Connecting with real people in the reality of their real lives has always been a priority for New Direction. We are not a think tank. We are not a training school. We do not want to get lost in the land of theoretical ideas about sexual and gender identity. We want to meet people where they're really at, hear their stories, and through the ministry of presence demonstrate the love and reconciliation of Christ.
We connect with people at a relational and conversational level across the broad spectrum of faith and sexuality. Such individuals include lesbian, gay, straight, bisexual, transgender and intersex, Christian, agnostic, atheist, other religions, post-Christian; pastors, parents, friends, teachers, social workers, counselors, and ministry leaders. We engage peole at our office, in the coffee shop, by phone, email, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, our blog, and other blogs. These connections range from general conversation about faith and sexuality to consultative inquiries, to mentoring, pastoral care or spiritual direction, to restorative, reconciliation focused processing, to simply sharing mutual journeys of faith. We don't offer professional counseling - but do connect people with referral professionals if that is what they are seeking.
At New Direction we emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit to move people towards maturity and obedience in their walk with Christ. The spiritual direction model is a very good fit for how we seek to interact with those who invite us to journey with them.
- Spiritual direction is not about telling people what to believe or how to act but working with the Spirit to discover, surface, name for themselves, and engage in what God is doing. ~ Kenton Smith
- The counseling movement, even within the church, became heavily psychologized and became almost exclusively therapeutic, so what people were dealing with were problems. If you had a problem you went to a counselor. But spiritual direction in a sense doesn't begin with a problem. Spiritual direction deals much more out of health and an identity of Christian holiness. ~ Eugene Petersen
- The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person's life, to get behind the facade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one's inner spiritual freedom, one's inmost truth, which is what Christians call the likeness of Christ in one's soul. This is an entirely supernatural (spiritual) thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit. ~ Thomas Merton
At New Direction we value individual autonomy in life decisions. By using a coaching framework, we work with individuals to help them clarify their beliefs, values and goals. We then continue to journey with them to encourage them in living consistently with these beliefs, values and goals. We want to see individuals living congruent lives.
- A coach focuses on asking questions and challenging the individual to learn from their own resources.
- Coaching is differentiated from therapeutic and counseling disciplines in that the focus is in the present and with aims for the future. Coaching does not delve into emotional baggage from the past.
At New Direction we encounter individuals who are at an early stage in processing their sense of sexual identity and seeking to integrate that with their spiritual journey. In such situations, some level of mentoring may be the best way to serve and connect with that individual.
- A mentor is someone, usually older, with more experience, who offers guidance in an individual's development.
- In many of the personal ministry connections we encounter, there is a blending of these three different forms of interaction. Our common focus is to nurture a safe and spacious place where an individual who finds themselves outside the heterosexual mainstream can explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ.
- If an individual lives in the proximity of Toronto, we are happy to schedule a time to connect at either our Mississauga offices or a mutually agreed upon coffee shop. If an individual is not in geographical proximity, we make use of skype, email, and other social networking tools to stay in touch.
To set up a connection time, please contact us.