SOSD 2017-18 Registration & News

Hello Teachers,

Thank you for your questions that continue to bring clarity and for your prayers and encouragement.  We are just about ready to officially open registration for the 2017-18 school year.  Below are the details so far, FAQ style.

1.  When can students begin registration using the website?

The REGISTER button on our website will be activated on April 15, 2017.  That's a day that's easy to remember!

2.  What will help the Sustainable Faith admin team prepare for registration?

If you have not already done so, please email your cohort dates ASAP to Janice Courter:  janice@sustainblefaith.com

She will make sure your cohort locations and dates get on the website.

3.  When can teachers begin confirming students?

On May 1 Jared will have the confirmation process ready to roll out.  We will email you that secret link to the backside of the website.

4.  Are there any SOSD materials to hand out to folks?

YES!  Postcards are now available.  If you would like some for your interest meetings, churches, or regional conferences, email Janice Courter with your mailing address and the number of postcards you want.  Janice will be shipping postcards on Wednesdays.  (Please plan ahead, remember, this is by regular snail mail.)

5.  Is the tuition of $2100 per year the cost?

Yes it is.  Both years 1 and 2 will be the same cost.  The deposit will remain at $400.  The schedule for tuition payments will also remain the same--there's the $40 processing fee to make 8 equal payments of $212.50 online.

6.  Do you have any suggestions for how to go about explaining the tuition to students?

Yes!  Marty Boller has crafted an explanation for his students and you are free to use his, or create something similar.

* What factors determine the price of our tuition?

What was once a small equipping ministry in Cincinnati designed for raising up a handful of church leaders in spiritual direction has now become a multi-dimensional, cross-denominational ministry that rewards its two-year graduates with a certificate that reflects that the student has met the demanding requirements of most spiritual direction professional networks worldwide. One recent report has deemed Sustainable Faith as “the largest spiritual direction training group in North America!”

Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers and very generous donors, Sustainable Faith has been able to keep our tuition rates as low as possible so we can reach as many people as possible. But that business model, which relied heavily on contributions from donors, just will not support us as this ministry continues to grow and expand. In recent months, our Sustainable Faith board thoroughly investigated other well-established two-year spiritual direction training programs around the USA and found that most programs are priced at well over $5000 for two years of training. Thus, in order to help Sustainable Faith remain solvent in the years ahead and keep our tuition costs competitive with others, our board has set tuition for our two-year program to $4,200 (or $2,100 per year). If you have concerns or questions that arise from this tuition increase, please let us know.

7.  What should we tell prospective Year 2 students about the curriculum for the fall?

You can start by telling them that they should allow two days for each cohort gathering.  There is agreement that we need at least a day and a half to be together and interact with the material.  Secondly, there will be a supervision component, a formational focus and some theological work.  We don't have a reading list to give them ahead of time at this point.  The curriculum will allow them to complete the professional requirements of most US spiritual directors networks and will be comparable to other two year training programs.

 

Other News:  Teachers Gathering Postponed Until June 2018

The board just voted to postpone the Teachers Gathering until next June.  No suitable venue could be found within the budget for this June.  Even The Loretto Center was already booked.  Pushing out  the Teachers Gathering to 2018 will give more margin for the location search and Dave's re-entry from sabbatical.  We will let you know as soon as we find a venue for the 2018 gathering.  The board will be hosting a couple of online Zoom gatherings to share community news and to pray together before this fall.

 

We will keep you posted as new developments occur.  We appreciate all that you are doing to create such wonderful opportunities for the formation and training of a whole new group of spiritual directors each year. Thank you for partnering with God in His equipping ministry and living out Dave's vision that spiritual direction would be increasingly accessible to folks! 

 

 

 

 

 

School of Spiritual Direction 2017-18 Update!

Hello Dear Teachers,

The board continues to work hard at refining and reinforcing our business infrastructures.  To that end, Sustainable Faith has been given the gift of business consulting hours, compliments of one of our regular donors.  Our new business consultant, Darin Petersen, specifically works with faith-based non-profits.  He has been collecting information about Sustainable Faith and making some initial observations.

Through the process of working with Darin, what has clarified for the board is that our School of Spiritual Direction is a professional certificate program in spiritual direction.  Yes, we are about the formation of our students.  However, when a student completes the requirements of the two-year program, he or she is awarded a certificate in spiritual direction that meets the requirements of professional networks of directors.   Thus, the board has looked at what other spiritual direction training programs are charging and noted that Sustainable Faith is below the cost of most other programs.  Most two-year programs are over $5000.  The board has elected to raise the cost of our two-year program to $4200, or $2100 per year.  The decision to make both years the same price comes from the reality that the workload on a teacher does not differ between the two years.  And we are moving toward making year 2 modules at least one and a half days, if not two full days of face-to-face time.

One goal in setting new tuition fees is to increase the sustainability of our operating budget.   Our previous budget relied heavily on donor contributions because the cost of tuition did not cover the operating costs.  The coming budget will rely less on donor gifts.  Thus the tuition split between teacher and Sustainable Faith will be 70/30.  With the increase in the tuition price, a teacher will make $204 more per student who completes both years (that’s an increase of $26 for year 1 and $178 for year 2).

While we are tailoring our SOSD toward the student who would like to have the professional certificate in spiritual direction, we are also exploring other offerings that focus solely on one’s spiritual formation.  These one year offerings would be part of a new School of Spiritual Formation.  They would be offered at a lower cost than our professional trainings.

It is the hope and prayer of the board that these developments reflect God’s movement in shaping the ministry of Sustainable Faith.  We have become one of the largest spiritual direction training programs around the world.  We hope to deepen the training experience students receive as well as provide other avenues for spiritual formation.  Please do feel free to contact any of us on the board with your questions or suggestions.  As always, we are grateful for the partnership we have with all of you as teachers.  It is through you that God continues to refine and shape the formational training experience we give to our students.  May God bless you richly as you live out your Sustainable Faith ministry.

Welcome Teachers, to our website Communication Space!

In an effort to improve teacher communication, the board would like to explore the use of our website as a communication space.  We will post information, updates, and invitations for input on this page.  Jared will also be setting up another communication avenue, through SLACK, that will give us a more private channel to exchange messages.  More information on that will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, this first update will give you an overview of what the board has been working on.

A Rhythm of Organizational Life

The board has begun to create its own version of a "rule of life," which would help us do the work of implementing the values and goals of Sustainable Faith.  One working definition of a rule of life is:  a concrete expression of the life-intensions of a Christian community or individual made in order to help maintain or mature relationship with God and the Gospel (Evan B Howard, essay, What Is A Rule of Life?).  For Sustainable Faith, and the School of Spiritual Direction specifically, the board has translated the rule of life into what we are calling, "A Rhythm of Organizational Life," which prioritizes our tasks.  We have mapped some of  the projects and tasks of running the SOSD onto a ten month calendar, which you can see below. These are our target dates, but we are open to adjustments as we go along. The schedule takes into account the availability of people resources and attempts to create a work flow that feels like the "easy yoke" that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 11.  The calendar will give you an idea of when to expect the different administrative pieces of SOSD to be available.  Prior to the online registration components becoming available, do feel free to communicate directly with your students regarding future cohort dates, etc.  And do feel free to give us your input--the board wants to hear your perspectives.

January

  • Donor admin:  Thank you letters, year end tax statements
  • IRS Employee tax forms processed, distributed
  • Collect teacher 2017-18 cohort information
  • Secure Teachers Gathering location (pending)

February

  • Create new budget for 2017-18
  • Finalize this year's tuition fees
  • Complete SOSD postcard
  • Complete conversion of accounting system

March

  • Non profit 990 Tax filing (due April 15)
  • Complete preparation for SOSD registration for new school year:  website/zapier/etc
  • Year 2 Curriculum Revision:  board delineates the theological perspectives and professional requirements that a Sustainable Faith curriculum should reflect;   begins to read the written curriculum

April

  • All 2017-18 SOSD dates and locations on website
  • Open online application / registration
  • Year 2 Curriculum Revision:  board finishes reviews of Year 2 Curriculum Revision Team's submission of input and content

May

  • Begin fiscal year end fundraising communications
  • Open online teacher confirmation window

June

  • Teachers Gathering June 25-28 (POSTPONED to 2018)

July

  • National Vineyard Leaders Conference
  • Sustainable Faith Indy Enneagram Conference
  • July 31:  Deadline for canceling cohorts

August

Month off--season of rest before the fall begins

September

  • SOSD cohorts begin
  • Close teacher confirmation for 2017-18 year
  • Begin year end fundraising planning

October

  • Begin thinking/planning for any midyear cohorts