At Larger Story, we encourage Christians to consider the enormous value of spiritual direction and to engage in meaningful, powerful, soul-shaping conversations. You don’t have to have a problem to seek spiritual direction, simply something you’d like to talk about. Something that’s weighing on your mind in need of some attention.
As we conceive it, Spiritual Direction is the process of exploring and understanding the interior world of another, following the Spirit’s work in transforming the person’s interior world to become more like Christ. A one-on-one session offers an objective, non-judgmental space where you can talk freely and openly about the things on your heart and mind and receive valuable insight from a trained fellow sojourner.
Spiritual Direction is Not Counseling or Coaching
There are distinctions between spiritual direction and therapeutic relationships. In general, therapy and counseling deal primarily with problem areas of one’s life and attempt to bring healthy resolution to issues. Spiritual direction is concerned with finding and responding to God in the midst of pain or disorder as well as in the rest of life.
Problem/issue solving is not the primary focus of Spiritual Direction. Surprising new perspectives usually arise in contemplative spiritual direction as both director and directee listen deeply for the whispers and nudges of God, but the focus in Spiritual Direction is not on practical problem solving.
For more information on Spiritual Direction, please visit our Spiritual Direction – FAQ page.
Participate in Our Pilot Spiritual Direction Program
Here at Larger Story we are developing an online spiritual direction program. As a participant in this program, you will receive spiritual direction from an experienced and qualified spiritual director. Please note, this is not a program that offers training to become a Spiritual Director. That training is offered at www.newwayministries.org.
Also, there is a fee required to participate in the program. Our spiritual directors have dedicated their lives to nurturing the body of Christ, which requires them to invest time they would typically dedicate to earning a living into engaging with others about their spiritual struggles and opportunities. We are offering this pilot program at a discounted rate while we perfect the system of delivery, but there will be a fee involved to compensate our directors for their time.
We are starting with a contained pilot program for a limited number of people with a few of our best spiritual directors, and we are looking for individuals to participate. If you are interested in being part of this select program, or if you want to know more about what we are planning in the future, please click below.
MEET OUR SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS
Our Spiritual Directors are each skilled at and committed to following the Spirit’s leading in helping you to find a clear vision and maintain a confident hope that there is something stunningly alive in you that is good and pressing for release. They are your guides to life in the God’s larger love story.
Kent Denlinger served as a lead pastor of Valley Springs Fellowship in Warsaw, Indiana for 32 years. For the past 15 years, he has also worked for NewWay Ministries as a spiritual director at the School of Spiritual Direction and NextStep. After retiring from the pastorate in 2018, Kent has worked as a corporate chaplain for a pharmaceutical company in Cincinnati, Ohio. Kent has a Masters in Counseling degree as well as a Master of Divinity degree, both from Grace Theological Seminary. In 2010, he completed a Doctorate of Ministry in Spiritual Direction from Gordon-Conwell.
Kent is married to Karla, and they have two adult children and two grandchildren. Their friendship with Larry & Rachael Crabb extend back 35 years. Not only did Kent train under Dr. Crabb, he considers Larry a personal mentor over that same period of time. Kent has been described as a relationally gracious person who enjoys coming alongside people in the natural, ongoing journey of life, helping the individual discover what the Spirit of God is upto in his or her soul.
After serving 32 years alongside the people of Valley Springs Fellowship in Warsaw, Indiana, Karla now resides in Cincinnati with her husband Kent. Her introduction to Larry Crabb came as an undergrad psychology major. Her studies continued under Larry, including an internship, receiving a MA in Biblical Counseling from Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. Karla has served as a spiritual director for the School of Spiritual Direction and NextStep for the past 15 years. In addition, she has spoken at retreats and offers ongoing spiritual direction to numerous individuals in a variety of settings.
Karla enjoys being a grandma to her two grandchildren. She also enjoys painting, reading and a good cappuccino. Those closest to Karla would describe her as having an ear for the inner workings of the Spirit, uniquely gifted at helping a person discover and put words to what is transpiring in their soul, most specifically the often undetected life of God.
Whether during her years as a mom nurturing small children, while living in Little Rock, Arkansas and working on staff of Family Life alongside her husband Blair of 42 years, or serving her church teaching women’s bible studies and speaking at retreats, Debbye has spent her life journeying with others. She has always been drawn to listening and asking penetrating questions of the heart. Since 2008, her passion and vision for accompanying others on their spiritual journey has been greatly influenced by the ministry of Larry Crabb. She attended both of Dr. Crabb’s schools for spiritual direction and completed her certification from NewWay Ministries. Those who know Debbye describe her as one who offers a peaceful presence, who holds a God-given vision for others when they are unable to see it for themselves, and who listens deeply and articulates truth in a way that guides the listener in their journey toward the hope of the gospel.
She currently lives in her hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee where she enjoys reading, gardening and a good weekend project around the house. Debbye welcomes time spent with her adult children, traveling to be with her four delightful grandchildren, as well as, coffee shared with a friend.
Anthony Vartuli served as a pastor in various different churches for 27 years. He has also served as a spiritual director in Larry’s School of Spiritual Direction for the past 7 years. Presently, he serves as a hospice chaplain. Anthony holds a Masters in Theology (with an emphasis in pastoral counseling) from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Masters in Biblical Counseling from Colorado Christian University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree (with an emphasis in Spiritual Formation) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Anthony is married to Diane, who together have 3 children. Both have enjoyed a lasting friendship with Larry and Rachael Crabb since 1995. Larry has also been a trusted mentor as Anthony and Diane have dealt with both the joys and the difficulties of life. Anthony enjoys playing golf, reading books, and hanging out with his family. People have described Anthony as a calming presence, perceptive when it comes to the movement of the Holy Spirit in other’s lives, able to meet people where they are, not where they are supposed to be.