Relational Spiritual Formation

Most would agree that a mature relationship with God is essential to serving fruitfully as a minister of the Good News. Yet, many cross-cultural workers struggle. The difficulties and busyness of ministry, as well as challenging cross-cultural circumstances often pull us away from the practices, and away from the One, that sustain us. While Scripture teaches that God is actively engaged in shaping us and drawing us into deeper intimacy, it also clearly communicates this is not meant to be a solitary process.

Deepen is designed to cultivate, among cross-cultural workers, the capacity and skills to come alongside and spiritually nurture one another in partnership with God. It is experiential training for those who desire personal, transformational growth and intimate relationship with the Lord as the foundation for ministering to others.

Deepen is a two-year course of study designed for individuals who desire to grow in their own spiritual lives as well as to cultivate the spiritual lives of others in a cross-cultural setting. Grounded in multiple streams of Christian spirituality, the course offers a balanced learning environment blending spiritual formation with skills development through experiential, developmental and group activities. Deepen I and II include three residencies in Málaga, Spain, online small and large group meetings, other online components, and prescribed reading and reflections.

Course Overview

Year 1- Spiritual Companionship

Deepen I will focus primarily on personal spiritual formation as well mutual spiritual companionship to be practised in personal relationships and through peer group direction. Additionally, attention will be paid to discerning gifting/calling to spiritual direction.

Topics include:

  • God in Our Stories

  • Making Space for Another Through Listening

  • Mutual Spiritual Companionship for Cross-cultural Workers

  • Crossing Cultures: Deepening through Disorientation

  • Prayer

  • Consolation and Desolation

  • Discernment

  • Chinks in the armor: Discerning the link between our inner-life and the external battle

  • Theology of Suffering

  • Spiritual Disciplines

  • Developing a Rule of Life


Year 2 – Spiritual Direction

“Spiritual direction is a prayer process in which a person seeking help in cultivating a deeper relationship with God meets with another for prayer and conversation that is focused on increasing awareness of God in the midst of life experiences and facilitating surrender to God’s will.” (David Benner, Sacred Companions)

Open to those who have completed the first year and have evidenced a giftedness or calling to spiritual direction. Drawing from various streams of Christian Spirituality, participants will both train in and practice the art of spiritual direction, while continuing to attend to their own growth and relationship with God.

Topics include:

  • Spiritual Direction 101

  • Techniques of Spiritual Direction

  • Spiritual Health and Vitality for the Director

  • Practicum and Role-plays

  • Discernment

  • Cross-cultural issues in spiritual direction

  • Streams of Christianity/Spirituality

  • History of Christian Spirituality

  • Developmental Spirituality and Prayer

  • Spiritual Temperaments

  • Psychological Issues in Spiritual Direction/When to Refer

  • Supervision

  • Retreat direction

Deepen I

Deepen runs in a 2 year cycle, next currently set to begin in November 2020. For more information and to be placed on our interest list, please click on the button below. 

Located near the beach in beautiful Southern Spain, just outside Malaga.

Residency Dates and Cost

coming soon…

Recommended Prerequisites

  • Spiritually and Emotionally Mature

  • Cross-cultural worker

  • Minimum 5 years ministry experience


  • Attendance at the on-site retreats as well as online meetings

  • Monthly group direction via Skype (10 months)

  • Receive personal spiritual direction (monthly)

  • Complete all reflections and prescribed readings

  • Complete video learning segments

  • Quarterly (3) live online content discussions

  • Actively participate monthly in online discussion forum

Selection Process

Students will be selected through an application process. Year one of the course is open to cross-cultural workers who have good maturity and self-awareness, as well as an interest in spiritual companionship. The course is designed to facilitate their growth and beginning abilities in mutual spiritual companionship. It will also be used to discern gifting/calling to spiritual direction (year two).

Deepen II

By invitation only. Students for Deepen II must have successfully completed Deepen I and discerned together with the Deepen staff that they have the gifting and calling to move forward. The course is designed to facilitate personal spiritual growth and provide basic training in spiritual direction.


Centro Ecumenico Los Rubios near the beach in beautiful Southern Spain, just outside Malaga.

Residency Dates

Arrive Sunday, Nov. 17 , 2019  (Arrive at the Malaga airport no later than 1 PM Central European Time)

Depart Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019  (Departures from the Malaga airport earlier than 9 AM will incur an extra transportation fee)


The cost of the year-long training is €860 ($970) and includes the one-week residency (Nov. 17-24, 2019) in Málaga and 10 months over distance – finishing in September of 2020.  Please note that travel expenses to and from Málaga, the cost of books as well as the costs of receiving personal spiritual direction are your responsibility. Additionally, the cost of the final retreat in Malaga in Nov. 2020 is not included in this price

A Program deposit of €200 ($225) is due upon acceptance to secure your place.

The Residency balance of €480 ($540) is due by October 14, 2019 and covers onsite lodging, food, instruction and small group direction. Residency dates are November 17-24, 2019.

The Distance Portion balance of €180 ($205) is due by November 24, 2019

Novo staff—please inquire regarding scholarship opportunities

How To Register (by invitation only)


Registration and Payment

Once you have received an invitation to attend, complete the online Registration and Payment process.



Book Flights or Transportation 

Once you’ve been invited, you have registered and received receipt of payment for the event, you may proceed with booking your flights for the event.

Please plan to arrive, if possible, by 1:00 pm (Spain time) at the latest at AGP (Malaga International Airport) on the first day of the event.

You may plan your departing flight anytime after 9:00 am on the final day of the event. Shuttles to/from the airport and event site will be provided free of charge by the Deepen Team on the first day and final day of the event (Departures from  Malaga airport earlier than 9:00 am will incur extra transportation expense).

Certificate of Completion

Upon completion of both Deepen I and Deepen II, students who have fulfilled all requirements will receive a certificate of completion.

While participating in Deepen, participants will be eligible to become an Educational Companion in the Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association.

After successful completion of Deepen II, participants will be eligible to apply for a full membership to the ESDA and will have fulfilled the qualifications to be considered as a spiritual director.

Please see the Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association Website. 

About the Deepen Team

Debbie Schuster,  Director

A trained, practicing spiritual director for over 15 years, Debbie previously served as adjunct faculty and staff at Talbot School of Theology and the Institute for Spiritual Formation. Currently residing in Málaga, Spain, she co-leads the SentWell multi-disciplinary member care team, providing services for cross-cultural workers serving around the world. Debbie is also completing her PhD in Intercultural Studies, with specific application to the spiritual lives of cross-cultural workers. Her favorite past-time is connecting online with her children and grandchildren, whom she misses terribly.


Annie Erickson,  Associate Director

While their 2 adult daughters have returned to the US, Annie, her husband Dan and their son reside in S. Africa, where they have served for many years. Annie trained in spiritual direction at the Jesuit Institute in Johannesburg and is also a pastoral counselor. According to Annie’s vision statement: “My life’s purpose is to be like a water station in a marathon race: providing refreshment, life-giving nourishment and encouragement to others as they run the race of life.” 


Ardath Smith

An ordained Anglican priest, Ardath’s calling is to support missionaries in their relationships with Christ. She provides pastoral care and spiritual direction and loves to visit missionaries in their ministry locations, seeking to assist them in their openness to and understanding of the Lord and his work in and around them.. She has an M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Direction from Talbot Seminary’s Institute for Spiritual Formation, and an M.Div. from Nashotah House Seminary. She is presently working to establish a home base for Hineni House, a praying community that is devoted to the Lord in adoration and prayer, and whose members minister to Christian leaders domestically and internationally, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Contributing Faculty


John Coe

John Coe is a specialist in the philosophical and theological foundation of the integration of faith and learning. His research focuses on understanding the nature of spiritual and psychological health, the history of spirituality, the work of the Holy Spirit in personal change and the interface between psychology, spirituality and philosophy. A particular interest is in exploring approaches to spiritual direction as a compliment to Christian psychotherapy. Coe is also the Director of the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Biola University. Dr. Coe provides teaching on spiritual formation for Deepen.


Alex Galloway

Alex is a doctoral level psychologist, who along with Debbie Schuster leads the SentWell team based in Málaga. Alex has specialized interest in trauma recovery, marriage counseling, internet addiction and the holistic care of God’s people. He enjoys encouraging, equipping, and empowering those who minister on the “front lines.” Alex provides teaching on Theology of Suffering for Deepen.


Doralicia Cajina-Gonzalez

Doralicia graduated with her degree in Social Work from the University of Costa Rica. She joined CRM as a full-time missionary and she and her husband served in Caracas, Venezuela where their two daughters, Abigail and Sophia were born. After Venezuela she has also served in Costa Rica and since 2010 has lived and served in Málaga Spain. She received her Spiritual Direction Certificate from Christos Center in 2014. Doralicia has a passion to walk alongside others who are trying to discern God’s voice during transitions or in the midst of daily life challenges as well as with people who are seeking inner healing. In her time in Spain she has enjoyed discovering and discerning the ways God is working as well as understanding how the enemy has been oppressing the Land.


Jeanne Kohn

Jeanne Kohn is a trained spiritual director and Director of Music at Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, PA. For the past 40 years she has been blessed to serve congregations as a worship leader, organist and pastor and is so grateful for the privilege of seeing the ways in which God works in others’ lives.  She is passionate about bringing diverse people together united in worship of the Trinity, and there is little that fills her heart with more joy than the sound of people’s voices raised in praise. She also loves solitude, silence, time with her husband and son, hiking, traveling, reading, films and good food! Jeanne will be leading in worship for both Deepen I and Deepen II in 2018.


Anne-Marie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell currently heads up the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality (JISS) in Johannesburg. She has studied and worked in the area of Christian Spirituality for the past 16 years doing spiritual direction and retreat work, and training spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition. Her particular focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and retreat givers. A related area of interest is in the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Anne-Marie is teaching on the intersection of psychology and spiritual direction. 


Jackie Sevier

Jackie is a spiritual director and supervisor of spiritual directors living currently in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Previously she supervised a staff of spiritual directors and graduate students in practicum at the Center for Spiritual Renewal at Biola University in Southern California, where she served at Talbot School of Theology as an Adjunct Faculty in spiritual formation and Professor of spiritual direction practicum.  She received a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from Talbot. Jackie and her husband, Scott, previously served as cross-cultural workers in Indonesia, and she is passionate about helping workers and others discover the joy of God’s presence in each moment, embracing others as they are, calling forth their unique expression of love to those God has given them. Jackie has taught on listening and supervision for Deepen, as well as leading small direction groups.


Jenny Walley

Originally from the US, Jenny trained as a spiritual director at the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology. Upon graduating she entered into full-time cross-cultural work in Glasgow where she met her husband John. Jenny parents their lively son and twin daughters, but is also in demand as a retreat leader, speaker and spiritual director. Jenny teaches on creativity and developing a rule of life for Deepen.


Larry Warner

Larry is the founder and executive director of “b”, which journeys with pastors, seminarians, church staffs, ministry leaders, churches and individuals who yearn for greater intimacy with God by designing and providing spiritual formation experiences which unleash and cultivate holistic development. “b” was founded in 2005. Larry is the author of several books, including Discernment, God’s Will & Living Jesus: Christian Discernment as a Way of Life and Journey with Jesus: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Larry teaches a unit on discernment for Deepen.