By Rev. Kimberly Barker-Brugman
The Rev. Kimberly Barker-Brugman is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church (UMC) in the Virginia Annual Conference of the UMC and part of the 2017 Launch & Lead cohort.
I am an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. At many clergy gatherings someone will start a story with the words, “You won’t believe what I was asked to do this week…” And we will end up laughing and saying, “And that is under your job description as ‘other?’” The “other” of a clergy job description is endless, from kissing camels to cleaning toilets.
And sometimes there is a “call within our call,” and God asks us to live into one of our “other” skills. I felt that call this spring to step out and start a ministry that I have named, Soul Story Ministries.
I completed a two year school of spiritual direction at Richmond Hill Retreat Center, in Richmond, VA in 2006. And I have used these skills as a pastor in my churches and to a few individuals along the way. But this spring, at the end of my first year with Launch & Lead, I heard the call to step out in faith and hang out my shingle and offer spiritual direction full time. Over the years I have developed skills in teaching, retreats and workshops as well as spiritual direction. I have trained as a Veriditas Labyrinth Facilitator. And so I offer all of these things under the auspices of Soul Story Ministries.
Along the way I also have been coached and received some basic coaching training through the UMC and recently attended the Introduction to Coaching retreat as part of my two year cohort of Launch & Lead with the Missional Wisdom Foundation.
Over the last year and a half, I have taken some great classes, read some good books, and had a great coach. I have learned so much more about church, people, leadership, and creating missional communities that I feel my whole ministry of spiritual direction has deepened. With these skills I know I can help go beyond spiritual direction with my clergy/lay church professional clients and offer spiritual direction with a “hint” of coaching mixed in.
After this recent training in coaching with the Missional Wisdom Foundation I have entered a time of discernment as to whether I need to do a complete program in coaching to add to my skill set with Soul Story Ministries.
I began my two year cohort with MWF because I feel called to be a part of the church as it will be in the future. For my project for Launch & Lead I am combining my love for nature (my undergraduate degree is in Botany) with an outreach to the unchurched, de-churched, and the spiritual but not religious who specifically say, “I do not need to go to church, I can worship God in Nature.” The Center for Spirituality in Nature has created groups called S.I.N.G. – Spirituality in Nature Groups. I will be starting one of these in the Northern Virginia area this spring. I feel this is the place where I can answer the call to do spiritual direction with those who are not connected with a regular church.
You can find me on the web at Soul Story Ministries.org or on my Facebook page of the same name. If you wish to know more or wish to discuss spiritual direction you can contact me at email@example.com.