This coming Sunday we continue our teaching series: LIVING THE DASH. Scott Williams and I will be co-teaching on: A Lifestyle of Worship. As we approach this vital topic, I wanted to recommend a most helpful book to you – Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas (Zondervan, 1996). I actually did a teaching series based upon this book in 2007.
In this book a pathway describes the way we connect with God, how we draw near to him.
- Gary identifies 9 different ways that Christians draw near to God – how they express their love for him and how they get to know him better.
- A pathway is not how you become a Christian; it is your path once you have chosen to be a follower of Christ.
- Check out a very brief summary of the 9 pathways:
NATURALISTS – Draw near to God through nature
- They love to be outside; they are fascinated by trees, flowers, insects, the stars and the sky – the world of nature turns their hearts and thoughts toward God.
- The beauty and wonder of God’s creation speaks to them.
SENSATES – Draw near to God through the senses
- Their five senses are God’s most effective means of speaking to them.
- They get lost in the awe and splendor of God.
- Sensates typically have their worship greatly enhanced by incense, beautiful architecture and décor (think Holy Name Cathedral), classical music (think Handel’s Messiah), classic artwork and formal language – they will enjoy a liturgical service.
TRADITIONALISTS – Draw near to God through ritual and symbol
- They love their faith within a historical context – rituals, symbols (think the Communion and baptism) and the ancient creeds (Nicene and the Apostle’s).
- Traditionalists usually have need for structure and ritual – usually drawn to a more formal and liturgical type of worship service.
- They tend to have a very disciplined life of faith; marked by very regular church attendance, tithing, and keeping of the Sabbath.
ASCETICS – Draw near to God through simplicity and solitude
- They love to be left alone; to pray and meditate in silence.
- Ascetics tend to be introverts and pretty introspective.
- They believe God speaks in a still; small voice and you need silence in order to hear him. They value alone time – they don’t have to be constantly surrounded by noise and people.
ACTIVISTS – Draw near to God through bringing about social change
- Activists always have a cause they are fighting for; they believe truth equals confrontation.
- Involvement to bring about social change is what energizes them – pro-life, health care, feeding the poor, saving the environment, battling racism – their faith makes them a soldier advancing God’s truth and justice.
- Often they are not afraid of conflict!
CAREGIVERS – Draw near to God through caring for others
- They serve and love God by serving and loving others – the first ones to make a hospital visit, providing a meal or help fix a car; they love doing for others – it brings life to their spirit.
- They also tend to overextend themselves and have a hard time saying no!
ENTHUSIASTS – Draw near to God through mystery and celebration
- Enthusiasts are the church cheerleaders – they like to shout, whistle, dance, sing real loud and do it with a large group of people. They love Christian concerts – they like to rock the house!
- If their hearts weren’t moved – then church was no good. They love to sing and worship in a group (they could do without the sermon!).
- They have the joy of the Lord – sometimes obnoxiously so (like an overly cheerful person first thing in the morning!)
CONTEMPLATIVES – Draw near to God through adoration
- They are very thoughtful – they desire to sit just at the feet of Jesus – remember Mary doing this?
- They have deep within their heart a love for God – just spending time with him – they lose track of time praying and reading his word.
INTELLECTUALS – Draw near to God through their minds
- They live in the world of ideas – they enjoy studying and debating theology. Learning a new truth about God or his Word thrills them; they are energized when they can study and learn; they might do their daily devotions straight out of the Greek New testament…
- Proper doctrine and theology are a central concern.
So, now I am curious…what do you think is your primary spiritual pathway? Please leave a comment and let me know. (In a few days I’ll share what is my pathway.) Thanks!