spiritual Direction


Spiritual Direction is meant to help us attune our lives more fully to God’s presence with us, his work in us, and his love for us. If you’ve never done it before, it can feel strange and you may not know what to expect or know what to say. With the following information, we hope you’ll have a better understanding of what spiritual direction is (and isn’t) as well as how to navigate your first session. If you have any hesitancy about meeting with a director please talk with Pastor Julia who is a trained Spiritual Director or Pastor Lynne who is in training to become a director. 

Commonly asked questions

What is spiritual direction?
It is talking with another person (a trained spiritual director) about the events in your life both in and outside of what you might consider “spiritual”. It is looking together for where God’s Spirit is present and at work. Some say that a director's job is to find the fingerprints of God on your life.

Is spiritual direction like counseling or mentoring?
No, but there are some similarities. Direction, mentoring and counseling, are all listening professions. Mentoring, in general, confers information that is needed to excel in a chosen job field or course of study and usually involves homework done by the mentee. Counseling, in part, focuses on revealing how past events influence our lives today and works towards healing from those events. Direction looks to explore what is happening currently in your life as it relates to your experience of God.

In spiritual direction, the director does not tell you what to do or expect you to gain any biblical knowledge or produce any homework to show your mastery in any skill. Spiritual direction looks at our current experience of God. This may include discussing the past or future but through the lens of how the directee is currently experiencing God. There is healing in spiritual direction and it does come in contact with the past because we all have a story to tell, but the past is not the main focus.

Is there a cost for spiritual direction?
Directors charge a range of fees from $50-$80, with $50 being the most common amount. Most directors do not want finances to be a reason someone does not seek direction and are willing to work within your means. Thornapple is able to provide a portion of the cost if it is cumbersome. Please contact Pastors Julia or Lynne for more information.

Here’s an idea of what spiritual direction is and what to expect at your first session.

What’s a spiritual direction session like?
Usually, there is a little chit-chat at the very beginning of the session. The director will often light a candle as a visual reminder that the Holy Spirit is the third person in the conversation. The director may tell you a little about themselves and then ask you how you’d like to begin the session. You can just jump right in, or you may need some time in silence to collect your thoughts, or you may want the director to say a prayer before the session begins. Any of these are great. In a first session, the director will likely give you some ideas on how to begin.

It's normal that you might feel a little nervous, meeting with someone you don’t know and talking about what God is doing in your life can be a new experience. Your director knows exactly what that feels like and may have a question or two prepared to help get the session started. If they don’t, here are a couple of questions to think about ahead your session:
  • Talk about your faith journey up until now and what is going on now.
  • What image of God has been particularly meaningful to you lately?
  • As you look back over the last 3 months, has God felt close or distant?
    Talk about this experience.

A session lasts about 50 min to 1 hour. Directors often end a session with a prayer.

I'm interested
in Spirital Direction

Young Adults

for 20 somethings, college students and grads, and post high school adults

Our goal is to provide a church home where you can worship, serve, be challenged to grow in your faith and find community – with others in your same stage of life as well as people from all generations. If you are interested in learning more, contact Lynne McLaughlin.
Small Group
The Young Adults small group meets weekly -
it is currently on hiatus for the summer.
All are welcome to join at any time!

If you are interested in joining or learning more, please contact Lynne McLaughlin.
College Students
Many college students make Thornapple their home church while attending colleges in the area. In a typical year we offer brunches on Sundays for college students, goody bags during exam weeks and opportunities to serve.