation at Lake Texoma, TX - ProthrCtr. (Mar. 2008)
- Ignation Spiritual Exercises retreats at Montserrat in Dallas, TX and the Jesuit Center in Grand Coteau, LA (Sept 2009)
Experience: Research Engineer at Bell Helicopter Textron (retired). Kairos Prison Ministry and IFOC Chaplain. Served in the Lutheran churches I have attended as a teacher of the Bible, prayer, and Christian living. Served on prayer and spirituality committee at Peace Lutheran church that led workshops and retreats. Trained Spiritual Mentor, Stephen Minister and Parish Lay Minister and member of Calvary Lutheran Church. I have been in spiritual direction since 2005. Married to my wife Sheila Cronkhite since 2015. Wife Patti died in 2006 and I have four children. I enjoy sailing, landscaping and traveling.
Ministry: Prison Ministry, Chaplaincy, Teaching, small group facilitator and Spiritual Mentor. As a Spiritual Mentor I want to help those on a spiritual journey as a listener and spiritual companion. Spiritual Direction or Mentoring helps those on a spiritual journey as they begin to share their interior thoughts, dreams, fears, hurts and hopes. In response to that sharing, they learn to become aware of the movement of God in their ordinary lives, work and prayer. God is always present and directing the process.