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What is Spiritual Coaching?

“Becoming Whole” – that is the goal. But, when you can’t see past your past, it’s hard to believe you can be whole again.  Have you ever considered Spiritual Coaching?

We’re sure you have lots of questions: What is it? How does it work? Why should I even try?
Listen in as Josh invites coaches from the Regeneration Ministries Team to unwrap what it all means.

To be clear, we all have secrets and baggage. Spiritual Coaching offers a way to lay it down in a safe, sacred space and see a path beyond it. Despite our brokenness, God is inviting us into a life of wholeness and goodness and freedom.

Spiritual Coaching is a way to hearing God’s call and saying yes.

Highlights:

It is this privilege to come alongside people wherever they are, and to listen to them, and to listen to God, and to help them understand some of what’s going on in their life.

There is something very holy, set apart and sacred when someone is sharing their story and we’re in it with them.

So often, the stories that we carry, we can’t imagine that anyone would want to step into our story with us. But in that moment we’re stepping in and that’s what Jesus does.

Resources/Extras:

Care of Souls” Dr David Benner“

Jesus said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.’ Immediately, the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!’ – Mark 9:23-24

Click for Full Podcast Transcription

Josh 0:02
So if you’ve been to our website, you have noticed this strange phrase that’s on there called this thing called spiritual coaching. What is spiritual coaching? You know, is it like a kind of like baseball coaching, but about spirits? What’s going on here, like? And so we wanted to take some time today and unpack a little about what we mean by spiritual coaching. So if you’ve ever been interested in the possibility of doing this with regeneration, we want to know what’s going on behind closed doors. What does that mean to engage in that but even if that’s not for you, we really think the conversation it’s about we’re about to have, it’s gonna just be helpful because the truth is that every single one of us needs some elements about in our own journey, that are going to be contained in things that we do at spiritual coaching people one on one here at region so so just listen in and and and hopefully it’ll be helpful for you and your own kind of continued pursuit wherever you are in life towards becoming more Christ like. So I’ve invited kit, Elmer and Dan keefer. They are two of the six coaches on our team here at region. And I’m sure that the four others would kind of many of them would be sitting around the outside and I want to be in that conversation. I love spiritual coaching. It’s such it’s such a heart part of the heartbeat of what we do. So Dan and Kitt. Let me just kick it to you. What is spiritual coaching?

Dan Keefer 1:36
Thanks, Josh. Well, you know, when people come to regeneration ministries, they do so for any number of reasons. They might fit in several different categories. Maybe it’s related to sexuality, intimacy, identity, or possibly some other other reason that’s motivating them. So one of the ways that we can think about spiritual coaching is to see it as a relationship. A relationship where one person being the coach is coming alongside the other person which we might call the client. in a way that’s very similar to how Jesus engaged with people during his ministry on Earth. Actually, Jesus often use the metaphor of being a shepherd, to describe the way that he interacted and engaged with people. Dr. David Banner in his book care of souls refers to Jesus as a soul shepherd. And in a similar way, we do the work of shepherding as we come alongside men and women, providing care for their souls.

Kit 2:37
And I really love that term, soul shepherd, I think it does speak. You know, really well about what it is that we do because it is this privilege to come alongside and wherever people are, and to listen, and to listen to them and to listen to God and to it help them understand some of what’s going on in their life. I think a lot of people who come present with things just aren’t working, maybe they’re clear about what’s going on. Maybe they’re not, but to be able to be a sole Shepherd to be able to talk to them about what’s going on, and pray for them and get clarity and understanding is such a privilege.

Josh 3:22
But I appreciate that you guys and I, I agree, there is a shepherding of the soul, it takes place in spiritual coaching. And I gotta tell you as the director at region that is serious business to me, because the moment we’re talking about shepherding someone’s everybody’s souls being shepherded mean whether they’re in some type of formal mentor, spiritual coach, spiritual direction, whatever relationship, every single person on the planet soul is being Shepherd in some direction. And that’s serious, that’s a sober business. And unfortunately, there’s a lot of shepherding in directions that are that are really destructive, that are people are being carried away in directions that they they don’t Know that they’re being moved in a certain direction or being shepherded in certain direction. So when I think about you guys on this team, it’s one of the reasons I have I personally have such a high standard for who is on this team and how we do this because I want people to be shepherded. Well, and then you were pointing out in benders book, these characteristics of Jesus and how he modeled some things that that we try to, we try to follow his lead on in the shepherding. And I want us just to kind of talk about that for a minute. Because if I was a listener, I’d be going Whoa, who are you to check myself? So let’s talk about some characteristics of the Jesus springs. So Dan, why don’t you just introduce to see even the idea of what Ben is talking about in his book with these, these characteristics?

Dan Keefer 4:45
Yeah, so he actually provides I think it’s about 27 of them. And we’re not going to exhaustively go through all 27 by any means. But we see him modeling what it looks like to care for our Shepherd people’s souls and So we’re just want to hit a few of the highlights are in the individual items that kind of stood out to us. And one that really stands out is we see Jesus meeting people where they were. And the one the one story that just stands out to me is Jesus’s encounter with a woman at the well. He met her where she was coming. He didn’t wait till she was at a different location or different place, but he was there, he was present. And he was there as she was going about her day. And so he met her exactly where she was. He knew what her story was before even the encounter took place. And he didn’t try to jump jump ahead in the story. He just allowed the story to unfold and cared for her in that way. And to the degree that in the story, we see that she felt heard, understood and seen. And that’s one of the aspects of shepherding someone’s soul that I think is really significant about what we offer as well.

Kit 5:59
Hey, I totally agree. And I think that as Jesus met people, we really want to meet people. We don’t want them to feel like they have to come in. You know how we sometimes when we meet with God, we think we have to get ourselves together. We don’t want people to feel like they have to get themselves together, they we want them to come, honestly where they are, you know that they can be real and honest about that they’re struggling, that life is hard, because it is. And so, you know, I think that’s a really important thing that to communicate that hey, if you’re if you’re coming in for spiritual coaching, we don’t want you to feel like pretend like you have it all together. We would never expect that you did have it all together because none of us do. We want you to come and be honest and allow God to meet you where you are as well.

Josh 6:48
That’s one of the most beautiful parts of this whole journey. I think for me and, and because I think that there even in the Christian world, there can be wherever it comes from this pressure to have the right answers. have the right outfit, so to speak, metaphorically speaking, to show up to the right things. Literally the truth is our hearts are broken. Our hearts are far from God, our hearts have rebellion in them. And so to find a place where you can, not as not as permission to stay stuck, but just to admit and acknowledge, I am stuck, I can’t do one of my favorite passages related to this is when Jesus comes down off the Mount of Transfiguration and there’s the manifest son. And he’s like, you know, if you can, if you can help me please do and Jesus like if I can anything’s possible, those who believe anything’s possible for those who believe. And the guy’s response is so beautiful. He says, I do believe, and then he adds helped me in my unbelief. He’s just he’s just meaning it like I am conflicted, I believe and I don’t believe and I need your help. And Jesus helps him I think speaks to what you guys are talking about. One of the one of the characteristics that are points out that I love most is this. He said Jesus invited choice. And I, I love that word invitation. Because I think that so often what we’re trying to do in spiritual coaching is just put before people, God’s invitation to them, not to tell people what to do, not to say, you know, you need to follow this specific regimen like I’m, you know, we’re not, we’re not in charge of you, we’re not making life choices for you. But we, we, we do want to extend God’s invitation towards greater wholeness or towards greater examination or towards greater honesty or whatever it may be, in a way that God would and then people make up their own their own mind. And I think what he’s, I love that so much is because that’s really at the crux of love. Like, I think so much of our Christian life can be this, we’re compelled to do things because we think we have to, but really, God gives us choice and, and he invites us to choose him to choose his path to choose a better way and we can say now We can wrestle even with with our choices and our will in regards to that. So that’s one of the ones that I like, specifically.

Kit 9:08
And we don’t always know or see the invitation that God has for us. And sometimes we need someone else to listen and pay attention for us and say, you know, I wonder if God’s inviting you right into this?

Josh 9:23
Right? Yeah, just someone else to help us to kind of well, I thought I was just kind of stuck there. I thought that was just bad news and, and to hear somebody else say, I don’t it’s just like a dead end. To me. It looks like there’s a pathway here. There’s there might be a way here that you’re not seeing or an invitation here that you haven’t noticed before. Yeah, it’s well said kit.

Dan Keefer 9:40
And kit, even two words that you use there. The I wonder, and, and that’s, and that’s those two words. And another thing that I’ll I’ll ask folks is I’ll say I wonder what it would look like if so you kind of provide this invitation for folks to step into a place Do envision another another way of doing life that they may not have seen before. And I and I know there’s different times where I’ve heard folks say, wow, I hadn’t thought about that before. And, and I know for me, I’ve had people like that in my life who have suggested something or asked a question. And it’s like, it opens up this whole other horizon, right. And as we see Jesus throughout the Gospels, interacting with people, he opens up this other way of seeing things that that individual would have never seen before.

Kit 10:33
And I love this picture painting of spiritual coaching because it’s, it’s our heartbeat at region, you know that. This isn’t about telling people what to do, like you mentioned Josh, or forcing choice or judging them at all. It really is this invitation to find the grace and mercy and conviction of God in a safe place. You know, when people come I think they’re often surprised how comfortable and safe, they feel and there they often say this, this is one of my safe places I feel so safe and comfortable here. And that’s what we want.

Josh 11:12
I think about Kyle on our team who who was sharing with us not long ago, about a young woman who wrestling with her own sexual addictions, and Kyle was encouraging her to talk to Jesus about them. And the woman’s like, I can’t do that. I can’t. But that that was a an invitation that Kyle was noticing. You know, God, God made you sexual he gave you desire and where you’re struggling, he wants to help you and and that may bring up all sorts of other questions or baggage for a person. But yeah, that one of the other things on this list here I before you guys might have others too. But I know I want to say before we leave the section that one of the things better points out is that Jesus gave himself he didn’t just give advice. He didn’t give instruction he gave himself which is such a different paradigm. Then I think the, the voice of religiosity or legalism is just your, this is what you need to do. You need to have better quiet times, pray more, memorize more scripture. Remember what’s true, remind yourself of this or that have better accountability, but this filter on me whatever it might be, that’s the Christian gospel is God with us. And so this idea that God gave Himself to us in Christ, into the presence of His Holy Spirit, that’s so much a part of coaching I think in two ways. One, the coach is really in some ways, trying to give him or herself as a gift to the other person. This isn’t about me, it’s not about my expertise. I’m here for you in this time, is about what’s going on for you. And, and my ego is not going to get run, you know, if you struggle, I’m not going to be upset if you’re angry, and you know, we, this is about you and what you need. But the other piece of it is that we part of our main job and coaching is to try to get out By the way a bit, to provide just a safe, sacred place for you to interact with God, and to help observe ways that you may be struggling to do so. or things that might be in your way. In that relationship. We believe that God is ever getting himself to us He is that he is he is self giving love. And and so, you know, a big part of what we’re trying to do is just help people to experience Jesus in the areas where maybe so far they’ve they’ve been living without him, even whether they wanted to or not. Right.

Kit 13:35
I think another one that, Dan, you can I think you would probably agree with this, because we’ve talked about this before, but this idea of dealing with each person uniquely and individually, you know, Jesus was so good at that. And when we when someone comes in, one of the first things we say is, you know, we pray over time, and then we say, tell me a little bit of your story and a lot of people People are like, what do you mean by that you know what you mean my story, but we want to know who each person is. We want to know what they’ve experienced, and to listen to somebody to really listen, you know, to be really paying attention to that person’s story so that we can understand who they are, who God created them uniquely to be and what their experience has been, that they are now bringing to this current situation. I mean, it’s a gift. And I feel like it’s been a gift for me when someone’s done it for me, and I feel like it’s something that people that we work with, say as a gift as well.

Dan Keefer 14:36
This is one of those areas that really feels like sacred space because we are someone we are bearing witness to someone’s story. And it’s not unusual for someone to be sharing and to say, I’ve never told this to anyone before. And in that moment, I know for me and this this can sound a little odd. It’s it’s almost I said to people in the past, I almost feel like I should take my shoes off because it feels like we’re on holy ground because there is something very holy set apart and sacred when someone is sharing the sharing their story and, and we’re and we’re in it with them. Because so often the stories that we carry, we can’t imagine that anyone would ever want to step into our story with us. But in that moment, we’re stepping in and, and that’s that’s what Jesus does. He steps into our story. There’s no story that he looks at and says, yep, that one’s too much for me, not going to go there. No, he wants to step into our story. But again, he does it by us inviting him and he’s not going to force his way into our story. Right.

Josh 15:46
So I think before we want maybe one way to just to kind of pivot and look at listen or address the people listening right now to say, I hope you hear in this if nothing else, I hope you hear in this maybe some some some ways that you engages you approaches you is seeking relationship with you. And I hope you’ll take his invitation to move closer to him in some of the ways we’ve been talking about because he so desires you and so desires that you’re good. So kitten Dan, we’ve talked about the what that but the but let’s talk about the why like why why have your, your soul shepherded? Why do something like spiritual coaching? I mean, we know that people come because they’re struggling behaviors but is that the reason we want to change behaviors? Why let’s talk about the why so why?

Dan Keefer 16:35
Right? So great question again because so often people you know, first first time entering in there, here’s the thing I’m struggling with and I want this to change. I don’t want to experience this any longer. And so early on, we want to kind of help an individual, maybe refocus a bit to see the goal has been the formation of the character of Christ. And that’s really the primary goal of the Christ follower. So whether you’d be reaching out for coaching or, or any other kind of counseling or anything like that, the reality is that we all as Christians, the character of Christ, really, it’s important for that to be a primary goal for us.

Kit 17:18
And what does that mean? Let’s Let’s tease that out a little bit. Yeah, yep. Yeah. Because sometimes we say that and it’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But like, what does that mean that when we meet with people, we are hoping and praying that they would become more like Christ.

Dan Keefer 17:37
What else off the bat, it’s not something that as a coach that I do for somebody else. It’s actually something that we do for each other because even in that process of the coaching, there’s something going on in the in the, the receiver that you might see the care receiver and there’s also something going on in the caregivers life, it would be in my Life. I rarely, if ever, do I come out of a situation of coaching not having been impacted by someone in some way. So, so there is a mutuality that that’s taking place there, even though the purpose for the person being present is not about me. Yeah.

Kit 18:21
Yeah. And it’s really this idea of freedom and knowing your loved and being being able to, you know, understand the grace and mercy of God to forgive and to set free from some of the patterns and habits you know, whether they’re sexual, relational, you know, these different things we fall into, and we and we know we’re like I do what I don’t do what I want to do and I do what I don’t want to do you know, like into that that idea of Christ likeness being formed in us, so that we can live the life that is characterized by freedom. Love and you know, wholeness and goodness.

Josh 19:03
And so this words, Yeah, I was gonna say I think those words freedom and love. Because those do have such they just epitomized Jesus to me that he, he lived one of the most meaningful, exciting, fruitful lives not one of the most meaningful, fruitful, exciting lives. And he was he was free and I watched some of the ways he was in people engaged with him, and his courage, his freedom from fear in some situations where I would have been terrified his freedom from the opinions of men and the pressures of other people where I struggle, I want that kind of freedom. And his and his, his freedom to and his capacity to love others, who frankly, if I, I would struggle to love or I would struggle to not be so wrapped around my own ego in a situation. I want to learn to love like that. So those are some things in mind for you. What does it mean to grow in Christ like this being transformed into his image?

Dan Keefer 19:56
And so even talking about freedom the next next thing I want to suggest might seem to be on the opposite end of the spectrum, but it actually kind of works together. And that is that that the care that’s provided is done. So in a moral context care, it’s not provided in a vacuum, or in the absence of an anchor. And in order for us to truly experience freedom, we do need to be anchored in some way. And the moral context is not simply about right and wrong, but it’s from really coming from a belief and a conviction that God created and designed us with purpose. And that purpose is found and experienced as we, as we, in a way surrender ourselves to God and allow him to, to shape how we live our lives.

Josh 20:45
Yeah, there’s that there’s a way to think about moral context. I think about just there is a reality God has created He is the Creator. He has given a certain order to things and we we we are actually designed to be aligned With, with his created order and and that’s that that’s a physical thing. It’s a spiritual thing. It’s an emotional thing. It is a supernatural thing. And yeah, that moral context is, it’s not just about let’s find what’s true for you. We want to experience it. We want to help person kind of identify what their true experience has been. But But we do believe that ultimately, our greatest freedom, our greatest capacity become like Christ is to is to have our eyes and ears and hearts and bodies opened and aligned with who he is designed to be in the context of the world.

Kit 21:38
That reminds me of something I read that said, When our desires and our will for our life, align with God’s will and desire for life. That’s when life gets really exciting.

Josh 21:53
Beautiful, love that and then we would what a difference from the I don’t want to listen to God because He might send me to be a missionary in Africa. But no actually like what God wants for you is is specifically related to who he’s designed you to be, and the adventure that he is specifically designed for you as the greatest lover of your soul and the one who has writing a beautiful and wonderful, grand story for you.

Dan Keefer 22:20
So, in addition, we’ve talked a bit about the fact that when an individual is seeking out coaching, there’s there’s many times a specific issue or a struggle that they’re coming with. But as we coach, we really want to encourage the individual to consider the work that God wants to do in their life as a whole and not be limited to one part. And so this again, brings us back to the main point here being about the formation of the character of Christ. And so it can be, again, an individual is focused on one on one segment, or one part of their life. We want to expand that picture and create this experience, and there’s hope that God wants to do so much more.

Josh 23:06
Gather it. I think some people who come here, you know, we have a reputation we do we focus very much on on sexual issues with a lot of people come here. But I think on the outset, some people might be surprised how little in a coaching session that we would talk about sex, because it falls into a much greater story and fabric than than just a specific problem that a person is having or the specific goal that they might have. So Dan, you want to switch gears a little bit? You mentioned earlier this dialogue? What’s different? What I mean? How is how is coaching a dialogue as opposed to a discussion what what’s different between those two concepts?

Dan Keefer 23:42
Yeah, so a dialogue is it’s a shared experience, and there are some goals but the goals are shared goals. The goals are practicing empathy, seeking to learn from one another, along with understanding one another. All all the while we do wreck recognize and appreciate the differences that are present. Whereas discussion really focuses more on communicating what one does. So if I’m in a discussion, I want to tell you the things that I know. And in a discussion when you’re talking, rather than me really listening to you and engaging with what you’re saying, I’m rehearsing in my mind what my response is going to be. Because once once you’re done talking, well, I’m going to jump in there, and I’m going to say what I think. And that is not what dialogue is about,

Unknown Speaker 24:33
at all.

Kit 24:36
And I think, you know, dialogue is really characterized by trust and respect. You know, there isn’t a controlling or a pushing, you know, it’s a, it’s seeking to, you know, open ourselves to God. You know, as the as the coach. We want to help the person we want to understand their experience. We want to Enter into it in trust and then respect and vice versa. We hope that that will be something that they will feel in exchange as we dialogue that those things will be true in every coaching session.

Dan Keefer 25:14
And there’s an there’s a quote, yeah, there was a quote that Benner has from Martin Buber who describes dialogue this way. He says there’s a true turning toward an engagement of another person, including a full appreciation of the other, not as an object object but as a genuine human being. I thou encounters contrast with an eye it encounter in which the other is engaged as an object. personal knowledge is knowledge of, whereas impersonal knowledge is knowledge about

Josh 25:52
and doesn’t make sense. And so wherever person is in the journey like we that’s what the Christian life is meant. To be about in our relationship with God it’s he does not view us as as objects we are not it’s to him we are people persons that he desires to be in relationship with to help along and so as people he’s put us here together to learn to do that for each other and i think that’s that’s one of the primary aims of of each coach as they walk with each individual person in each individual person’s own unique setting and need Yeah, hi. Hi calling you guys. And I know for you too, and for Kyle and Bob and Rick and others who do coaching with us I I’m I’m really grateful for all that you pour in to the men and women who sit with us I know the ways I’ve benefited from spiritual coaching in my own life with others and appreciate how much you pour into doing this well for others, so we hope also that you just got a taste of a little bit more without Behind the scenes here, and maybe, you know, you might even feel inside yourself a bit of a longing for some elements. So we invite you to pay attention to that. Is there something that was brought up today? Maybe even just one piece that you find yourself drawn toward wanting more of hoping is real and true wrestling with? And could it be? Could it be that Jesus is inviting you into something in your relationship with Him that you haven’t experienced before? So if we can help you with that through our spiritual coaching or anything else, please let us know. So Jesus, we just turned to you, we thank You, Lord, our heart in all of this is to is to is to more accurately reflect you and be like you as we interact with people. Or would you continue to grow us all into Christ’s likeness whether we are trying to help someone else or we are in dire need of help ourselves, or more likely, Lord, a bit of both are thank you for your grace, your presence, your good To us and pray all these things in your name Jesus. Amen

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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.

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