Institute and Coach Training Program FAQ

Soul Shepherding Institute 

Soul Shepherding’s Institute is tailored to pastors, ministry leaders, missionaries, lay leaders and men and women serving the Lord in ministry. These Institute retreats will deepen your intimacy with Jesus and overflow in positive ways into all of your ministry work and relationships.

New cohorts begin one to three times a year. Here you will find information on current and upcoming cohorts, we typically have fall/spring cohorts and winter/summer cohorts.

Cohorts generally average about 35 participants for each retreat. Participants have come from all over the world including 15 states and 11 countries (UK, Mexico, Africa, Philippines, Indonesia, Canada, Columbia, China, New Zealand and more).

Bill and Kristi were mentored and trained under Dallas and Jane Willard. Their unique mix of biblical, theological, psychological and experiential training provides a solid foundation for spiritual, emotional, and leadership development. Our retreats are unique and feature:

  • Dynamic teaching on soul care
  • Guided experiences for spiritual formation
  • Customized spiritual and psychological coaching tools and experiences
  • Spiritual direction groups and soul friend conversations
  • Rest, solitude and silence in beautiful surroundings

You’ll leave each retreat feeling rested, rejuvenated, encouraged, and equipped with the tools you need to thrive in your life, relationships, ministry (or work), and leadership.

We begin at noon on Monday and wrap up by 12:30 pm on Friday. Each day begins with breakfast, followed by teaching, group training and small group breakouts (men and women).  Afternoons are spent in what we call TLC time (To Love Christ). This time is set aside for quiet reflection in nature, scripture meditation, recreation or a nap! You will also receive personalized care and coaching in a small group. Following dinner, Bill & Kristi provide another teaching time often leading participants in a group spiritual exercise. And of course there is plenty of free time to connect with other fellow retreat participants.

There are four unique week-long modules:

  • Spiritual Formation
  • Spiritual and Psychological Development
  • Soul Care Ministry
  • Relationally Healthy Leadership. 

For each module you will be provided with a PDF or you can purchase a printed copy onsite for $25 (this covers our printing costs). Each workbook is filled with stories, biblical teaching, spiritual exercises and more. Most people prefer having the printed copy for note taking during teaching times.

That is the best way to do the Institute but, as space allows, we do allow guests to jump in for a later week during a cohort.

Each of the Institute retreats costs $1200* per week.  This covers the cost of tuition, 4 nights of housing and 11 meals. You are responsible for all transportation costs to and from the Institute location.  Participants who pay in-full 60 days prior to the retreat will receive a $100 discount. There is a discount for spouses.
*Reflects updated pricing as of February 1st, 2023. For questions, please contact Sue Wood at 

Soul Shepherding can offer partial scholarships for pastors, missionaries, and others who are unable to pay the full tuition. These are provided on a case-by-case basis. If you are in need of financial assistance, please complete the scholarship application at this link and we will prayerfully consider your request. 

Your first step is to complete the application and provide a reference. Have the person providing your reference use this link: Reference Form.  We require one ministry reference from a pastor, ministry supervisor or spiritual mentor and one reference from a personal, non-family member. After we review your application and references, you will receive an email notification from Soul Shepherding regarding your acceptance status. If you are accepted, you will be required to make a $250 deposit to secure your spot.

Coach Training (CT) Program 

The CT program is designed to accompany the Institute retreats for those who sense a call to become trained as a coach. It is an optional program of additional training with a cohort of other like-minded people. It can be completed with the SDT program or as a standalone course with the Institute.

The CT program will equip you to support clients to reach the goals that are inspired by God, to work on living and leading in Jesus’ easy yoke, and to improve awareness, effectiveness, and competence in personal life, spiritual life, and leadership or work.  This is different from the SDT program which equips you to facilitate the client engaging with God, deepening their intimacy with Christ, discerning God’s will, spiritual growth, holiness, and self-transcendence.

The CT program is an online course completed with a cohort. It includes:

    • 4 Institute retreats (if you’ve already attended the retreats, you are not required to attend them again)
    • 12 online classes (12 consecutive weekly 90 minute classes)
    • Attending at least 4 live supervision sessions (2 if also a SDT student) and 2 individual supervision sessions (1 if also a SDT student) You may make up a live group supervision session with a 1/1 session.
    • Receiving a minimum of 6 coaching sessions from one of Soul Shepherding’s Sr. Coaches (3 if also a SDT student) 
    • Enriching reading assignments from our 4 required texts)
    • 10 hours of coaching sessions you lead with a friend or someone you’re ministering to — using practical tools that we give you
    • Submitting a 30-minute or longer audio recording of you leading a coaching session

If you have already been approved for the Institute or SDT program, simply complete the enrollment form and make your first payment.

If you have never applied for the Institute, you will need to complete our training application. You will also need to provide two references. (Have the people providing your references use this link: Reference Form.) Once you are accepted, you can confirm your participation by completing the enrollment form and making your first payment online or by mail to Soul Shepherding, 4000 Barranca Parkway, Suite 250 Irvine, CA 92604.

The standalone cost of this program with the Institute is $349/month* for 24 months. This covers online classes, supervision groups, and more. (The Institute retreats are included in this price).

If you are a current SDT student or alumni, you may add the CT program for $50 per month for 24 months or a one-time payment of $1,200.

*Reflects updated pricing as of February 1st, 2023. For questions, please contact Jodine Zeitler at

** There are additional costs for discounted sessions with a Sr. Coach, network resources, books, and a private room on retreats.

*** Pastors and missionaries can apply for partial scholarship assistance.

Soul Shepherding can offer partial scholarships for pastors, missionaries, and others who are unable to pay the full $349 a month tuition. These are provided on a case-by-case basis. If you are in need of financial assistance, please complete the scholarship application using this link and we will prayerfully consider your request.

Soul Shepherding’s CT program is a cost-effective way to receive coach training without the added time commitment and expense.  Program benefits include:

  • Training from highly qualified Soul Shepherding staff (see below)
  • Informed by Christ-centered psychology 
  • Experiential learning 
  • Supervision to hone your skills
  • Eligible to apply to serve as a Sr. Coach on the Soul Shepherding staff 
  • 100% online or hybrid with four residential retreats
  • Membership to the Soul Shepherding Network
  • 20% off Soul Shepherding Products in our store

Students gain robust training in the Soul Shepherding core competencies for coaching:

  1. Embodies Spirit-led and Christ-centered approach 
  2. Demonstrates ethical practices and maintains Coaching Agreements
  3. Cultivates trust and safety to evoke gentle insight 
  4. Listens to clients with empathy, sensitive to the Holy Spirit 
  5. Empowers clients to take positive action in their life, work, and faith

Graduates are eligible to apply to serve as a Sr. Coach on the Soul Shepherding staff.  Once they are certified by Soul Shepherding they can apply to have their profile listed on our website to increase their visibility, network with other leaders, and generate referrals.  They can also join the Soul Shepherding Network for access to our leadership community, ongoing supervision groups, and a vault of extensive resources and tools.

If you have further questions about CT program, we would be happy to meet with you.  You can schedule a free Zoom call here or you can email Jodine Zeitler at We are here to serve and help you get started.