July 31, 2023
by People Who See Spiritual Directors Esther Nissen, Kairos University graduate and Affiliate Professor and Beth Broadbooks, Kairos University Graduate and Affiliate Professor
Picture this: it’s week five of your exciting educational journey through Kairos. You’ve finished Starting Well – check! You’ve assembled an amazing team of mentors to walk with you on your journey, had your first meeting, and you’re feeling ready to dive in and see where this crazy Kairos journey takes you.
You sit down at your laptop, log in to Pathwright and there it is! Your path. You click in, read through the first few outcomes thinking, “Oh yeah, I got this.” But then you get to the part where you have to design your outputs and your heart begins to sink. Thoughts race: “Where do I start? I have to do this for every single outcome?” You begin to wonder, “Oh no… what have I gotten myself into??”
Fast forward several months and you’re floundering a bit. “There’s too much freedom! Someone, please, give me a box to check! I want to go back to the cozy warm familiarity of a traditional educational experience!”
My business partner Beth Broadbooks and I know this feeling well. We each have two Kairos degrees under our belts, and now we’re both faculty mentors offering a lifeline and a pep talk to our students in the throes of the “Kairos overwhelm.”
Embracing that feeling is the key to your educational journey at Kairos. It unlocks the true power and potential of what Kairos offers. Allow me to explain…
We each entered our Doctor of Ministry programs armed only with lived experience, a hunch, and a whole lot of questions.
I (Beth) found that my passion point was Christians learning how to hold space for others who think differently. A friend once said to me, “Why would I want to be a Christian when you guys can’t even get along?” As I looked out at the landscape of the church, I was disheartened by the rage that Christians had toward one another at times. My heart was burdened to see the church at large, across theological disagreements and divides, learn how to hold space for one another even if they thought differently.
I (Esther) wanted to know, “Is it just me?” and, “Is this ok?” I knew something was wrong with the Christian theologies of the Self I had always known, but I didn’t have the language to communicate why or a better alternative to offer. Over the course of my program, I tried to put language to what I had spent years living into and observing in the lives of those around me. I built a theology of Self that does not force my audience into what I believe to be an unnecessary choice between themselves and God.
It was out of these questions and these lived experiences that we built our Doctor of Ministry projects. Beth built a Spiritual Listening curriculum that can be offered in a retreat or a six-week cohort. I built a group spiritual direction cohort called Beloved: the spiritual discipline of honoring the Self.
We both embraced spiritual direction as our ministry. We used our training as spiritual directors in Kairos’ Listening People to Life Certificate of Completion program as a Directed Learning Experience (DLE). I was also able to use my countless hours spent building my ministry context, People Who See, as my second DLE.
Kairos gave us the educational freedom to shape our education around the people we actually are. Around our questions, lived experience, and passion points. Which is what gave us the courage to build a ministry around who we are. It is what allowed us to give our gifts back to the world.
After completing our doctorates, we decided to launch a business out of our doctoral work. We founded People Who See in January of 2022, and though we are a for-profit business, this is our ministry. We exist to help people take the pieces of their faith and build something new.
We get to live and work out of our passions. We use our doctoral work every day, working as spiritual directors to those reconstructing their faith. And that’s because we embraced the “Kairos overwhelm.”
Embrace that feeling of lostness, sit with it until you learn what brings you life. Until you know what gifts you, and only you, can give back to the world.
If you want some practical experience sitting with discomfort and exploring your own journey – you can learn more about us at peoplewhosee.com!
If you’re intrigued by our work, – we have two cohorts coming up! Partial scholarships are available for Kairos students. If cost is an issue, please let us know and we would love to work with you!