Decide on a location for your office
The first point of decision as you contemplate starting your own spiritual direction practice is location. You can consider renting office space in a building; renting space in your Church or opening up an office in your home. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages. For example, office space can be costly but having a professional location of your own provides a large degree of autonomy. As another option, you might considering finding office space in a Church. This space may be minimal, but an office within a church building provides positive profiling and support for your practice. Finally, office space in your home can be another option for hosting your practice. A home office can pose boundary difficulties, especially if you have children in the home, but this option also provides tax and lifestyle benefits.
Regardless of where you choose to open up your practice, consider requesting your Church to commission you to this work. This provides an opportunity for you to visibly submit to the authority of the Church as you do this work in the Kingdom. It also provides an opportunity for your Church family to visibly support you in principle and in prayer.
Be intentional about finding directees
The second point of focus as you seek to build your practice is a dedication to intentionally finding directees. Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth endorsements. If one directee speaks to a few friends and they in turn speak to a few people, the effect is exponential.
You might also fruitfully work to develop public awareness of your practice. This can be accomplished by giving talks or workshops in your areas of interest or proficiency. Consider approaching retreat centres and asking permission to leave your brochures and business cards in their foyer or at their front desk. You might also equip your directees with a few of your business cards, information on spiritual direction or a brochure so they may pass this information on to others. Christian bookstores and other churches in your area (after you have approached the leadership for permission) are other locations that you might leave your brochure or information.
As you expand your practice, consider using your technological savvy (or hiring someone to help you) to develop a website. If you have articles and information that you update regularly, the site will bring traffic and provide additional resources to your directees as well.
Finally, remember the importance of networking with like-minded colleagues in spiritual direction. Consider joining a spiritual director association, such as Tyndale Association of Spiritual Directors. Keep a list of people with whom you have and can continue to network. Work to actively build relationships with professionals and non-professionals in your area—this blesses not only you but your colleagues and develops the entire spiritual direction community.
Tracey-Ann Van Brenk M.Div.