How did the Soul Care Institute Begin?

The Soul Care Institute began as a seed in the hearts of Steve and Gwen Smith. In 2000, the couple co-founded Potter's Inn with the vision to provide care for the souls of leaders in ministry and marketplace. While pouring into those precious souls, they realized the need for a training program that would help empower these leaders to care for themselves fully before reaching the point of burnout. 

The Soul Care Institute was born out of that need and is a resource to train and equip leaders to extend hope, care and well-being to a needy world in both the spheres of ministry and the marketplace. 

In 2014, Steve and Gwen approached Joe Walters, Dean of Spiritual Formation at Colorado Christian University, to take on the task of crafting and developing the Institute. Joe now serves as the executive director of The Soul Care Institute.

What are the Core Vales of the Soul Care INstitute?

Our three core values align with those of Potter's Inn.

Intimacy: Our learning cohorts will be small and intimate where real learning is experienced. This is not just amassing of more information. Cohorts are limited to 20-25 people. Participants enrolled in the Soul Care Institute will have meal times with their teachers, small groups and spiritual directors to explore the insights. Our schedule is intentional with time to reflect and explore without a sense of urgency, time limits and crowds.

Beauty: The Soul Care Institute will be offered at venues where beauty becomes a key ingredient to the experience. We believe beauty has a significant role in piercing the soul for transformation. We will explore the depths of beauty within us and around us.

Adventure: Whether it is the invitation to explore the vast domains of the soul or through snow-shoeing in the Great Sanctuary of the outdoors, adventure stretches us to new perspectives and experiences which inform us and challenge us. Adventure will be integrated into the experience through various activities and the often overlooked and unexplored adventure of a true rest.

Our Institute is open to marketplace leaders and ministry leaders alike. The Soul Care Institute will be practical, engaging and applicable for leaders to take back “home” and implement the life-changing lessons and insights they receive and experience.

What is the cost of the Soul Care Institute?

Upon acceptance, a $150 administrative fee is required to hold your spot. This fee is due once you receive your acceptance email.

The tuition for the Soul Care Institute is $7,200.  The tuition includes meals and lodging (we are almost always able to provide individual rooms so you can have the space you need), materials and speakers for each retreat. The cost of books and travel are not included and the administrative fee is separate. 

Payment options:

1.  Full payment before retreat one. There is a 5% discount for those who pay in full (total price with 5% discount = $6,840).

2.    Monthly payments (24 payments of $300).

3.    Pay as you go for each retreat ($1,200 due before each retreat begins; 6 payments total).

*Only one discount may be applied towards tuition.

**We do have limited funds to offer scholarships. If you are interested in applying, please email us at

Can I attend only a few retreats?

Unfortunately, that is not an option for us. Once we have reserved you a spot, our costs are the same whether you are there or not, as we make lodging arrangements well in advance. Therefore, a decision to join the two-year Soul Care Institute is a commitment to attend and participate in each of the six retreats. We understand that emergencies arise and it may be unavoidable to miss a particular retreat.  However, after attendance at the first retreat, the commitment to the Institute is the commitment to pay all of the total cost of $7,200 whether in lump sum, monthly or the six partial payments described above, whether attending or absent from a particular retreat.

Can my spouse participate with me?

Absolutely! We love to see spouses attend and learn together. We have heard amazing feedback from spouses who have gone through the Institute together. We will even offer a 10% discount to your spouse. 

*Only one discount may be applied towards tuition.

Who are the primary teachers?

We have built our model around multiple voices and experts, trained and gifted leaders, who are authorities in their own fields of work. Noted authors, seasoned veterans and well-respected teachers will lead each seminar. Visit our instructor page to learn more about some of them.

I've read a lot of the invisible work that will be done on the inside. However, are there any tangible benefits?

We are glad you asked! Though the most important work that will be done will be done within you, there are also several tangible, "seen" benefits. Upon completion of the full two-year experience (attendance at all six retreats, required reading and assigned papers), you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion in Soul Care from Potter’s Inn.

You will also be eligible to receive a Certificate of Completion from the Lowell W. Berry Center for Lifelong Learning at Fuller Theological Seminary. 

If you are considering a doctoral degree, you will have the opportunity to partner with Fuller Theological Seminary. Through the institute, you can earn 4-8 academic credits towards a DMIN degree. Additional course work and tuition fees for Fuller will be required. 

I'm interested! What is the next step?

Great! We look forward to hearing more from you! If you are ready to fill out our online application, click here. If you need help deciding whether the program is right for you, feel free to email us at