Living Compass: Connecting Faith and Wellness in a Whole New Way
Living Compass, grounded in Scripture and the tradition of the Church, is a faith-based wellness ministry that provides resources, coaching, education, training, and support to individuals, families, and congregations as they seek to live the abundant life God intends for them. The Church is the original "wellness center." Therefore, when modern churches have a comprehensive focus on wellness and wholeness, it is a practical return to our roots as Christians. Remember, the word wholeness comes from the same root as holy and holiness.
For Christians, we are called to seek wholeness, wellness, and holiness in the totality of our lives -- heart, soul, strength and mind. We do this by intentionally seeking God in our daily lives by allowing God and our faith to be our compass in all dimensions of that life. When our Christian communities focus on wellness and healing and people within those communities speak honestly with one another and support one another, we all have a better chance of being whom God dreams us to be.
Living Compass provides a variety of tools, descriptions of which you will find under Resources. These products create opportunities for people to pause, "check their bearings" in their lives and then to set a new course in the path towards wellness. We believe that when people and congregations take the time to "Stop, Look and Listen!" to their lives they are able to hear what the Spirit is saying and make decisions to live a more healthy and holy life.
The Concept in the Words of The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, creator of Living Compass
For the past thirty years, I have had the honor of walking with people on their journeys towards healing and wholeness. I have walked with people in my professional life as psychotherapist, pastor, and spiritual director, as well as in my personal life as husband, father, son, and friend. Most importantly, in all of these relationships, I have walked as a fellow traveler on the life-long journey towards whole-person wellness. I used to think that my years of training and experience qualified me as some kind of "expert" on helping people seeking wholeness. I thought my role was to listen to their symptoms and then prescribe what changes they needed to make in their lives. This approach certainly helped some people, but I soon realized that there was a better, simpler way. I learned that when people feel genuinely supported and listened to they can almost always name for themselves the changes they need to make to bring greater wholeness and wellness to their lives.
All of our Living Compass materials are based on the belief that each individual knows what she or he needs to do in order to become more whole. They are also based on the belief that we cannot be whole on our own; this journey requires the care and support of others. All of the Living Compass materials provide both a structure and a process for the individual and communal dimensions of this journey. The materials help name what they already know (although may not be aware) and with the support of others, help them make changes in thought, word, and deed.
There is a third entity, a third power in this journey towards wholeness, God. Just as a navigational compass is acted upon by a force outside of itself, the inner compasses of our lives are also acted upon God, who calls us to greater wholeness, gently reminding us when our course in life needs correction. On the journey towards wholeness, we soon learn that we are not the only ones who are doing the seeking; God is seeking us as well. Living Compass materials encourage us to be still and listen to God's whisper.
Soon after I began my work as an Episcopal priest and psychotherapist, I noticed that people often returned for sessions after they had reached the initial goals they had set for themselves. Many of them said they came back not because they had a "new problem," but because they welcomed the opportunity to have authentic conversations and wanted to continue to become more fully alive. I developed the Living Compass curriculum in large part to meet this need: to help equip churches become places where people could have authentic conversations about continuing to become more fully alive, as God would desire for them. I know I can help individuals and families in my office, but I can never offer a life-long supportive community the way a church can!
Welcome to Living Compass. It is honor to walk with you on your journey towards whole-person wellness.
The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
What can Living Compass do for you and your church?
- Help you create a comprehensive wellness ministry in your congregation.
- Provide structure for both educational and small group wellness groups that foster a greater sense of connection and community among church members.
- Provide helpful and meaningful programming for the parents and grandparents in your congregation.
- Enhance and expand your one-to-one ministries of healing and reconciliation.
- Include your teens in the discussion of wellness and faith by allowing them to talk openly about the world they live in outside of church and how that affects their lives while showing them that their faith can be a source of strength and inspiration, their compass for life.
- Empower church members to engage issues of whole-person wellness in a comprehensive fashion, with an emphasis on how their faith supports their journey to wellness in the entirety of their lives.
- Help your congregation connect with other churches who are doing innovative things to enhance wellness in their communities.