On our Winter Retreat this weekend, our teaching theme presented the “Sacred Pathways” described in the book by the same name by Gary Thomas. I’m going to summarize the book here so others will know what we talked about–I think every believer would benefit spiritually by learning the insights presented in this book.
So here’s a quick overview to clue you in. Gary Thomas is one of my very favorite authors. He is, a marvelous church historian who gleans spiritual gems from the forefathers of our faith and puts them in easy to understand language. In his historical research, he has identified nine spiritual “temperaments” or ways that people are wired to best love and connect with God. Knowing how you’re wired to worship helps you experience God in more meaningful ways. The nine pathways are

  • The NATURALIST — worships God through experiencing God’s creation
  • The SENSATE— worships God through the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, & taste)
  • The ENTHUSIAST — worships God expressively through joyful passion and expectation.
  • The INTELLECTUAL— worships God by studying Truth and establishing firm beliefs.
  • The TRADITIONALIST— worships God by enjoying historic practices of the church, symbols, creeds, or hymns.
  • The ASCETIC— worships God by living a life of simplicity, solitude, and self-denial.
  • The CONTEMPLATIVE— worships God by meditating on an intimate, loving, personal relationship with Him.
  • The CAREGIVER — worships God by loving and serving others.
  • The ACTIVIST— worships God by making efforts to change the world.

All the “pathways” are valid and necessary in the church. We’ll each have several that are dominant–and knowing that helps us to avoid judging others’ ways of worshiping. It also helps to know that it’s ok for me to worship in a way that may be different from others. It’s also useful to try other pathways to expereince God in new ways. During the retreat after presenting each pathway in detail we had a time to experience each one (nature prayer walks, contemplation, prayer for each other, packaging meals for Kids Against Hunger, etc.)

Everyone received a copy of Sacred Pathways. I’d recommend eveyone get a copy and take the assessment. I have a case of books if anyone’s interested in purchasing one for $10.
By the way, in case you’re wondering about my pathway mix–I’m an Ascetic, Contemplative, Intellectual, who’s becoming more and more of a Traditionalist!