SoulFormation was founded by Morris Dirks in 2005 as a nonprofit organization committed to the spiritual and emotional health of leaders in Christian ministry. It was birthed out of his increasing awareness of the intense challenges he saw in the lives of other leaders.
At SoulFormation we believe that the highs and lows of ministry present a unique opportunity for spiritual formation. Together they seek to provide the support and resources needed to assist leaders to know and experience Christ in the midst of the day to day demands of ministry.
Morris spent the first decade of his ministry in youth work. Following that, he pastored two churches over 18 years. One was filled with the joy of significant growth in attendance and influence in the community. The other flourished as well but, along side of the growth, there were challenges that brought deep disappointment and emotional pain. Through it all, Morris truly understands the highs and lows of ministry along with the spiritual and emotional challenges that come in that world.
Morris has a Doctorate in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from George Fox University. He has also studied under other leaders who understand the dynamics of the spiritual journey amid the challenges of ministry – Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, and Larry Crabb. Morris is married to Ruth who has a private counseling practice and shares SoulFormation’s commitment to the spiritual and emotional health of Christian leaders. They have two adult sons.
Rita served as the Executive Director of New Horizons Ministries in Seattle, WA for over 20 years before joining the SoulFormation team. Under her leadership New Horizons became recognized as a model of what multicultural ministry to homeless and street involved youth can become. Over the years Rita’s calling led her beyond the development of an effective organization that grew to 20 paid staff and 200 volunteers and into a passion for the spiritual development of those leaders. God called her to a deep place of intimacy with himself and taught her how to lead other leaders to that same place.
Rita is an ordained pastor in the Free Methodist denomination. She has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Washington as well as continuing theological education through Fuller Theological Seminary. Rita’s ministry strengths are in one-to-one mentoring of leaders as well as speaking at seminars, retreats and conferences. Rita is married to Ron who currently serves as the Director of Youth Services for New Horizons Ministries, a Seattle based ministry to homeless youth. She has one son who is married with 2 children.
Paul pastored on the staff of a large church in Long Beach, CA for eighteen years. His ministry experience includes children, college and adult ministry, evangelism and discipleship, and finally chief of staff. For the past almost eighteen years Paul served with CRM (Church Resource Ministries), an interdenominational mission agency focused on leadership development for the Church worldwide. Once again he served in a variety of roles, most recently as Executive Vice-President in charge of field ministry (350+ missionaries in 25 countries around the world).
Paul’s core passion for the one-on-one spiritual mentoring and coaching of leaders emerges out of his own spiritual journey. He longs to see leaders step into the fullness of who they were created and called to be as they learn to live out a holistic Gospel. On occasion he consults with organizations and churches, facilitates a variety of training experiences, and does conflict resolution. He has a Master of Divinity from Talbot School of Theology. Paul has been married to Becky for 38 years; they have two adult children, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.
Bill Zuelke, is a Spiritual Director, and life coach, and an associate staff member of Soul Formation. He provides spiritual direction, adult education, retreats, workshops, supervision, and consultations for churches, social agencies, and individuals through his private practice..
Bill has a degree in philosophy from Gonzaga University (1976) a M.Div. from Boston College (1981) and a M.S. in pastoral counseling from Loyola University, Baltimore (1985). He was a member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for 20 years and an ordained catholic priest. He is trained in Jesuit spirituality and discernment of spirits, and has been providing individual spiritual direction, private and group retreats, and assistance with personal and corporate discernment for over 35 years. He has been involved in Higher Education as campus minister, counselor, student services director and Dean for 40 years. He has been involved in training people in the art of spiritual direction, and have worked with faculties at Mt. Angel Abbey, Western Evangelical Seminary, George Fox University, and training programs run by namaste’, Shalom Prayer Center, and Soul Formation.
Bill is a licensed Professional Counselor, a trained supervisor, and a certified Life Coach, and presently maintains a private practice doing primarily personal spiritual direction, private retreat direction, and supervision for spiritual directors.
He has been married to Val for 25 years and has one adult daughter.
SoulFormation Board of Directors
Dave Zollner, Board Chairperson / Retired Vice President, US Bank / Portland, OR
Tim Barton / Lead Pastor, Canby Alliance Church / Canby, OR
Adrianna Carr / Dir. of Dev., Sisters of the Holy Names & Mary's Woods / Marylhurst, OR
Don Rhodes / Field Applications Engineer, Texas Instruments / Portland, OR