The breadth and depth of today’s challenges and questions in this threshold moment highlight the need for those who are trained for generous-active listening as soul companions. Spiritual direction instruction forms those who wish to accompany others desiring an intimate friendship and experience of God. As a listening and healing presence, spiritual directors assist others to recognize their inner movements toward greater freedom and wholeness to encourage active responses of love and goodness for the sake of the world.    

Our program is designed for a cohort to journey together in learning the art of spiritual direction while growing deeper in self-awareness. The cost of this robust program is $3,600 per year.

  • Virtual Intensive Dates: October 9-12, 2023 and October 14-17, 2024

  • Weekly Online Sessions starting Wednesday, August 23, 2023, 3:30-5pm PT

  • Session dates honor summer breaks and holidays

  • Program completion by May 2025

  • Personal Attention From Experienced & Engaging Instructors and Supervisors

  • Advanced Standing with 12 Graduate Credits for those seeking a Masters in Spiritual Formation at Portland Seminary after completion

The art of sacred listening in spiritual direction nurtures and sustains soul-tending and is different from problem-focused pastoral counseling, goal-making in coaching or mentoring, and teaching through discipleship. We live in a time when our souls are easily ignored, languishing in the ambiguities and paradoxes of being human. We experience both our greatness and our fragility and underneath those tensions, we may notice fear and uncertainty, busyness and achievement, shame and isolation. Taking the time to intently listen to our inner life readies and sustains our personal encounter with Christ and prepares us to engage our outer world with compassion, grace, and new insight. Here we find for ourselves and for the sake of others space and time for the soul to thrive.

We offer attention to foundational components which include theory and robust practical experience. Our approach is in the Christian Contemplative traditions that engender a capacity to host those of other faiths or no faith.

  • Listening Silence

  • Encountering Presence

  • Generous Compassionate Justice

  • Forming for Companioning Self and the World

  • Discernment Leading Toward Freedom

  • Embodied Listening Awareness

  • Collaborative Learning and Relational Focus

Spiritual Formation Courses

These seven-week spiritual formation courses are also included in the program cost. Each of these is designed for spiritual directors in training. Please note, students are able to challenge these based on previous training.

  • Creating a Rhythm of Life

  • Revealing Our Images of God

  • Facing Shame Through the Enneagram with Katie Skurja

  • Shame and Resilience

  • The Shape of Our Beliefs

  • Holding the Questions

  • Introduction to Christian Mystics

  • Trauma Informed Spirituality: Walking Alongside Trauma

Lead Mentors

Instructor Kathi Gatlin

Kathi Gatlin founded Boldly Loved and co-founded the Companioning Center to bring together her two greatest passions: spiritual formation and teaching. In this, she utilizes her DMin. in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary and her M.Ed. earned through George Fox University. Her greatest joy is walking alongside others, individually and in groups, in their own spiritual journey, sharing ways of understanding God anew through contemplative prayer and teaching, and to see them grow in the depth of their own understanding of who God is and who they are in relationship with God. Kathi is a spiritual director, supervisor, writer, spiritual formation group facilitator, retreat speaker, and leadership mentor. For more information about Kathi, check out

Instructor Jeff Savage

Jeff Savage is a spiritual director, retreat guide, and couples facilitator shaped by over 30 years of pastoral ministry and contemplative practice. He has also served as a spiritual director and faculty advisor for Portland Seminary. Jeff and his wife, Janet, offer retreat space for reflection, rest, and renewal at their home above the McKenzie River at Vida, Oregon. In each expression of his calling, Jeff finds abundant joy in holding space for folks to pay attention to their life in God. The values that center him in his vocation include hopeful trust, hospitality, attentiveness, and integrity. Jeff finds balance in tending garden, photography, wandering, and being Pop Pop to four grandchildren (photos supplied on request). For more about Jeff visit his site at

Praxis Mentors

Instructor Lynn Holt

Lynn Holt is an experienced educator in the formation of spiritual directors and those who offer soul companionship. She has trained and supervised spiritual directors through Portland Seminary in an online/hybrid format for the past 7 years. Her vocation as a soul companion includes serving as a spiritual director and supervisor for 23 years, 18 years of pastoral ministry, and teaching theological, leadership, and spiritual formation courses. Lynn is a Quaker and holds an M.Div from Portland Seminary and received her spiritual direction training from the Mercy Center of Colorado Springs and supervision training from the Mercy Center in Burlingame.  Lynn is gifted in preparing and supporting soul companions whose faithful response in these challenging times invites generous listening and a compassionate heart for the sake of the world. Her ministry is grounded in a contemplative posture of holy listening, surrendering to the Mystery with a sense of awe and curiosity, and the dynamic relationship of God's Presence.

Instructor Jean Nevills

Jean Nevills' desire for God has led to adventures in contemplative wisdom and solitude, as well as mission adventures as far away as Ethiopia, South Korea, and China.  Marriage and mothering, a family business and community life are the natural arenas for ongoing spiritual transformation, spiritual practices, and living life with God in a Jesus way. A Spiritual Director and Supervisor with a Master’s degree in Christian Education and Certificate in Spiritual Formation from the Renovare Institute, Jean has served as a Spiritual Director and Supervisor at Portland Seminary and a praxis instructor for Fuller Seminary’s DMin in Spiritual Direction. For more information about Jean's retreat cottage and Spiritual Direction/Supervision practice, check out her site at


  • Who should apply?

    We are welcoming Spiritual Seekers and Spiritual Leaders who have a capacity to listen to and articulate their own spiritual experience and are drawn to deep authentic and vulnerable conversations. Applicants should have experience in an ongoing relationship receiving spiritual direction or less formal spiritual accompaniment. A recommendation from that person will be required as part of the application process. Those who do not currently have a formal spiritual direction relationship will need to engage one. We have a list available of spiritual directors who offer the same contemplative flow of what we are teaching. 

  • What is the expected workload?

    Students can expect to spend 8-10 hours per week in reading, reflection, online cohort discussions, and praxis sessions. 

  • What is the size of the cohort?

    Due to our high praxis and relational approach we are limiting each cohort to 8-16 participants. With three trained praxis mentors, the student to mentor ratio is five to one. 

  • Why would I join?

    As we journey together over these 21-months, you will receive content with guided praxis to develop listening skills to hold space for others without having to fix them. Our program is heavily weighted with listening and spiritual direction praxis, while you are accompanied by trained supervisory praxis mentors who desire to help you learn to openly listen with compassion, offering a judgment-free space. In addition to spiritual direction content, we include eight spiritual formation courses to help define your own way of understanding yourself, God, and those around you. 

  • What is included in the cost?

    The cost for each year of the two-year program—excluding personal spiritual direction, books, and supplies—is $3,600. A deposit of $1000 is due by July 1st each year once a student is accepted. The remaining is split between $1000 due by September 1st and $1600 by January 31st for each of the two years or through a 20-month payment plan of $318 per month after the first deposit.

  • Where are you located?

    We are located outside of Portland, Oregon and our weekly sessions are all virtual. So there is not need to travel to our location.

  • Who do I contact for more information?

    Email Kathi Gatlin at for more information.

  • Portland Seminary Advanced Standing?

    Upon completion of our program, students will be able to receive 12 credits of advanced standing in a Master in Spiritual Formation through Portland Seminary. More information is on their site.

Join Us by Applying Today!