Abide invites you into an experience and understanding of spiritual formation.


Watch the video from Jeremy Stefano, Director of Abide, to learn more.

A Certificate in Spiritual Formation

Abide is a ten-month experience of personal formation in Christ in the context of an online spiritual community.

Personal Journey

  • Select reading from a list of spiritual classics and contemporary authors
  • Written reflection papers
  • Meet with your spiritual director or friend to discuss your journey
  • Take a personal retreat
  • Grow in understanding of the spiritual life

Spiritual Community

  • 10 informative online sessions
  • Exclusive interviews with guest authors
  • Biblical teaching on spiritual formation and abiding in Christ
  • Communal worship and formation practices (scripture reading, prayer, silence, reflection)
  • Discussion and sharing groups

Abide offers participants a setting to mature in Christ through rigorous thought, prayerful reflection, and contemplative action.


10 Online Sessions

Each online session addresses one of the following topics from a spiritual formation perspective

  • SPIRITUAL LIFE: An Introduction
  • HOLY DESIRES: Awareness of Grace
  • SABBATH: Rest with God
  • DISCERNMENT: Attuned to God
  • COMMUNITY: One in Christ
  • CREATIVITY: Witness to Beauty
  • LEADERSHIP: Godly Influence
  • CHARACTER: Being Like Christ
  • OBEDIENCE: Believing the Truth
  • KINGDOM: Sent by Jesus

2024-2025 Cohort Dates

Each session is held via Zoom from 10AM – 2PM ET

Sep 6, 2024
Oct 11, 2024
Nov 1, 2024
Dec 6, 2024
Jan 10, 2025
Feb 7, 2025
Mar 7, 2025
April 4, 2025
May 2, 2025
June 6, 2025

The Abide Online Certificate Program Includes:

Lectio Divina

Contemplative Bible reading, silence, and reflection are central to each online gathering


Prayer and worship provide rich, communal experiences for participants


Monthly sessions provide robust teaching and biblical perspective on each topic


Learning with others on the journey, sharing your insights among spiritual friends

Leiko's Abide Experience

Spiritual formation is about being formed into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the maturity to which all Christians aspire. Abide creates an environment where this transformation is experienced and encouraged.

Please contact Jeremy Stefano, the Director of Abide, at jeremy@leadershiptransformations.org if you have any questions or need assistance in the application process.

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Jeremy Stefano

Director of Emmaus, Director of Abide, & Minister of Spiritual Formation

Jeremy offers spiritual direction, leads retreats, teaches on spiritual formation topics and serves as the director of Emmaus, a Certificate Program in Formational Leadership, and Abide, a Certificate Program in Spiritual Formation. He also works with students of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary at the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building. The heartbeat of Jeremy’s calling is to encourage Christian leaders in the cultivation of their relationship with God. He has served various churches as pastor and interim pastor. He and Bethany, his wife of 35 years, have been blessed with eight children and five grandchildren. They make their home in Massachusetts. He has a Licentiate in Theology from the Cape Town Baptist Seminary in South Africa, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Regent College in Canada and a D.Min. in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary in Portland, OR. “Friendships have been a source of grace in my life. It is a gift to serve in LTI alongside those who value the priority of rich and enduring relationships with each other.

Articles by Jeremy Stefano

Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

Detailed Biography
Articles by Stephen Macchia
Author Website
Schedule a one-on-one with Steve

Dr. Kimberly Alexander

Selah Senior Faculty, Abide Faculty

Dr. Kimberly Nash Alexander is a native of Charlotte, NC. She attended UNC-Greensboro and The George Washington University in Washington, DC where she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Speech Language Pathology respectively. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in the integration of religion and society from Omega Graduate School in Dayton, TN. Kim is certified as a spiritual director through Leadership Transformations and offers a 12 month contemplative mentoring journey, soul care retreats and soul care for businesses/teams and spiritual direction through DKA Services. She is the founder of the special needs ministry and leads the Women’s Ministry of The Park Church in Charlotte, NC. Kim shares life and love with her husband, Bishop Claude Alexander, Jr. and their two daughters Camryn and Carsyn. While she has a passion for empowering women to live in the fullness of their relationship with Christ. She can be found reading, jogging, or cooking great southern food. Good chocolate and popcorn are her weakness. “Having a broken toe during my Selah experience prompted a spiritual awakening.

Susan Porterfield Currie

Director of Selah, Abide Faculty, & Minister of Spiritual Formation

Susan is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (DMin in Spiritual Formation; MATS), CFDM Pacific Northwest Certificate Program in Spiritual Guidance, and Bryn Mawr College (MA, English Lit). She has served in church and parachurch settings for over 30 years, focusing on spiritual formation ministries, retreat leadership, and spiritual direction, and along with her husband Dave serves as affiliated clergy in the Anglican Diocese in New England (ACNA), offering support to area clergy and to the Anglican Formation Track at Gordon-Conwell. Susan and Dave are the parents of three married children – all grace! – and enjoy home hospitality to extended family as well as guests that come their way. In Sabbath moments Susan will be found outdoors – sitting, hiking, kayaking, immersing herself in the beauty of creation – or indoors, tea and scones at her side, immersing herself in the beauty of good words. “LTI has been my ministry home for over 15 years, where with amazing colleagues I delight in creating and nurturing spacious, reflective presence to God. Glory!

Articles by Susan Currie

Gail Edmonson

Emmaus Faculty & Abide Faculty

Gail Edmonson has a deep longing to create space for people to feel safe – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After serving for 18 years on her church staff in various positions including Director of Leadership Development and Director of Spiritual Formation, she entered private practice as a spiritual director. She delights in offering spiritual direction for individuals and groups, giving leadership to monthly gatherings for spiritual practices, and facilitating soul care retreats. Gail holds a Bachelor of Science degree in interior design from Baylor University. She received spiritual direction training through Leadership Transformations’ Selah Certificate Program as well as certification in spiritual formation leadership through Leadership Transformations’ Emmaus program. Additionally, Gail holds a certification in Death, Dying, and Grief from Tyndale Spiritual Formation Centre.

Gail and her husband live in Katy, Texas. They have three adult children and seven growing grandchildren.

I am deeply passionate about the ministry of LTI because of the ways the Lord has used both Emmaus and Selah in my spiritual formation. Therefore, my gratitude for LTI and its leadership runs deep. It is an honor to serve alongside these grace-filled men and women.

Gayle Heaslip

Gayle Heaslip

Spiritual Formation Associate, Abide Faculty, & Selah-East Faculty

Gayle Heaslip has a degree in counseling from Gordon-Conwell Seminary and having completed Selah’s spiritual direction training program, she is drawn to walk alongside others as they grow into the fullness of life the Lord supplies through both trials and triumphs. In addition to working with LTI and offering spiritual direction to individuals and groups, she is a priest in the Anglican Church of North America, serving a missional fellowship in Falmouth. Gayle delights in the ever-changing beauty of Cape Cod where she lives with her husband and close to their three grown children and eight grandchildren. Good books and conversation, hiking, writing and photography, and time alone to ponder are God’s gracious gifts to her. “I have been deeply formed over many years through LTI within its listening, companioning community, and I’m honored to walk with others in the Emmaus and Selah programs as we become more attentive and responsive to God’s presence.

Marcos Leon

Emmaus Faculty, Abide Faculty, & Selah-West Faculty

Marcos has served as a Team Leader for Faithwalking since 2007. He facilitates and coaches the Faithwalking curriculum in English and Spanish, leads the communications team, and oversees the training for coaches. Marcos is also part of the Emmaus Online faculty team at LTI. Additionally he serves as a counselor and has a passion for spiritual direction. Marcos was born and grew up in Ecuador, but now lives north of Houston in Porter, TX with his wife Julie and four children. He loves nature, good stories, and road trips with family. His education includes a Masters in Hotel Administration in Spain and a Masters in Counseling from Houston Graduate School of Theology. He also received his training on the Enneagram from Crosspoint Ministry and is a graduate of LTI’s Selah program. “Selah facilitates an encounter with God. The integration of a solid biblical foundation in the teaching, the humble spaciousness of the discipline of silence, and the faith-filled loving attitude of the leaders invites the soul to listen to the Spirit of the Living God.

Suz Skinner

Suz Skinner

Emmaus Faculty, Abide Faculty, & Spiritual Formation Associate

Suz received her degree in Art Education from Pennsylvania State University, received theological education from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary through CCO and IVCF campus ministries, and completed the Selah Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction. After serving in campus ministry, Suz has also served on church staff teams, in both youth ministry and adult discipleship ministry. In addition, Suz has worked as a visual arts instructor, for over two decades. Currently, Suz serves LTI at the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and on the faculty team for the Emmaus: Certificate in Formational Leadership. As both an artist and a spiritual director, Suz offers creative soul care and spiritual direction in her art studio. Five clever grandkids, along with their loving parents, continually bless Suz and her husband, Joel. Suz loves to fill her kitchen with friends and good conversation and is always refreshed by an oceanside walk. “God continues to use the grace-filled people and the attentive spaciousness of LTI to shape me for Christ’s Kingdom.

Dr. Brenda Woods

Emmaus Faculty & Abide Faculty

Brenda has spent her career as a physician and has now entered a season of “re-purposement” with a call to accompany others in their walk with Christ. She is married to David for 42 years. They have 4 married children with a total of 10 grandchildren who are a joy and delight! She is active in her local church serving as an elder and facilitates the spiritual direction training program that has raised up spiritual directors in her congregation. She discovered LTI during the pandemic, and the Soul Care retreats and workshops were a lifeline while practicing medicine at that time. Because of this experience with LTI, she completed the Emmaus program and is currently an intern with Selah to continue to be formed as one who listens well and joins others as they journey with God. She graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Dallas Theological Seminary. She enjoys time with her family, reading, painting and being outdoors especially if water is involved! “I am experiencing God in a new and powerful way. Instead of working hard for Him, almost as His employee, I now operate out of a deep and abiding knowledge that I am His dearly loved child. Everything I do in His service now flows out of gratitude and in response to His love. I see His activity surrounding me and have an ever-growing awareness of His continual presence in my life. This has brought me to a place of rest and contentment that I did not realize existed.

Matt Scott

Creative Director, Abide Faculty, & Minister of Spiritual Formation

Matt serves on the LTI team as Creative Director and Minister of Spiritual Formation. With 15 years of local church experience, Matt has served various churches in the area of worship and arts, community life, shepherding, and pastoral ministry. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv) and the University of Mobile (Worship Leadership and Music Performance), Matt has a heart to shepherd people through songwriting, worship leadership, and pastoral care. He and his wife, Kristen, live in Bluffton, South Carolina with their two children, Emerson and Ashton. Matt enjoys building furniture, writing music, and being on the backwater of the Lowcountry’s May River. “I am humbled and honored to be part of the LTI team. I find great joy in building up and encouraging the Body of Christ through spiritual formation and soul care.

Mark Buchanan

Mark Buchanan

Abide Guest Speaker

Mark and his wife Cheryl live in Cochrane, Alberta. He is associate professor of Pastoral Theology at Ambrose Seminary. They have three adult children. Mark is a pastor, teacher, and speaker. He enjoys scuba diving, fishing, and motorcycles. He is the author of ten books, including most recently the novel David: Rise (Book One of trilogy on the life of King David), and God Walk: Moving at the Speed of Your Soul.

Full bio at markbuchanan.net

Nate Foster

Abide Guest Speaker

Nathan Foster is Director of Community Life at Renovaré and previously served as the Andrews Chair in Spiritual Formation at Spring Arbor University and the Pastor of Spiritual Formation at a Free Methodist Church in Jackson, MI. Nathan is a licensed clinical social worker, a certified addictions counselor, and plays bass in the indie rock band Istra Blue. He is the son of Renovaré founder Richard Foster.

Full bio at Renovaré

Jewel Hyun

Abide Guest Speaker

KeumJu Jewel Hyun is the founder and president of Matthew 28 Ministries, Inc., a nonprofit organization focusing on ministries in Kenya. M28 M’s primary ministry is developing and training Christian leaders, training women for economic empowerment, and providing adult literacy and children’s education. She is an adjunct professor of Theology of Work at Bakke Graduate University, Dallas, Texas and co-editor of The Quest for Gender Equity in Leadership: Biblical Teachings on Gender Equity and Illustrations of Transformation in Africa (2016) and Some Men Are Our Heroes: Stories by Women about the Men Who Have Greatly Influenced Their Lives (2010). Jewel earned the Doctor of Ministries degree and the Master of Arts in New Testament from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts. She also holds a Master of Science in Nuclear Physics from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. Jewel has two adult children and four grandchildren. She enjoys quilting in her spare time.

Tara Owens

Abide Guest Speaker

Tara Owens is Founder and Executive Director of Anam Cara Ministries, based in Colorado Springs, CO, where she has been accompanying others in their journeys with God for 15 years as a spiritual director and supervisor. Tara is the author of two books, Embracing the Body (IVP) and At Play in God’s Creation (Franciscan Media). She lives in Colorado with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog, Brother Juniper.

Full bio at Anam Cara Ministries

Barbara Peacock

Abide Guest Speaker

Barbara Peacock is an experienced preacher, teacher, and minister of discipleship and prayer. She trains in spiritual coaching and soul care for ministry leaders. Dr. Peacock holds a Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and lives in North Carolina with her husband, Gilbert, and together they have a daughter, son in-love, and one grandson. She is the author the highly acclaimed “Soul Care In African American Practice”.

Full bio at Barbara L. Peacock Ministries

Eric Peterson

Abide Guest Speaker

Eric E. Peterson is the founding pastor of Colbert Presbyterian Church. His first book, “Wade in the Water”, represents a pastoral perspective on the power of baptism. Peterson lives just north of Spokane with his wife, Elizabeth and their three children. He is the son of Eugene Peterson, author of The Message translation of the Bible.

Full bio at Colbert Presbyterian Church staff page

Richard Plass

Abide Guest Speaker

Rich has served in pastoral ministry and counseling for over forty years. He founded CrossPoint Ministry, where he provides pastoral counseling to Christian leaders. Rich is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell, M.Div. and Southern Theological Seminary earning a Th.M. in the Psychology of Religion, and a Ph.D. in Pastoral Counseling. Rich and his wife, Sallie, live in southern Indiana and have six children and eight grandchildren. Richard writes, “It is a great adventure to serve with LTI seeking to care for and strengthen the souls of those who lead God’s people.

Full bio at Crosspoint Ministry

Ken Shigematsu

Abide Guest Speaker

Ken Shigematsu is senior pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, B.C., a trustee for World Vision Canada, and author of “God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God” (Zondervan).

Full bio at Tenth Church

Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas

Abide Guest Speaker

Gary Thomas’ writing and speaking focuses on bringing people closer to Christ and closer to others. He is the author of 20 books, including Sacred Pathways: Nine Ways to Connect with God, and serves on the teaching team at Second Baptist Church, Houston, and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon and Houston Theological Seminary in Houston Texas.  Gary enjoys running in his spare time and has completed 14 marathons, including the Boston Marathon three times. He and his wife Lisa have been married for 35 years and they have three adult children and one granddaughter.

Full bio at garythomas.com

Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.