Our Story


In 2006, Steve and Gwen Smith founded Potter’s Inn at Aspen Ridge, a retreat center in Divide, Colorado, with the vision to provide care for the souls of leaders in ministry and the marketplace. While pouring into those precious souls, they realized the need for a way to empower leaders to care for themselves before reaching the point of burnout.

During a visit with Joe Walters of Colorado Christian University, Steve heard Joe’s vision for a two-year cohort experience. Joe’s experience with Ruth Haley Barton’s Transforming Community deeply impacted him and he wanted to develop a similar program. That evening while sitting by the fireplace, Steve said to Joe, “Why don’t you come and do that under the umbrella of Potter’s Inn?” A seed was planted. Joe and his wife, June, came to Potter’s Inn to develop and lead the Soul Care Institute. In October of 2015, the first cohort of sixteen students gathered for their first retreat at Potter’s Inn in Divide, CO.

Our mission is to create space for people to become present to God and care for the deep longings of the soul.

vision for transformation and growth

The Institute Today

After five years, seven cohorts, and retreat locations extending to North Carolina and Michigan, the Board of Potter’s Inn decided it was time for the Soul Care Institute to become its own entity. On June 8, 2020, Soul Care Institute was formed as a Nonprofit Corporation in the State of Colorado under new leaders, Kaylene and Jimm Derksen.

The vision to train and equip leaders in the care of the soul continues and extends to anyone who longs to develop healthy, sustaining rhythms and learn to live fully in Christ.

Since 2015, the Soul Care Institute has invited people to pull away from the busyness of ministry, work, and family life in order to engage in true retreats designed to replenish the soul.
"The Soul Care Institute provided physical space, relational space and time-space for me to pay attention to God. Like the old hymn says, Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side. I can’t recommend this sacred space highly enough." - Joe Chambers, Senior Pastor, CO

vision for tranformation and growth

Cultivating a soulful generation

As our community expands, SCI graduates will be invited to join us in creating new spaces for others to care for their souls, investing in people throughout the United States and expanding the message of our belovedness internationally.

We are committed to expanding our reach by offering comprehensive and accessible online resources to individuals and communities in diverse regions and cultures. Additionally, we will be organizing and hosting a series of transformative soul care retreats in different regions around the world.

Both our national and international soul care retreats will be designed to be accessible, inclusive, and empowering for people of all backgrounds, cultures, and traditions, with a focus on creating sacred space to become present to God.

Through a network of soul care providers, we are dedicated to continue learning and sharing the transformative way of Jesus that will help individuals from all cultures experience the fullness of Christ.

Investing in three core areas that will serve our vision


We will continue to curate and develop soul care resources with a focus on equipping SCI alumni with the tools and skills they need to facilitate meaningful and transformative experiences for people in their communities.


In light of many SCI alumni becoming soul care leaders in their own communities as they seek to become spiritual directors or retreat leaders, working together, we will amplify our soul care impact across cultures and traditions.


As we expand our reach, we are committed to leveraging new technologies and innovative approaches to engage diverse audiences and support those who may have limited access to soul care resources.

What we do

We specialize in retreats that engage the whole person.

Whether you join a cohort on the two-year journey, engage with a group of friends in a weekend away, or go on a one-day personal adventure for your soul, you can trust knowing you'll have good guides to help you along the way. Let us create space for you to care for the one and only you.

2-Year Soul Care Institute

Our signature immersive two-year retreat with a cohort of individuals

Weekend Retreats

Tailored for any group up to 25 -hosted by Soul Care Institute staff

1-Day Retreats

Customized retreats, ideal for personal and team development

Support the ministry

Your contribution is transformative in the journey of soul care, guiding individuals towards authentic encounters with God and themselves.