Steve Tollestrup member acsd
Spiritual Director, Supervisor
and Contemplative Activist
Kia ora, My name is Steve Tollestrup and I work as a Spiritual Director and retreat facilitator supporting and companioning with individuals, couples and groups to explore and deepen the experience of the sacred in their lives, ministry, work and world. As well as companioning and facilitation I offer professional supervision for ACSD members and students.
Spiritual Direction (also known as Spiritual Companioning) offers attentive support in discerning God's presence and the sacred in all of life. Spiritual Direction can help you reflect on your journey, broaden and deepen your spiritual path as you engage life with faith, curiosity, adventure, bravery and compassion.
I am a skilled but down to earth. I use a reflective and supportive style as well as creative and insightful contemplative strategies. I believe there is more value in having a lively curiosity with an open mind and adventuring heart, than fixed and unquestioning absolutes or dogma.
"Thank you Steve. I find your direction and companioning always insightful. You help me to discover and hold a deeper perspective of our life in Christ."
"Your support and practical insight connected with me more than I anticipated."
"Your approach to living in this world with radical purpose and loving-kindness absolutely spoke to me."
Some Questions answered:
What happens in spiritual direction session?
It's your time to explore your own spiritual journey, your life lived before all that you consider sacred. Together we listen to better hear the stirrings of God as you understand. It is a special opportunity where you can freely explore the deep places of the Spirit and life's big but often neglected topics like joy and grief, your hopes for the present and future, and unconfusing the past without judgment or shame. It is a time of growing in grace, deepening discernment and being really honest about our spiritual lives and facing the questions and challenges that arise.
My faith and beliefs are very important to me. Does spiritual direction risk compromising them? Will it require a change in my beliefs?
Absolutely not. A Spiritual Director is a companion and never an authority, guru or someone who knows the best way for you. Instead, we work together to explore and enrich your faith journey. New insights, perspectives and sacred encounters are bound to come - but they will always be yours and never imposed.
I have mature experience in contemplative practice, meditation and reflection. What value can you as a spiritual director/companion bring?
The spiritual journey is an inexhaustible adventure. I bring a trustworthy companionship, a few insights to help delve deeper into sacred presence both within and without. I am well informed on spiritual practice both historical and contemporary, denominational nuances and pastoral care and a good understanding of interfaith spirituality. At the end of the day though, I am also another traveller like you - and Its good to have friends on the journey!
I am a leader or part of a leadership team. Is Spiritual Direction useful?
Absolutely. I work with many church, mission, and NGO leaders who are looking to deepen their discernment and sense of God's presence. I have over 30 years of experience in organisational development and community leadership and have always valued and used mentors and spiritual advisors. I understand the ups and downs of leadership and have faced most of the challenges you do.
Do you provide spiritual direction for couples?
Yes. Spiritual direction is a valuable project for couples. However, my spiritual direction is not a substitute for couples counselling.
I am interested in exploring contemplative practices such as meditation. Can you support me in this ?
I am an experienced teacher and regular practitioner of a number of meditation and contemplative practices and I am able to offer you training in them.
I'm not a traditional Christian or religious. Is Spiritual Direction available for me?
I offer Spiritual Direction to anyone who wants to explore their understanding of the sacred in their lives; the felt connection to something larger than ourselves, and the search for deeper meaning and purpose. I understand spirituality as something that touches us all. No one needs to feel alone on his or her spiritual journey even when they have more questions than answers or aren’t sure who or what they believe in.
A gift of the LGBTQA community to the world is the concept of 'coming out.' Being known for who really are and not pretending to be other by hiding ourselves under a bushel. Coming out spiritually is the act of accepting who you are now spiritually and not hostage to the past. It is without shame living your faith honestly with dignity and courage. As a spiritual director I encourage your authentic sacred journey.
No matter your belief or background, everyone is welcome here.
How much do you charge for spiritual direction?
I do not charge for Spiritual Direction. No one should feel they cannot access spiritual direction because of cost. If you wish to respond with a koha of any sort it is accepted with thanks and gratitude.
Do you have a location in Auckland that you work from?
Yes, I work from Auckland central and West Auckland.
I live outside of Auckland. Do you provide spiritual direction online?
Yes, I have directees that live outside of Auckland and also overseas. Some directees prefer the convenience of online sessions. I'm experienced with online VOIP platforms and I'm available on skype / whatsapp for those wishing to use one of these.
Do you provide Supervision?
Yes. I provide supervision for Spiritual Directors, Chaplains, Mission workers, Pastor/Clergy, NGO and business leaders, and political representatives.
What's the meaning of 'Sacravist' ?
I use the term Sacravist to denote that Spirituality is not private piety. True, deep spirituality builds and strengthens compassion and connects us with others as contemplative activists committed to peace-building, shalom and justice in our community, environment and world. To be awake to the sacred brings responsibility
How do I join one of your retreats or workshops ?
I work together with groups who are exploring meaning, values and spirituality within their Church, mission, organisation or faith community, taking time to collectively explore and discern God's presence amongst them. If this interests you please get in touch and we can discuss.
Sound like you? You can contact me using the email below or phone me directly to discuss further and consider whether the Spiritual Direction I offer is valuable for your journey.
Warmly | Nga mihi nui
64 (0) 210433686
A bit more about me:
I have over thirty years’ experience in pastoral care. I studied theology at Laidlaw College receiving a Bth (hons) and later Spiritual Direction through Spiritual Growth Ministries. I am a member of the Association of Christian Spiritual Directors and appointed to its governing body. I also receive Spiritual Direction as well as having a strong personal commitment to ethical accountability through professional supervision.
I maintain my own regular spiritual practice of daily contemplation, meditation and study and I stay informed of current developments in spirituality and spiritual direction. I remain active and engaged with my community through a commitment to social, economic and environmental justice
I was previously the Executive Director of Industrial Chaplaincy for the Auckland Region as well as CEO of TEAR Fund NZ. I have served as an Elected Member of the Waitakere Ranges Local Board of Auckland Council. I own a small community development and not-for-profit consultancy ploughshare (www.ploughshare.co.nz) I attend City-side Baptist Church in Auckland.
I’m married to a wonderful life companion. We have 4 awesome adult kids and 6 grandchildren and live on the bush-covered slopes of the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland.
Programmes , workshops and Events
Time out is your own personal retreat time. You chose the place and, time; your home, bach, campervan, a day or two, a week or more. It can be structured around parts of your day if you face a busy schedule yet seek some time within it for deeper reflection.
We meet first online or in person and discuss your goals and plan an outline for your personal retreat. Then we schedule daily spiritual direction, reflection and retreat guidance online.
This is a simple, convenient and affordable way of ensuring you are able to have a personalised and focused time out for reflection and spiritual growth
Discovery is your retreat time; as a church, mission, youth group or community group. Discovery provides time out to explore what God might be saying to you. It's a time to reflect, spiritually build as team, explore next steps, plan for the future or face a challenge. Working together with you I create your unique retreat experience. If required venue and catering can be arranged. Thinking of doing your own personal retreat? I'm available to meet daily with you either in person or through ZOOM.
The Contemplative Pathways is a workshop designed to introduce a variety of contemplative practices. Participants will safely have the opportunity to engage in a range of methods including: meditation, Ignatian reflection, mindful movement, centering prayer, creative arts lectio divina, metta (loving-kindness). Pathways is also available to individuals who want to develop and deepen a particular contemplative path of interest
Throughout history, contemplatives, mystics and prophets have had an active concern for the poor and disadvantaged. In this participatory workshop we explore the themes of presence and deep spirituality that can be found in activism and the pursuit of justice, as well as contemplative tools for practice and response. It will be especially useful for those individuals, organisations and churches concerned for social and environmental justice and who wish to explore further where spirituality and activism meet positively and constructively for tranformation and social change. Enquire by email for times when this workshop is available or contact me about providing this full day workshop for your church mission or organisation.
The practice of Spiritual Direction can be greatly enhanced through the non-verbal expressions of art-making. As a practicing artist- (my online portfolio https://stevetollestrup.crevado.com) I've begun offering an Art Companion option. Together, we explore and discover through creative mediums such as oil/acrylic painting, pastel, print-making, assemblage and collage, the presence and voice of the sacred within ourselves and the world around us. Art Companioning can be supplemented with traditional spiritual direction or as a dedicated path.