Dan Schrock pastors at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana, teaches spiritual direction at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, works as a wellness specialist for The Corinthian Plan, and offers spiritual direction to others. His website is www.danschrock.org.
A mere decade ago, it was unusual for people to meet a spiritual director who lived in another part of the country. The classic mode of spiritual direction was meeting face-to-face, in the same room. Many people still prefer to meet this way.
However, sometimes you might have compelling reasons to find a spiritual director who’s happy to meet with you by video software such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or FaceTime. In the last decade as high-speed internet service has expanded to most areas of the country, as bandwidth has increased, and as webcams have improved, more directors now offer to meet this way. While spiritual direction by video call may not be for you, it does offer five distinct advantages.
- You can’t find a spiritual director near your home.
Over half of Mennonite directors live in just three states, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Many of the rest live in Ohio, Illinois, and Kansas, with a smattering of directors in about twelve other states. But if you live in one of the other thirty-two states, or in an area with no directors nearby, you can still find a Mennonite director, even one who lives 2,000 miles away. A director can be as close as your computer.
- You have ecological reasons.
You’re aware that driving even 30 minutes to meet a spiritual director spews harmful emissions into the environment. Using the computer equipment you already have, you can feel good about taking yet another step to treat creation kindly.
- You have a condition that makes it hard to leave your home.
If you have ambulatory, vision, or hearing issues, the technology of video calling may give you access to a spiritual director, even if your director lives in the same city or town. You never need to leave your home.
- You’re busy and you need to save time.
Suppose you need to drive 45 minutes to meet a director in person. Including the hour-long direction session, that takes 2.5 hours of your time. By meeting online, you may be able to save yourself 1.5 hours.
- You, or your director, will be moving somewhere else.
When you move to a different part of the country, you can sometimes benefit from changing spiritual directors and getting a fresh perspective. In other cases, you might want to continue meeting with your current director after you or they move. Video calling makes this possible.
Spiritual direction by video call isn’t for everyone, and not every director offers this option. Yet if you’re comfortable with the technology, it can be an effective way to work with a spiritual director.
A list of trained Mennonite spiritual directors can be found here.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog belong to the author and are not intended to represent the views of the MC USA Executive Board or staff.